Activism for Kids

Three ways to make a difference

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Someone you know went to a march this summer.

It was a pretty big deal, and it sounded like fun. It was a time for people to gather and take advantage of their rights. It’s something you’d like to do, too, someday, and with the following three books, you’ll see how you can start getting involved.

First of all, never say you’re “just” a kid. Kids can make a difference, as you’ll see in What Can a Citizen Do? by Dave Eggers, illustrated by Shawn Harris.

No matter who you are or what you look like, you can do lots of things for change: plant a tree, help a neighbor, or write letters. You can save a bear, be a bear, or make life better for bears. And yes, you can even march.

If that’s the plan, you’ll need things and If You’re Going to a March by Martha Freeman and illustrated by Violet Kim, has ideas. You’ll want a sign, for instance, and this book tells you how to make one. You’ll learn what to wear, what to carry in a backpack, and how to stay safe on the march. It also reminds young readers to be polite because “democracy looks like disagreement, too.”

And finally, if you’ve been putting a lot of thought into how you feel, We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices, edited by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson, will help you think deeper about what you can do through essays, poems, stories, art and memories. This book offers different ways of looking at dissent and how to know what’s right for you. It also helps readers feel a connection with history and protestors from generations past.

This fall, you and your children are going to see a pretty big election occur. You’re also going to see a lot of books about citizenship, getting involved, and First Amendment rights. These three are worth a look.

Five-to-7-year-olds who don’t have access to a citywide march will appreciate what’s inside What Can a Citizen Do? The book offers plenty of ideas for action that don’t necessarily involve organizations—things like helping neighbors or keeping the environment clean. Children who crave simplicity will like it.

If You’re Going to a March is for roughly the same age group, but it lists tips and hints for more hands-on kids who really want to get into the thick of things.

For older children—ages roughly 8 to 14—We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices offers more of a chance for introspection on activism. It also doubles as a bit of history and strength for kids whose values may clash with friends, family or classmates.

Your child is finding out what’s going on in the world. If she or he wants to participate, these books can help both kids and their parents get started. March out and get them.

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