A consciousness raiser about who makes and enforces life’s written and unwritten rules.
Noting at the outset that “power is neither good nor bad; it totally depends on how it is used,” five British writers begin by very briefly laying out a general picture of how adults, bullies, and political leaders wield influence over others. Subsequent sections explore types of said influence—from race, “Rainbow Rights,” and “Different Bodies” to war and money—and offer suggestions for self-empowering activities. Though these last are at least relatively low-risk (i.e., self-esteem–building exercises, making signs and petitions), embedded profiles of activists such as Emmeline Pankhurst, Mohandas Gandhi, Che Guevara, and Alan Turing make it clear that bucking the powers that be can carry a high price tag. The authors pose wonderfully perceptive what-ifs, such as invitations to identify things that might be acceptable today but not OK in the future and to think about Snow White falling in love with Cinderella. These add needed depth and scope to a discussion that occasionally takes a simplistic turn (“the US civil rights movement…eventually ended segregation across America”) and glosses over a number of relevant topics, from terrorism and religion to confirmation bias. The illustrations add a carefully inclusive mix of celebrated figures and generic, mostly young activists pointing and posing around the blocks of text.
It’s got a few gaps, but it’s stimulating reading nonetheless for upcoming activists and rebels. (glossary, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 7-11)