Social Activism

Bringing Social Activism into Your School

Classrooms are a safe space for students to air and hear new ideas, and educators are uniquely positioned to help young people understand the diverse nature of the world and their place in it. Explore these books from our premier publishing partners that help teach students real-world examples of social activism and the importance of making positive change in the world.


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My Brother Is Away
from Random House Children’s Books

Interest Level: Grades K-3
In this moving picture book, a young girl reflects on the emotions and challenges of growing up with a brother who is incarcerated. This touching story is filled with vivid illustrations and is based on the author’s childhood experiences.

The Young Activist’s Dictionary of Social Justice
from Sourcebooks

Interest Level: Grades K-3
Using simple explanations and appealing illustrations in a familiar A-to-Z format, this book will teach kids the new vocabulary of change. Each beautifully designed spread represents a letter and provides concise, age-appropriate definitions on subject matter spanning issues like racial justice, climate change, gender equality, and more.

Public Funding, Public Decisions (The Eastside Extra Series)
from North Star Editions

Interest Level: Grades 3-6
Sixth graders Anika, Benny, and Libby attend Eastside Middle School, which is facing challenges as a result of its growing student body. When they learn the school is getting extra funding this year, they know they have the topic for their next feature story in their online newsletter: Who decides how public schools spend their money? And where does the money come from?

Never Too Young! 50 Unstoppable Kids Who Made a Difference
from Union Square & Co.

Interest Level: Grades 3-6
Anyone, no matter how young, can make a difference. Meet 50 incredible kids who had a positive impact in their communities – and the world. From Picasso and Louis Armstrong to Malala Yousafzai and Serena Williams, they come from a variety of historical periods and backgrounds and have made an impact in politics, sports, the arts, science, and more.

Indigenous Rights (Stand Up, Speak Out Series)
from Cherry Lake Publishing

Interest Level: Grades 5-8
Learn about Indigenous rights activism, from reclaiming names to saving cultural lands. Look at the history of the movement, meet the activists involved, and celebrate some of the legal victories! This hi-lo title is filled with engaging art and photographs, and each chapter ends with a call to action to inspire kids to get involved.

Justice for George Floyd (Core Library: Guide to Racism in Modern America series)
from ABDO

Interest Level: Grades 5-8
George Floyd’s murder in 2020 caused a wave of protests across the United States calling for an end to police violence. Justice for George Floyd, part of the Guide to Racism in Modern America series, explores what happened the day Floyd died and the protests that followed, underscoring the history and current state of racism in the US.

Achieving Social Change Series
from Crabtree Publishing

Interest Level: Grades 5-8
From abolishing slavery to protecting the planet, this series tells the stories of important social reforms throughout history that were brought about by activism. Seen from the perspective of those inside the campaigns, these stories of key movements and change-makers will motivate readers to think about how the lessons can be applied to activism today.

Places of Protest (Travel To… Series)
from Rourke Educational Media

Interest Level: Grades 5-8
What exactly is a protest, and where have they taken place in history? Introduce your students to the art of protest through different demonstrations across the world and the impact they had on their cause. By examining protests throughout history, readers can learn the different ways people voice their opinions to effect change.

How to Become an Accidental Activist (Accidental Series)
from Orca Book Publishers

Interest Level: Grades 5-8
Activists come from all different backgrounds, and they work toward all sorts of causes: human rights, environmental protection, historic preservation, and more. This book profiles almost 100 activists from around the world, including change-makers like Greta Thunberg, Pete Seeger, and Lilly Singh.

Resistance to Slavery: From Escape to Everyday Rebellion (American Slavery and the Fight for Freedom Series)
from Lerner Publishing

Interest Level: Grades 5-8
In addition to slave uprisings and escapes on the Underground Railroad, enslaved people also resisted their mistreatment through small acts in their everyday lives. Discover the many forms of resistance to slavery in this book, part of a series that examines slavery in America through ample primary source material.

What the Fact
from Simon & Schuster

Interest Level: Grades YA
What is a fact? What are reliable sources? As conspiracy theories and online hoaxes increasingly become part of our national discourse, media literacy has never been more vital. This accessible guide, written by an Emmy award-winning journalist, teaches young readers the skills to help them identify poorly sourced clickbait and misleading headlines.

I Rise
from HarperCollins Publishers

Interest Level: Grades YA
This is a heartbreaking and powerful novel about systemic racism, police violence, and social justice. Fourteen-year-old Ayo must decide whether to take on her mother’s activist role when her mom is shot by police. As she tries to find answers, Ayo looks to the wisdom of her ancestors and her Harlem community for guidance.

Better Than We Found It: Conversations to Help Save the World
from Candlewick Press

Interest Level: Grades YA
Change is possible – you just have to know where to start. This book is an indispensable guide to social and political progressivism for young people. Featuring more than two dozen interviews with prominent activists, authors, actors, and politicians, this is the essential resource for those who want to leave the world better than they found it.

How to Be a (Young) Antiracist
from Penguin Young Readers Group

Interest Level: Grades K-3
The New York Times best-seller How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi is shaping the way a generation thinks about race and racism. How to Be a (Young) Antiracist reframes Kendi’s important messages for young adult readers. Through relevant anecdotes and data, the book empowers teens to help create a more just society and a more equitable world.

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