The author of The Gutsy Girl (2016, illustrated by Wendy MacNaughton) addresses young would-be activists in this how-to manual for effecting change in the world.
Paul opens her book with a letter addressed to young readers in which she connects children’s determination to stand up for their personal likes and dislikes to their power to change the world. She then lists 18 actions people of all ages can take to stand up for causes they believe in, from the small (“Change Your Habits,” “Make a Protest Sign,” “Petition,” “Volunteer,” “Raise Money,” “Write a Letter”) to the large (“Perform Guerilla Theater,” “Invent Something,” “Take Them to Court,” “March,” “Walk Out,” “Just Sit Down”). Each section features true stories of people as young as 6 who took these actions on issues they cared about and had their voices heard. Each section also includes a “workbook” section, with a list of steps to take in order to complete the action. Interspersed throughout are “Activist Tips” that explain terms such as “escalate,” “privilege,” “intersectionality” and “direct action.” Paul makes a point of encouraging people with privilege to take the stance of an ally rather than speaking for disadvantaged groups. She also cautions readers to understand the potential repercussions of direct action, “especially if you are a kid of color.” As clear and responsible as the author is, young readers may still need adult guidance to understand how these sections apply to their lives. Tamaki’s loose black-and-white illustrations include children of many races and at least one woman wearing a hijab.
For kids who are passionate about effecting change and for those who aren’t aware of their potential impact, this book is a useful guide for brainstorming and inspiration. (further reading) (Nonfiction. 9-13)