These are some of my favorite books to inspire young activists. They deal with a range of issues in accessible and empowering ways sure to excite young readers!
The Harvey Milk Story (2001), written by Kari Krakow and illustrated by David Gardner, is a serviceable biography of one of the first openly gay US politicians. Krakow chronologizes Milk’s life from birth to assassination. Gardner’s realistic images provide Milk with humanizing depth by showing his nuanced emotions throughout his life. Continue reading
Mahatma Gandhi, written by Isabel Sanchez Vegara and illustrated by Albert Arrayas, will be available from Quarto Publishing Group – Frances Lincoln Children’s on April 30, 2019. It is part of their Little People, Big Dreams series.
Arrayas’ captivating illustrations add a sense of whimsy to this picture book biography of Gandhi, a man deeply invested in justice. Continue reading
Sanders uses alliteration to introduce activist-minded words and ideas to children, making the book a fun read-aloud that will help build vocabulary. Schorr’s illustrations transmit important content about specific civil rights leaders and issues, often drawing on current events. His illustrations really extend and expand the text’s message while providing opportunity for discussion and reflection. Continue reading
When You Look Out the Window: How Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin Built a Community (2017), written by Gayle E. Pitman and atmospherically illustrated by Christopher Lyon, unfolds in the first person, allowing readers to follow Phyllis and Del as they help transform San Francisco into a LGBTQ*-affirming community. Continue reading
Let the Children March, written by Monica Clark-Robinson and illustrated by Frank Morrison, is a brilliant and bold children’s picture book that brings the Birmingham Children’s Crusade of 1963 to life for young readers.
In the South, Jim Crow laws enforced segregation, which led to unequal access to education, employment, health care, and housing. Leaders in the Black Civil Rights movement came up with many strategies to end segregation. Continue reading
The Water Walker (2017), written and illustrated by Joanne Robertson, a member of Atikameksheng Anishnawbek, brings attention to the work of Mother Earth Water Walkers. The group began walking around large bodies of water, beginning with Lake Superior in 2003, to bring attention to the water crisis. Robertson’s book, written with urgency, optimism, and humor, makes this important environmental issue accessible to young children. Even more, the story explores Indigenous traditions and values while depicting the important environmental activism of Indigenous women.