A guide offers advice to young people on turning their anger into activism.
Donald Trump’s election triggered a political awakening for many Americans, note Spathis (The Backyardigans, 2007, etc.) and debut author Kennedy, particularly for teens who “came of age with eloquence at the helm” in the form of Barack Obama. They are now facing adulthood with a very different man in the Oval Office. In their book, the authors aim to show this generation how to channel its despair and outrage over the current political situation into meaningful, real-world change. In bite-size lessons perfect for those raised on status updates, they share tips on approaching elected officials, writing letters to the editor, starting petitions, and fundraising. There are also sections on the dangers of cultural appropriation, the importance of being an ally, and ways to stay motivated “when you feel your flame of activism and positivity starting to flicker.” In addition, the authors outline how to raise awareness and “live your values,” whether that’s means helping to get out the vote, donating time or money, supporting businesses that share your ideals, or being a green consumer. The tone is friendly and approachable throughout, with the air of an informed older sibling, even if the overviews of complicated issues like economic injustice and health care are too brief to get to the meat of the topics. But the authors, who are several decades older than their target audience, occasionally seem out of touch. The suggestion that readers start a printed zine seems rooted in a different era, and the section on fundraising only briefly mentions crowdfunding. But they are wise to remind readers that, though tweets and shared Facebook posts have their place, they need to take their activism offline at some point. As the title suggests, the book is squarely aimed at those to the left of the political spectrum. Expect pointed criticism of the current commander in chief (he’s a “maniacal, anti-women scumbag of a president”) and a strong stance on issues like immigration and Black Lives Matter. Those with more moderate politics will find less on offer here.
A lively and inspiring road map for teens who want to fight injustice and change the world.