The Just 20 Weekly Booklist contains 20 recommendations on a topic or genre for patrons of all ages. The list, curated by Lisa & Beth, is designed to proceed in level from older audiences to younger.
“There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear,” Toni Morrison on considering the artist’s and activist's task in troubled times.
This week we were profoundly affected to hear about the death of John Lewis, but are just as profoundly affected by his life and legacy, which led us to change the originally intended topic of this booklist. Webster defines activism as "the policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change." But prior to enacting policy or committing to action we would add the need to read and to listen.
We hope that this booklist provides you with some inspiration for reading and reflecting and then the impetus for going out and making some "good trouble."
John Lewis was one of the key figures of the civil rights movement. At NPL we were fortunate to participate in the 2019 Vermont Reads program about his graphic memoir "March". If you are put off by the thought of tackling graphic novels - perhaps an interest in reading about this American icon can entice you. The three volumes of "March" are amazing and very accessible to those in a broad range of ages.
To hear the VPR interview or see a recording of Lewis at the Flynn with his co-author Andrew Aydin visit https://www.vermonthumanities.org/vermont-reads/vermont-reads-2019/lewis-aydin-visit/
With Hope in the Dark, Rebecca Solnit makes a radical case for hope as a commitment to act in a world whose future remains uncertain and unknowable.
Environmental activist Aidan Ricketts offers a step-by-step handbook for citizens eager to start or get involved in grass-roots movements and beyond. Providing all essential practical tools, methods and strategies needed for a successful campaign and extensively discussing legal and ethical issues, this book empowers its readers to effectively promote their cause. Includes lots of ready-to-use documents and comprehensive information on digital activism and group strategy.
Audre Lorde was an American writer, feminist, womanist, librarian, and civil rights activist. She was a self-described “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet” who dedicated both her life and her creative talent to confronting and addressing injustices of racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, and homophobia. This collection of essays provides contemporary social justice warriors the language, strategies, and lessons around resistance, through the power of intersectionality, love and radical self-care.
History books have glossed over indigenous people, especially when it comes to their fight for environmental justice. In As Long As Grass Grows, you'll learn about it all, including treaty violations and efforts to protect sacred sites. Gilio-Whitaker is a scholar, educator, journalist, and Colville Confederated Tribes descendant.
Did you know? Craftivism is a worldwide movement that operates at the intersection where craft and activism meet; Craftivism the book is full of inspiration for crafters who want to create works that add to the greater good. With interviews and profiles of craftivists who are changing the world with their art, and through examples that range from community embroidery projects, stitching in prisons, revolutionary ceramics, AIDS activism, yarn bombing, and crafts that facilitate personal growth, Craftivism provides imaginative examples of how crafters can be creative and altruistic at the same time.
Wake, Rise, Resist offers 128 actions—progressing through ten easy-to-follow chapters—that shows teens how to get involved in the work for social justice, racial equality, refugees, feminism, the environment, and more. Whatever your passion, personality, or concern: this book has something to engage and empower.
Also check out: Youth to Power: Your Voice and How to Use It by Jamie Margolin.
"I come from a country that was created at midnight. When I almost died it was just after midday."
Perhaps everyone has already read Malala's story. I hope so. But if you have not, then you should. There are few modern stories as inspirational as this one - a young woman who stood up to the Taliban, for what she knew was right.
Also available in a young reader's edition.
Perhaps the first book that I read as a young person in the 1970s (long before YA existed) that formed a basic concept of social justice (or lack thereof). It is an impassioned and beautiful novel about a predominantly black country under white man's law and the ramifications on individuals of that fact. That Oprah chose it as a selection for her Book Club more than 50 years after its publication, says a lot about its staying power and timelessness, even under social justice lens of today.
For a more modern novel about activism - one might try "The Heart is a Muscle the Size of Your Fist" by Sunil Yapa.
"We've got a long history of resistance in Vermont and this book is testimony to that fact." Bernie Sanders
We are fortunate to be able to claim the environmentalist and founder of 350.org, Bill McKibben as a resident of our beautiful state. While McKibben has a long history of writing non-fiction about environmental degradation and activism, his first novel follows a band of Vermont patriots who decide that their state might be better off as its own republic. Funny yet serious - and definitely thought-provoking.
You can also search the catalog for Bill McKibben's non-fiction titles.
You are never to young to try and make the world a better place. These pages are filled with inspirational stories and lots of ideas of ways to be an activist. You could write a letter, join a march or a sit in, make a sign, or volunteer. It all depends on the way you want to be involved. All it takes is a desire for justice and a need for some sort of action. (Also, a good sense of humor and a big heart.) Maybe reading this book is the first step to something bigger.
A thought-provoking YA novel that shows the complicated and messy side of protesting. Florrie is an idealistic teen but with a passion for a cause she’s willing to fight for. She tries to convince everyone to rise up against the franchises and support local businesses. But standing up for what you think is right isn’t as clear cut as you might have once believed. Naomi Shihab Nye’s novel shows the soul of a poet shedding light on what we value in life.
The first book in this new series is filled with an interesting mix of articles and photographs that provide background and context, surrounding these poems that take us through key points in Fred’s life. He was a man who stood for his convictions and beliefs, which took him all the way to the Supreme Court. There is an afterword, written by Fred’s daughter. She says: “American heroes are not born, but made.” She conveys her hope that this book can help show others the power behind standing up for what they think is right---even if it’s the hardest thing they’ll ever do.
Divided into sections like Grow, Create, Explore and Rally, this graphic novel collection features women from different time periods. Each one is illustrated by a woman or non-binary cartoonist using their incredible talents to highlight individuals who lived their lives loudly. Opportunities are included for the reader to see the ways in which they resemble these dreamers and doers and be motivated to make some noise.
What if you woke up one day and decided to give a made up name to something that is already known to everyone, like a chair or a book or fork? Do you think you could convince people to follow along and perhaps change everyone’s idea of what that thing is truly called? If you haven’t yet heard of Frindle, it will change the way you look at the things around you. A quietly compelling book that shows the power of words, language, and teachers who try and give their students what they need most.
In the 1940s young Ruth believed she could be anything, having read books from the library that showed her girls being brave and confident. There have been many times in her life when she objected and protested. She says, “Fight for the things you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” Now she uses her voice to stand up for what she believes in in the highest court in the law, and we get to read about her.
Many movements throughout history have had banners or flags or iconic symbols. This is the story of how the rainbow pride flag came to be, as told through the story of one person’s life. As a young boy, Gilbert felt like such an outsider. When he grew up he took his colorful, glittery, sparkly self to San Francisco, and there he used his talents to help people. He created something now seen and beloved by people all over the world. An inspiring story about using what you have, no matter how big or small those talents may be.
A simple, powerful picturebook offering chances for discussion and motivation for standing up against injustices. Moving in history from Samuel Adams up through Colin Kaepernick and Jazz Jennings, each is featured with one small sentence that captures the essence of their contributions. The back of the book offers further context and explanation. A wonderful mix of ages, races and genders---each lovingly rendered by the illustrator, Ziyue Chen.
In very simple terms, with artwork showing empathy and empowerment, Peter Reynolds has written a book that can serve as a conversation starter. The examples in this picturebook illustrate several courses of action in everyday life that may bring about big change.
An alphabet board book for the youngest activists. G is for grassroots, J is for justice, P for peaceful march. An introduction to large concepts, but with beautiful art and a focus on humanity and equal rights for all.