Being an Activist: Books for Kids
These children’s books about being an activist inspire kids to create communities and change them for the better. All of the books below relate to young readers on their level and empower them to take on an active role in making the world a better place.
Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Children’s Books about Being an Activist
Enjoy these picture books about being an activist.
Like so many others, I was mesmerized by poet Amanda Gorman when she exploded onto the world stage at the 2021 US presidential inauguration. Soon after, I pre-ordered my copy of Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem, eagerly anticipating its arrival many months later. It was well worth the wait! Loren Long’s gorgeous illustrations are a perfect match to Gorman’s powerful poetry, inspiring children to make changes, big and small, in their communities.
Art of Protest: Creating, Discovering, and Activating Art for Your Revolution My kids love to draw and paint, so I was thrilled to discover this new book that helps them think about how art can be used to make change in the world. Art of Protest helps kids understand how art can be used in social movements, looking at specific examples through history, including the Civil Rights movement, apartheid, and the AIDS crisis. It takes a deep dive into the types of art, the symbols and media that can be used, and what the future might hold, like use of memes and viral videos. My favorite part of the book is the “try this” sections that encourage kids to get involved and think about being an activist. As you might imagine, the book is filled with incredible art, and even the way it is put together, with the exposed stitching on the binding, reflects the creative energy of the book. The author lends to the book not only her incredible knowledge but also her personal experiences as an artist and organizer, inspiring future generations of activists.
What do we mean when we say Black Lives Matter? The new picture book When We Say Black Lives Matter is a beautiful way to explain it to children, from award-winning author Maxine Beneba Clarke. When We Say Black Lives Matter is a lyrical look at the joy and sorrow referenced in that phrase, firmly grounded in history but with a view towards the future. It is an ode to Black children and all the hope and love that surrounds them. Highly recommended for children of all ages.
Fearless: The Story of Daphne Caruana Galizia, Defender of Free Speech is a biography of a political journalist from Malta who spoke out courageously against criminals, despite their efforts to silence her. The book, with its effective sketch-like illustrations, focuses on the inspiration behind Caruana Galizia’s passion for truth telling and her bold work as a journalist. It is an inspiring story about the power of words and one woman’s dedication to standing up to corruption. (The tragic ending of her life as a result of a car bomb is not included in the main text but is instead part of the detailed biographical note at the end of the book).
Change Starts with Us is an empowering board book for young readers about the small changes we can make to help the planet. I love the diverse illustrations of children taking an active role in recycling, tending gardens, and so on. Several illustrations also have a wonderful gentle humor, such as the baby putting a pair of underwear on their head while their mother hangs laundry on the line. The power of the book also resides in its use of concrete examples that children can easily relate to, such as picking litter or eating less red meat. A great way to inspire children to take action.