This excellent, timely overview will open eyes and deserves a wide readership.

WE ARE POWER

HOW NONVIOLENT ACTIVISM CHANGED THE WORLD

Hasak-Lowy introduces a polemic: Over the last war-ridden century, nonviolent activism has proven to be a powerful way to effect social change.

He chronologically presents five significant movements, focusing on leaders who fostered the resources of aggrieved people—their bodies, courage, and persistence—to oppose injustice nonviolently. Mohandas K. Gandhi, initially among Indian workers in South Africa, then in India, adopted techniques of nonviolent resistance to gain independence from British colonial rule. The American suffragist Alice Paul, drawing on her Quaker upbringing, led the “Silent Sentinels”: banner-wielding women who demonstrated at the White House. These activists endured beatings, arrests, incarceration, forced feedings during hunger strikes, and more in their determined quest for their full rights as citizens. The chapter on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. credits his many mentors and collaborators, presenting their arduous work in planning and executing civil action in Birmingham. In early May 1963, thousands of demonstrating Birmingham youth endured water cannons, police dogs, and widespread arrests, stunning the nation. Chapters on Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers movement and Vaclav Havel and Czechoslovakia’s astounding Velvet Revolution round out the volume. The author deftly connects these movements: Far from avoiding conflict, each leader actively engaged in it, helping people reassume the power previously ceded to their oppressors. A concluding section cogently illuminates Greta Thunberg’s urgent work on the climate crisis.

This excellent, timely overview will open eyes and deserves a wide readership. (other notable movements, source notes, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4111-1

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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A breezy, bustling bucketful of courageous acts and eye-popping feats.

50 IMPRESSIVE KIDS AND THEIR AMAZING (AND TRUE!) STORIES

From the They Did What? series

Why should grown-ups get all the historical, scientific, athletic, cinematic, and artistic glory?

Choosing exemplars from both past and present, Mitchell includes but goes well beyond Alexander the Great, Anne Frank, and like usual suspects to introduce a host of lesser-known luminaries. These include Shapur II, who was formally crowned king of Persia before he was born, Indian dancer/professional architect Sheila Sri Prakash, transgender spokesperson Jazz Jennings, inventor Param Jaggi, and an international host of other teen or preteen activists and prodigies. The individual portraits range from one paragraph to several pages in length, and they are interspersed with group tributes to, for instance, the Nazi-resisting “Swingkinder,” the striking New York City newsboys, and the marchers of the Birmingham Children’s Crusade. Mitchell even offers would-be villains a role model in Elagabalus, “boy emperor of Rome,” though she notes that he, at least, came to an awful end: “Then, then! They dumped his remains in the Tiber River, to be nommed by fish for all eternity.” The entries are arranged in no evident order, and though the backmatter includes multiple booklists, a personality quiz, a glossary, and even a quick Braille primer (with Braille jokes to decode), there is no index. Still, for readers whose fires need lighting, there’s motivational kindling on nearly every page.

A breezy, bustling bucketful of courageous acts and eye-popping feats. (finished illustrations not seen) (Collective biography. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-14-751813-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Puffin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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A powerful resource for young people itching for change.

WOLFPACK (YOUNG READERS EDITION)

HOW YOUNG PEOPLE WILL FIND THEIR VOICE, UNITE THEIR PACK, AND CHANGE THE WORLD

Soccer star and activist Wambach adapts Wolfpack (2019), her New York Times bestseller for adults, for a middle-grade audience.

YOU. ARE. THE. WOLVES.” That rallying cry, each word proudly occupying its own line on the page, neatly sums up the fierce determination Wambach demands of her audience. The original Wolfpack was an adaptation of the viral 2018 commencement speech she gave at Barnard College; in her own words, it was “a directive to unleash [the graduates’] individuality, unite the collective, and change the world.” This new adaption takes the themes of the original and recasts them in kid-friendly terms, the call to action feeling more relevant now than ever. With the exception of the introduction and closing remarks, each short chapter presents a new leadership philosophy, dishing out such timeless advice as “Be grateful and ambitious”; “Make failure your fuel”; “Champion each other”; and “Find your pack.” Chapters utilize “rules” as a framing device. The first page of each presents a generalized “old” and “new” rule pertaining to that chapter’s guiding principle, and each chapter closes with a “Call to the Wolfpack” that sums up those principles in more specific terms. Some parts of the book come across as somewhat quixotic or buzzword-heavy, but Wambach deftly mitigates much of the preachiness with a bluff, congenial tone and refreshing dashes of self-deprecating humor. Personal anecdotes help ground each of the philosophies in applicability, and myriad heavy issues are respectfully, yet simply broached.

A powerful resource for young people itching for change. (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-76686-1

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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