In such troubled times, we want to make a stand against things that trouble us in the face of oppression. Especially when people may be feeling even more marginalized after the election results, it’s important to turn whatever anxiety that we might feel into an organized discourse. There are plenty of resources to help us organize and take action to better our society, and they can all be found at NYPL!:
It’s Your World–If You Don’t Like It, Change It: Activism for Teenagers by Mikki Halpin
Are you looking for a how-to guide on how to get involved in issues that affect your life? This book might be the way to go. It provides tips on speaking out and being effective, but also how to avoid breaking the law. Each chapter has a list of resources and websites to help you learn further how to be active in your community.
Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters by Laurie Ann Thompson
It’s difficult to have the drive to enact change if you don’t see people like you doing great things. This book provides all of the instruction on how to make an impact, but with the real-life stories of other teens who were able to make a difference. It’s easy to read and can teach essential skills, such as grass-roots organizing and working with the media. Be motivated; be inspired.
Black Lives Matter by Sue Bradford Edwards and Duchess Harris
In order to truly understand activism in the 21st century, you need to look at one of the day’s most prominent activist groups. Even though it’s more of a textbook, it’s still important to cover the epidemic of police brutality in this country, as well as the misinformation about the movement.
March: Book 1 by John Lewis, Andrew Ayden, and Nate Powell
John Lewis collaborated with writers and artists to turn his historic experience of working with the civil rights movement in the 1960’s into a comic book. Reading this book, accompanied by Nate Powell’s evocative art, can inspire the integrity and courage that protesters should try to emulate. If you need an example of “What have protesters ever accomplished?,” then this might be the book for you.
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai with Patricia McCormick
If you’re not sure what effect teens can have on the world, look no further than Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai. Under the Taliban’s regime, she stood up for education while becoming a star student herself amid fear and war. Her activism caused her to be a target for assassination. Reading this book should truly inspire the readers.
Let Me Stand Alone: The Journals of Rachel Corrie
These are the tragic journal entries of a real activist who traveled from America to protest nonviolently at the Israel-Palestine border. She was killed by a bulldozer while protesting, and her journal articles were collected by her family into this powerfully written book, which will definitely make the reader think deeply about the world they live in.
The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X and Alex Haley
Malcolm X was a gamechanging figure in the fight for African-American civil rights, and this details both his experiences and his spiritual journey from prison to Islam. He is a controversial figure who is often accused of extremism, but he correctly points out many of the racial biases in the country, and the need to unify. To make the story even more compelling, it is co-authored with Alex Haley, the author of Roots.
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
Since the PATRIOT Act, many people have been conscious of the constant surveillance. W1n5t0n (actually a teenager named (Marcus) is a hacker who gets harshly interrogated by the Department of Homeland Security. When Marcus learns that his whole city is under surveillance, he takes it upon himself to change things. Reading this should inspire passion in the reader about issues of privacy, but also make them aware of all of the things going on behind-the-scenes on the internet.
Rooftop by Paul Volponi
After so many problems that we constantly see in the judicial system, Rooftop emerges as a novel to reflect that. After Clay finds his cousin shot by the police on the rooftop, Clay decides to fight against an unjust system. It tackles the racial bias in the judicial system. With its gripping and poignant plot, the reader will be constantly flipping pages to grapple with its emotional heft.
Free? : stories about human rights, edited by Amnesty International
Would you want a powerful, yet easy-to-read collection of short stories about human rights? Free collects fourteen stories from many different YA author superstars such as Eoin Colfer (Artemis Fowl) and organizes them into this small anthology. If you’re not sure if you’d be interested in heavy topics such as asylum and child labor, this is definitely a good book for you to start with.
Amnesty International is an organization which connects people who want to make change to their world. They are widely respected, and they are able to help youth start clubs for activism in their schools.
Youth Venture makes it its mission to assist young activists, and help young people make positive changes to their environment. They have a plethora of skills including teaching organizing skills and job placement for these relevant fields.
The anti-defamation league started by fighting anti-Semitism in the United States, but now fights human rights violations of all kinds. They provide resources for young people to use to make their impact effective and heard, and it can teach how to talk to others about these sensitive and controversial topics.
Want to get involved in something today? Justice Duckling lists protests going on all across NYC on any given day.
Global Youth Connect
Global Youth Connect helps young people make a difference, and have their voices heard across the world. It works to stop human rights violations in countries that need our help, and helps foster a healthy dialogue between world teens about issues that affect hundreds of millions of people.
(n.d.). Retrieved November 18, 2016, from https://www.youthventure.org/
10 Books for Young Activists | DonationPay. (n.d.). Retrieved November 19, 2016, from https://www.donationpay.org/site/2010/05/10-books-for-young-activists/
10 Ways Youth Can Engage in Activism. (n.d.). Retrieved November 18, 2016, from http://www.adl.org/education-outreach/curriculum-resources/c/10-ways-youth-can-engage-in.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/#.WC_SUuYrJPY
Barnes & Noble (n.d.). Political Activism & Particpation – Teens, Politics, Government & Law – Teens, Books. Retrieved November 19, 2016, from http://www.barnesandnoble.com/b/books/politics-government-law-teens/political-activism-particpation-teens/_/N-29Z8q8Z19v4
Corrie, R. (2008). Let me stand alone: The journals of Rachel Corrie. New York: W.W. Norton &.
Do Something – Books about Making a Difference for Young Adults. (2013, October 11). Retrieved November 18, 2016, from http://www.jmrl.org/wiki/Do_Something_-_Books_about_Making_a_Difference_for_Young_Adults
Doctorow, C. (2008). Little brother. New York: Tom Doherty Associates
Duckling, J. (1970). NYC PROTESTS. Retrieved November 19, 2016, from http://justiceduckling.blogspot.com/
Edwards, S. B., & Harris, D. (2016). Black lives matter. Minneapolis, MN: Essential Library, an imprint of ABDO Publishing.
Fight The Power: Books For Youth Activists. (n.d.). Retrieved November 18, 2016, from http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/books-video-music/books/booklists/booklist.jsp?listTitle=Fight_The_Power:_Books_For_Youth_Activists&listId=1xV6NoMbKU-wFgUNoJqmuIyODXoAZdGCyivU6QwfLdus&sheetId=odb
Free?: Stories about human rights. (2010). Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press.
Global Youth Connect. (n.d.). Retrieved November 19, 2016, from http://www.globalyouthconnect.org/#!
Halpin, M. (2004). It’s Your World–If You Don’t Like It, Change It: Activism for Teenagers. Simon Pulse.
Lewis, J., Aydin, A., & Powell, N. (2013). March: Book One. Top Shelf Productions.
Make Your Voice Heard! : Youth Activism. (n.d.). Retrieved November 19, 2016, from http://www.bklynlibrary.org/explore-topic/teens/make-your-voice-heard-youth-activism
Parrot, K. (2016, July 9). Librarian Creates #BlackLivesMatter Booklist for Teens … Retrieved November 19, 2016, from http://www.slj.com/2016/07/books-media/librarian-creates-blacklivesmatter-booklist-for-teens/
Students and Youth. (n.d.). Retrieved November 19, 2016, from http://www.amnestyusa.org/resources/students-and-youth
Thompson, L. A. (2014). Be a changemaker: How to start something that matters. New York: Simon Pulse.
Volponi, P. (2006). Rooftop. New York, NY: Viking.
X, M., & Haley, A. (1992). The autobiography of Malcolm X. New York: Ballantine Books.
Yousafzai, M., & McCormick, P. (2014). I am Malala: How one girl stood up for education and changed the world. New York: Little, Brown and Company.