Social Justice and Activism for Young Adults

From #MeToo to Black Lives Matter to March for Our Lives, the voices of activists are ringing loud and clear across this country right now.  Many of these voices are those of young people, and teens today are more empowered than ever before to create change and make their voices heard.  As a result, there has been a remarkable increase in books for, by, and about teens that explore the topics that so profoundly affect them and show how powerful their voices can be.  Here are just a few recent titles:

Glimmer of Hope: How Tragedy Sparked a Movement by the founders of March for Our Lives
It’s been less than a year since the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, but the students who survived the tragedy swiftly moved into action. Within weeks after the shooting, the survivors organized a student-led demonstration in Washington, DC to campaign for stricter gun control laws.  This collection of writings from those students shows how powerful youth voice can be.

Fred Korematsu Speaks Up by Laura Atkins
In the 1940’s Fred was just a regular American teenager, but all that changed when the United States went to war with Japan. Fred’s parents had immigrated to the US from Japan, and in 1941 they were forced, with thousands of others of Japanese ancestry, to move to internment camps.  But Fred refused to go.  He was jailed for his outspoken opposition to the internment camps and became a lifelong civil rights activist until his death.  This graphic novel compelling tells his story.

Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro
During his sophomore year in high school, Moss Jeffries still suffers from the panic attacks that started after his father was murdered by Oakland police.  Now, his high school feels more like a prison, with random locker searches and ongoing intimidation from the police in the hallways.  After student protests result in a tragedy for one of Moss’s friends, tensions reach breaking point.

Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles.
Marvin and his twin brother Tyler have always been tight, but lately Tyler has been hanging out with a new crowd that has Marvin wary.  When Tyler goes missing after a party, Marvin searches the neighborhood for days but the more he learns about what happened that night, the more questions he has.  This is a great choice for middle school readers who are looking for more books like Dear Martin or  The Hate U Give.

For more teen books on social justice and activism, click here.

~ Posted by Summer H.

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