6 Books that Inspire Activism
Activism (noun): the policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change. Now that I’ve gotten the high school valedictorian speech bit out the way, I feel I should say that “activism” intimidates me. I look around every day and I see all of the horrible things happening in our world. It all feels unspeakably overwhelming. And standing up to say something? That terrifies me. The one thing that quiets this fear is reading. By turning to the lives and actions of other people, both real and imagined, I can find the answers I’m looking for. I can be inspired by their bravery in the face of adversity. Raising your voice is hard, but the simple act of one person speaking out is activism. And sometimes, one voice breaking the silence makes all the difference. If you don’t necessarily know where to begin your activist journey, take my advice: read to resist.
"Internment sets itself apart...terrifying, thrilling and urgent."--Entertainment Weekly
Rebellions are built on hope.
The Hate U Give
Angie Thomas; Amandla Stenberg (Foreword by)
8 starred reviews · Goodreads Choice Awards Best of the Best · William C. Morris Award Winner · National Book Award Longlist · Printz Honor Book · Coretta Scott King Honor Book · #1 New York Times Bestseller!
"Absolutely riveting!" --Jason Reynolds
"Stunning." --John Green
"This story is necessary. This story is important." --Kirkus (starred review)
"Heartbreakingly topical." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"A marvel of verisimilitude." --Booklist (starred review)
"A powerful, in-your-face novel." --Horn Book (starred review)
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil's name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does--or does not--say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.
Want more of Garden Heights? Catch Maverick and Seven's story in Concrete Rose, Angie Thomas's powerful prequel to The Hate U Give.
In this powerful book, Nobel Peace Prize winner and New York Times bestselling author Malala Yousafzai introduces the people behind the statistics and news stories about the millions of people displaced worldwide.After her father was murdered, María escaped in the middle of the night with her mother.
Zaynab was out of school for two years as she fled war before landing in America. Her sister, Sabreen, survived a harrowing journey to Italy.
Ajida escaped horrific violence, but then found herself battling the elements to keep her family safe.
Malala's experiences visiting refugee camps caused her to reconsider her own displacement — first as an Internally Displaced Person when she was a young child in Pakistan, and then as an international activist who could travel anywhere in the world except to the home she loved. In We Are Displaced, Malala not only explores her own story, but she also shares the personal stories of some of the incredible girls she has met on her journeys — girls who have lost their community, relatives, and often the only world they've ever known.
In a time of immigration crises, war, and border conflicts, We Are Displaced is an important reminder from one of the world's most prominent young activists that every single one of the 68.5 million currently displaced is a person — often a young person — with hopes and dreams.
"A stirring and timely book." —New York Times
It can be hard for questioning teens to believe in a brighter future, let alone find any sense of community. Here, with clarity and compassion, Alex writes as a supportive older brother for transitioning teens, their allies, their parents, and anyone looking to better understand others -- and themselves.
The 57 Bus
Dashka Slater's The 57 Bus, a riveting nonfiction book for teens about race, class, gender, crime, and punishment, tells the true story of an agender teen who was set on fire by another teen while riding a bus in Oakland, California.
A New York Times Bestseller
Stonewall Book Award Winner--Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children's & Young Adult Literature Award
YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Finalist
One teenager in a skirt.
One teenager with a lighter.
One moment that changes both of their lives forever.
If it weren't for the 57 bus, Sasha and Richard never would have met. Both were high school students from Oakland, California, one of the most diverse cities in the country, but they inhabited different worlds. Sasha, a white teen, lived in the middle-class foothills and attended a small private school. Richard, a black teen, lived in the crime-plagued flatlands and attended a large public one.
Each day, their paths overlapped for a mere eight minutes. But one afternoon on the bus ride home from school, a single reckless act left Sasha severely burned, and Richard charged with two hate crimes and facing life imprisonment. The case garnered international attention, thrusting both teenagers into the spotlight.
Laurie Halse Anderson
A New York Times bestseller and one of 2019's best-reviewed books, a poetic memoir and call to action from the award-winning author of Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson!
Bestselling author Laurie Halse Anderson is known for the unflinching way she writes about, and advocates for, survivors of sexual assault. Now, inspired by her fans and enraged by how little in our culture has changed since her groundbreaking novel Speak was first published twenty years ago, she has written a poetry memoir that is as vulnerable as it is rallying, as timely as it is timeless. In free verse, Anderson shares reflections, rants, and calls to action woven between deeply personal stories from her life that she's never written about before. Described as "powerful," "captivating," and "essential" in the nine starred reviews it's received, this must-read memoir is being hailed as one of 2019's best books for teens and adults. A denouncement of our society's failures and a love letter to all the people with the courage to say #MeToo and #TimesUp, whether aloud, online, or only in their own hearts, SHOUT speaks truth to power in a loud, clear voice-- and once you hear it, it is impossible to ignore.