Because I am a book nerd, I read other book blogs. And one of my favorites is Epic Reads who recently posted a list of YA activism books because–let’s face it–there’s a whole lot of messed up stuff going on in our world right now. It reminded me of a book list that I had written last year about Black Lives Matter. There were some of the same books plus a few I hadn’t read yet. (They’re on my To Be Read list now.) There are also a few that I think could be added to both lists–books about teens and young adults who have chosen to fight back and stand up for a better world.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and helpless. And it’s okay to feel that way, but don’t stop there. You CAN help. You can change things.
I’m not saying you have to go all Katniss Everdeen and take down President Snow. Start with little things. If you hear someone using hateful language (racist, misogynist, homophobic, Islamophobic slurs, etc.), let them know that’s not okay. Think about your own social privilege. Some of us have more than others due to race, gender, religion, socio-economic status, orientation, size and age. Speak up for those with less privilege than you and honestly *listen* to them when they share their stories. When you see something happen that you know is unjust, speak up. Tell your parents, your teachers, your online audience, the local newspaper and beyond. Share your truth.
In addition to the 19 books on the above two lists, here are another ten titles that I think should be in the backpack of every budding social justice warrior.
- American Street by Ibi Zoboi
- For the Win by Cory Doctorow
- Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin
- The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
- Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
- The Pants Project by Cat Clarke
- The Doubt Factory by Paolo Bacigalupi
- Being Jazz by Jazz jennings
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
- The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom