Hey YA Readers: It’s time for a good old fashioned booklist for fighting the system.
“What’s Up in YA?” is sponsored by Blood Will Out by Jo Treggiari.
Ari Sullivan is alive — for now. She wakes at the bottom of a cistern, confused, injured and alone, with only the shadowy recollection of a low-pitched voice and a gloved hand. No one can hear her screams. And the person who put her there is coming back. Told in alternating perspectives of predator and prey, Blood Will Out is a gripping and terrifying read for fans of THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE and MY FAVORITE MURDER.
The last couple of years have been tremendous in terms of publishing in YA and more specifically, publishing handbooks and collections intended to encourage social and political activism and resistance for young readers. It seemed appropriate to round up some recent and forthcoming titles. For those of you who work with teens, use this as a tool for not only books to hand over to young activists, but also to strengthen your bookshelves and collections.
Descriptions come from Goodreads, unless otherwise noted. I’ve only dipped into a couple of these myself, but the more I read about them, the more I’m excited to take home a stack from the library and dive in deep.
I’ve stuck to books published in 2018, in part to show how many of these books are emerging. As with all nonfiction for teen readers, some of these books may skew a bit younger, as many nonfiction age ranges begin at 10-14, then move from 14-up. But just because it’s “for” younger teens doesn’t mean older teens (or adults!) won’t tear through the title with enthusiasm.
A Girl’s Guide to Joining The Resistance: A Feminist Handbook On Fighting For Good by Emma Rose Gray
Have recent events given you pause? Does Trump’s America make you fearful for the future of women? Do you want to become more involved in helping to preserve women’s rights but aren’t sure how? In A Girl’s Guide to Joining the Resistance, Emma Rose Gray, Executive Editor at The Huffington Post, outlines all that young women need to know on pivotal women’s rights issues and offers a blueprint for those who want to take a stand and participate in the cause.
Girls Resist!: A Guide to Activism, Leadership, and Starting a Revolution by KaeLyn Rich (June 26)
Take on the world and make some serious change with this handbook to everything activism, social justice, and resistance. With in-depth guides to everything from picking a cause, planning a protest, and raising money to running dispute-free meetings, promoting awareness on social media, and being an effective ally, Girls Resist! will show you how to go from “mad as heck about the way the world is going” to “effective leader who gets stuff done.” Veteran feminist organizer KaeLyn Rich shares tons of expertise that’ll inspire you as much as it teaches you the ropes. Plus, quotes and tips from fellow teen girl activists show how they stood up for change in their communities. Grab this handbook to crush inequality, start a revolution, and resist!
Hope Nation: YA Authors Share Personal Moments of Inspiration edited by Rose Brock
We all experience moments when we struggle to understand the state of the world, when we feel powerless and–in some cases–even hopeless. The teens of today are the caretakers of tomorrow, and yet it’s difficult for many to find joy or comfort in such a turbulent society. But in trying times, words are power.
Some of today’s most influential young adult authors come together in this highly personal nonfiction collection of essays, poems, and letters, each a first-hand account that ultimately strives to inspire hope
How I Resist: Activism and Hope for the Next Generation edited by Maureen Johnson
Now, more than ever, young people are motivated to make a difference in a world they’re bound to inherit. They’re ready to stand up and be heard – but with much to shout about, where they do they begin? What can I do? How can I help?
How I Resist is the response, and a way to start the conversation. To show readers that they are not helpless, and that anyone can be the change. A collection of essays, songs, illustrations, and interviews about activism and hope, How I Resist features an all-star group of contributors, including, John Paul Brammer, Libba Bray, Lauren Duca, Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson and his husband Justin Mikita, Alex Gino, Hebh Jamal, Malinda Lo, Dylan Marron, Hamilton star Javier Muñoz, Rosie O’Donnell, Junauda Petrus, Jodi Picoult, Jason Reynolds, Karuna Riazi, Maya Rupert, Dana Schwartz, Dan Sinker, Ali Stroker, Jonny Sun (aka @jonnysun), Sabaa Tahir, Daniel Watts, Jennifer Weiner, Jacqueline Woodson, and more, all edited and compiled by New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson.
“Aren’t you a terrorist?” “There are no roles for people who look like you.” “That’s a sin.” “No girls allowed.” They’ve heard it all. Actress Alia Shawkat reflects on all the parts she was told she was too “ethnic” to play. Former NFL player Wade Davis recalls his bullying of gay classmates in an attempt to hide his own sexuality. Teen Gavin Grimm shares the story that led to the infamous “bathroom bill,” and how he’s fighting it. Holocaust survivor Fanny Starr tells of her harrowing time in Auschwitz, where she watched her family disappear, one by one.
