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13 Books to Teach Children About Protesting and Activism

It’s a politically charged time to be alive in the US. Yesterday’s Women’s March brought out incredible numbers of people in cities and towns around the world who exercised what we consider a fundamental right in America. Maybe you had your young children with you, like I did. I realized while we were marching in a local protest that activism can be a hard thing to define to young kids. Keep the conversation going with these books that help explain and demonstrate what it’s all about.

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt. The crayons are fed up, and they’re going to let Duncan know exactly why. Show kids the power of letter writing, how a strike can help you fight for your rights, and the power of listening when you’re in charge.

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin. The barnyard animals start with a politely typed request to the farmer, but when he ignores them, they take peaceful and hilarious action. Never cross a cow with a typewriter.

A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara. An absolutely gorgeous alphabet book teaching some of the basics of social justice, too.

Rosa by Nikki Giovanni. This book is gorgeous, and packed with information about Rosa Parks and the bus boycott. The text of her story may work better for kids in maybe 2nd grade and up, but the amazing Bryan Collier’s illustrations (honestly, we are not worthy) and essence of what Ms. Parks’s protest was about can come through for any age if you talk it out with them.

¡Sí, Se Puede! / Yes, We Can! by Diana Cohn. A bilingual story of a successful janitors’ strike in LA, this one focuses on young Carlito. He’s trying to figure out how to support his mom, a janitor fighting for better wages. His teacher helps him figure out how to write a powerful protest sign.

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