Books, Learning, Lists, Reviews

Books That Will Help Us Make the World a Better Place

Books serve so many purposes, obviously! And one of them is inspiring us as well to help us make the world a better place, for all of us and for our tomorrows as well. Both fictional and nonfiction reads inspire and inform me, they help me make choices, make me more curious, and take impactful action. And I discovered a few such books during my Cybils Awards readathon. I truly welcome adding more books like this to my reading list so please feel free to give me your recommendations.

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So here are some of those reads that I hope will help us…..

Make the World a Better Place

Resist! Peaceful Acts That Changed Our World

Title: Resist! Peaceful Acts That Changed Our World
Author/Illustrator: Diane Stanley
Length: 48 pages
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction/Social Activism, Biographies (7 – 10 years, and up)
Publisher: Neal Porter Books (September 1st 2020)

Thanks to the publishers for the e-review copy of the book received for Cybils Awards reading as a round 1 judge

What It Is (Excerpt from Goodreads Description)

From music to marches, from sit-ins to walk-outs, history’s activists have led by example until they could no longer be ignored.

Diane Stanley, award-winning author and illustrator of many distinctive informational books for young people writes with passion and conviction of the world’s greatest activists, past and present, in this book which is as hopeful as it is inspiring

The How (I Felt)

Resist! is a collection of bite-sized biographies of activists across time and around the world. Diane Stanley uses a combination of straightforward. informative narrative and colorful, illustrative portraits for the double-page spreads dedicated to each activist (individual or group).

What I Loved About This
  • How care has been taken to include a diverse set of people, from the obvious and/or well-known (like Gandhi, Mandela, or Rosa Parks) to the less-known and/or unexpected (like the Hollywood Ten, The Tree-Sitters of Pureora, the “It Gets Better” Project, or Tank Man)
  • The brief and straightforward text provides highlights the featured activists as well as key examples of their acts of peaceful resistance; and thus is a wonderful introduction to them
  • Each story in this book is an example of how people around the world used acts of peace to raise their voices, and to help them towards their goals.
And, of course,

we cannot deny that the use of nonviolent methods as means of change is powerful indeed, and brings about progress in more ways than we can imagine. Benefits are manifold, and this book proves that with each peaceful act it narrates.

Perfect Pairing

Based on the age-group this is for, it can be paired with No Voice Too Small, for one. Or with Kid Activists.

In Summary

A great introduction to the featured activists and groups.

Get It Here

Book Depository ||  IndieBound || Bookshop

We Are Power: How Nonviolent Activism Changes the World

Title: We Are Power: How Nonviolent Activism Changes the World
Author: Todd Hasak-Lowy
Length: 320 pages
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction/Social Activism, Biographies (10 – 14 years, and up)
Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers(Apr 7, 2020)

What It Is (Excerpted from GoodReads Description)

A stirring look at nonviolent activism, from American suffragists to Civil Rights to the Climate Change Movement

The How (I Felt)

This is a truly awesome book; one that shows its readers how nonviolence activism can be the David against the more mighty Goliaths of governments, rulers, societies themselves, and even tyrants. It does this by using the movements led by Gandhi, Alice Paul, Martin Luther King, Caser Chavez, Victor Havel, and Greta Thurnberg.

The Activists

I was awed when I was reading about the silent sentinels – the women suffragists. And as I read about Gandhi’s Satyagraha again, this time it was with a fresh perspective and like a much-needed refresher course for me.

The Velvet Revolution was a revelation to me, and I know I want to read more about Victor Havel now. Similarly, the chapters about Chavez and MLK (like the others) brought focus not just on the plusses and victories, but also on the struggles and failures of their campaigns.

And including Greta Thurnberg does lend a touch of ‘yes, we can do it too’ to readers who will no doubt be inspired to learn and do more by that point in the book.

The Narrative

Using a strong narrative that lends the right voice to the power of the movements, and many photos and images included throughout, Resist! does a wonderful job of informing and inspiring readers.

I appreciated that it does not refrain from talking about the failures, issues, and struggles of these movements while showing the power of nonviolent activism. While the book does have its flaws, what it provides is so necessary and so impactful that it makes this one a must-read. Ultimately, this book proves that one does not need to resort to violence to be heard and to – in the end – even win.

Rich backmatter includes a list of other notable movements across the world over the last hundred years, a bibliography, notes and image credits.

Perfect Pairing

Many books that are included in the bibliography of this book will work. And Youth to Power: Your Voice and How to Use It is another suggestion.

In Summary

An important book that deserves to be read, and to be part of home and school libraries, and discussions.

Get It Here

Book Depository ||  IndieBound || Bookshop

Stand Up!: Be an Upstander and Make a Difference

Title: Stand Up!: Be an Upstander and Make a Difference
Author: Wendy Moss
Length: 112 pages
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction/Teen and YA Bullying, Self-Esteem
Publisher: Magination Press (December 3, 2019)

What It Is

Stand Up!: Be an Upstander and Make a Difference takes readers through the ways to be an Upstander, including being kind to yourself, having empathy for others, spreading kindness, and dealing with conflicts.

The How (I Felt)
What I Liked …
The Concept

The first thing that caught my attention is its title. Being an upstander sounds wonderful; and being able to teach and enable children to stand up for themselves, and for others around them is even more so.

and its Execution

Wendy Moss uses themed chapters to help young readers build the skills to do just that. The book balances the main narrative/text with stories related to each chapter’s theme, quizzes, practical tips on what each of us can do, as well as lots of sound advice.

the Kid Appeal

Lots of bright colors throughout the book – colored textboxes for stories and quotes; headlines in multiple colors (this actually made it a little difficult to read the headlines sometimes); and elsewhere – will definitely appeal to its target audience.

and the Know-How

In today’s age of young voices like Thurnberg and more (in the No Voice Too Small: Fourteen Young Americans Making History book), children definitely do not lack inspiration. What they need is information. And this book’s strength definitely lies in breaking down the how-to-be-an-upstander into small actionable steps for all those who strive to do lots more, but are hesitant or have no idea how to.

And Then the Other Side

At times, the narrative seems almost textual and formal, like giving instructions, rather than conversational, making the reading a bit dry. And while I love bright colors, like I mentioned earlier, the use of multiple colors in every headline (and there are many) made it difficult to read them many a time.

Perfect Pairing

No Voice Too Small: Fourteen Young Americans Making History : Though it is written for younger audiences than Stand Up!, they are a great pair of books to read together.

In Summary

A wonderful handbook to help young readers to do just what it says on the title – be an upstander.

Get It Here

Book Depository ||  IndieBound || Bookshop

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Books That Will Help Us Make the World a Better Place

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