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6 Children's Books to Inspire Young Activism

Activism is an important topic throughout history, and especially right now in the United States and other parts of the world.

When people think of activism they think of adults, young and old, coming together for a common cause of change. The important word you read there was adult. What about children? Don’t they have a voice, too? Considering that children will be the future of our communities, it is important that they learn about activism and change now so that they can push for a better future even more efficiently then we can right now. If they are the future, shouldn’t they learn the importance of why and how they should take care of it?      #nobannowall      #authorsunitednobannowall     #dontcuttheNEA

  1. A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara

This is a book that holds no punches about the importance of activism in children. It spans across a variety of activism topics, including environmental justice, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and a lot more. Not only is this an activist book, but it is also a diverse inclusion of all different types of activism shows the importance of an all around equal, environmentally friendly world that all kids should be conscious about and help take care of together for the future.

  1. Counting on Community by Innosanto Nagara

This is a follow-up to the book above. Where the previous book was activism through reciting the alphabet, this one is activism through counting numbers. It has a similar call to action as the previous book with a variety of activism choices. Its message is to allow children to think and grow, knowing that it is okay to speak out for what you think is right.

  1. Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh

This book has won a few awards for its activism messages, including the Pura Belpre and Jane Addams book awards. This book is also an important one because it is based on the true story of a family who was fighting to end segregation in schools in California. The story is about Sylvia Mendez and her brother who have to attend a segregated Mexican-only school, which consists of dirty hallways, no playground, and an electric fence, while the other children get to go to the much better 17th street elementary school. The Mendez family and others file a lawsuit called Mendez v. Westminster which predates Brown v. Board of Education by almost 10 years, in order to get the schools desegregated for all. What is interesting about the book is that it takes actual text from trials and interviews with Sylvia Mendez, and the story includes legal terms and Spanish words that are translated and explained for young listeners to help them learn more about Mexican culture. It is a valuable book that shows children to stand up for what is right.

  1. Boycott Blues by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Not only is this author already amazing in the children’s world, but this book is excellent, too. While most stories follow Rosa Park’s heroic stand, this book actually shows the aftermath of support that she helped ignite to end segregation altogether. After her arrest, the entire community boycotted all the buses and the community came together to help one another get to where they needed to go. Form taxis, to bikes, to just regular walking, the community continued to walk for 382 days until they got Jim Crow Laws out of the community altogether. This book, like the book above, is based on a true story, and it helps inspire children who read it to know that pushing for change is what is most important when they have adult voices to fight for it.

  1. March: Book 3 by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin

This book had to be included because it was the big book of all the recent ALA Book Awards. Some of its awards included the National Book Award for Young People Literature, the Coretta Scott King Author Book Award, the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young-Adult Literature, the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award, and the YALSA Award for excellence in young-adult nonfiction. Though it is for a bit older audience of 8th grade reading level, it is still a book that can be read to children a little bit at a time. It is an important book currently in the reader/author community, and it is an absolute must read for children. The story follows 25-year-old John Lewis who heads to Alabama with a group of young activists to launch a movement of projects including the Freedom Vote and Mississippi Freedom Summer. Pushing against all sorts of danger and opposition, we follow Lewis down his journey for one of the ultimate activism movements of the time.

  1. Someone Like Me by Patricia MacLachlan

This book is a totally different spin on the idea of activism. It is all about inspiring children to grow up and become writers. Writing is a fundamental part of using one’s voice to speak out and cause change. It is what has always fueled change in communities as it helps knowledge spread and grow. When one uses their writing voice they can cause real change.
So why not use yours? Kids need books with important messages. Help children learn the importance of their own writing voice.


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