What made them rise up through the hate? What made them overcome the obstacles of their childhood to achieve extraordinary success? How did they break out of society’s limited view of who they are and find their way to the beautiful and hard-won lives they live today? With a foreword by Minnesota senator and up-and-coming Democratic party leader Amy Klobuchar, these essays share deeply personal stories of resilience, faith, love, and, yes, persistence.
Resist: 35 Profiles of Ordinary People Who Rose Up Against Tyranny and Injustice by Veronica Chambers (September 25)
You may only be one person, but you have the power to change the world.
Before they were activists, they were just like you and me. From Frederick Douglass to Malala Yousafzai, Joan of Arc to John Lewis, Susan B. Anthony to Janet Mock—these remarkable figures show us what it means to take a stand and say no to injustice, even when it would be far easier to stay quiet.
Resist profiles men and women who resisted tyranny, fought the odds, and stood up to bullies that threatened to harm their communities. Along with their portraits and most memorable quotes, their stories will inspire you to speak out and rise up—every single day.
Roadmap for Revolutionaries: Resistance, Activism, and Advocacy For All by Elisa Camahort Page, Carolyn Gerin, and Jamia Wilson (September 18)
It’s a direct, snappy guidebook on engaging in effective day-to-day activism and advocacy at all levels that uses checklists, interviews, and case studies to showcase the tools for making the changes you want to see in society, culture and government.
Steal This Country: A Handbook for Resistance, Persistence, and Fixing Almost Everything by Alexandra Styron (September 4)
Styron’s irreverent and informative primer on how to make a difference is organized into three sections: The Why, The What, and The How. The book opens with a personal essay and a historic look at civil disobedience and teenage activism in America. That’s followed by a deep dive into several key issues: climate change, racial justice, women’s rights, LGBTQIA rights, immigration, religious understanding, and intersectionality. Each chapter is introduced by an original full page comic and includes a summary of key questions, interviews with movers and shakers–from celebrities to youth activists–and spotlights on progressive organizations. The book’s final section is packed with how-to advice on ways to engage, from group activities such as organizing, marching, rallying, and petitioning to individual actions like voting with your wallet, volunteering, talking with relatives with different viewpoints, and using social activism to get out a progressive message.
Wake Rise Resist: The Progressive Teen’s Guide To Fighting Tyrants and A*Holes by Joanna Spathis and Kerri Kennedy (October 24)
Joanna Spathis and Kerri Kennedy’s how-to guide to social activism for teens—or anyone, really—includes 128 well-researched actions (and plenty of entertaining snark) in ten chapters. Set up in three parts, the book is designed to guide readers into finding their political voice and is set up in such a way to help those feeling disenfranchised be more empowered instantly.
Wake, Rise, Resist shows readers how to get involved in the work for social justice, racial equality, refugees, feminism, the environment, and more. This book has something to engage and empower every reader, no matter their age or personality type.
Part I: Building Your Activist Toolkit sets all activists up for success, with actions to help extroverts, introverts, artists, techies, social media junkies, and more. Part II: Activism Gets Real takes a long look at racism, sexism, and privilege and also offers a chapter with more than 15 passion projects to capture the imagination of any reader. Part III: From Activist to Advocate offers advice on how to raise awareness, raise funds, and use self-care to keep yourself in the fight.
You Are Mighty: A Guide To Changing The World by Caroline Paul
Being a good citizen means standing up for what’s right-and here’s just the way to start. From the author of The Gutsy Girl comes a book for those with a fierce sense of justice, a good sense of humor, and a big heart. This guide features change-maker tips, tons of DIY activities, and stories about the kids who have paved the way before, from famous activists like Malala Yousafzai and Claudette Colvin to the everyday young people whose habit changes triggered huge ripple effects. So make a sign, write a letter, volunteer, sit-in, or march! There are lots of tactics to choose from, and you’re never too young to change the world.
Young Revolutionary: A Teen’s Guide to Activism by Chanice Lee
Chris Suggs started Kinston Teens when he noticed gun violence rising in his hometown. Sawyer Taylor-Arnold created her own nationwide awareness campaign by making stickers, to empower girls and women. Both of these people have one thing in common: THEY’RE TEENAGERS! Are you a Teenager aspiring to make change in your community or beyond? Young Revolutionary will give you the confidence, tools and resources you need to be a successful Activist. Written by a Teenager, for Teenagers. This guide is a mixture of personal experiences from the author herself and real-life stories of several Teen Activists. Whether you are new to activism or if you are already an experienced, you’ll learn everything from how to organize events, reaching out to your local officials, and spreading the word on your cause. Young people have always been at the forefront of movements, so now it’s your turn.
Keep fighting the good fight, and we’ll see you again here next week!
PS: If you are interested, Here We Are: Feminism For The Real World — edited by me! — is on sale in ebook form for $2 this week. I didn’t plan to write this newsletter about activism the same week of the discount, but the coincidence was enough to merit a mention.