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Social Change: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about social change?

As you can see, this list of kids books about social change is a work in progress! We’re currently exploring the best books available, and we’d love your input. If you have a title you’d suggest including on our list of kids books about social change, please share it with us!

We’ll be featuring a variety of titles on our list, from well known classics to popular bestsellers to lesser known titles that deserve a bigger audience. We’re also including books for a range of ages, from board books for babies and toddlers, to picture books for preschool and kindergarten age kids, to chapter books for early elementary age kids.

We’d love to hear any book suggestions you have—you can comment below or email us at [email protected].

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Ruby's Wish
Written by Shirin Yim Bridges & illustrated by Sophie Blackall
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Ruby is unlike most little girls in old China. Instead of aspiring to get married, Ruby is determined to attend university when she grows up, just like the boys in her family. Based upon the inspirational story of the author’s grandmother and accompanied by richly detailed illustrations, Ruby’s Wish is an engaging portrait of a young girl who’s full of ambition and the family who rewards her hard work and courage.

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Champions of Change
Written by Naomi Watkins & illustrated by Katherine Kitterman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-16

Stories of powerhouse women who pushed for justice in politics, medicine, art, music, religion, tribal leadership, and more. In fighting to pass the 19th Amendment, brave suffragists like Susan B. Anthony and Emmeline B. Wells fought to end laws and take down barriers that prevented them from voting. Champions of Change introduces young readers not only to Anthony and Wells, but also to a diverse group of firsts and freedom-fighters in America’s fight for equality, such as: Zitkala-Sa, co-founder of the National Council of American Indians Martha Hughes Cannon, America’s first female senator Hanna Kaaepa, an advocate for Hawaiian women’s rights Barbara Toomer, who was jailed 35 times for protests that led to the passage of the Americans with Disabilities act and the women of the Kanab City Council, one of the first all-female city councils in the country. This timely collection of mini biographies highlights 25 champions for justice, includes colorful portraitures of each, and presents actual photos of the individuals as well as a quick reference glossary. Naomi Watkins, Ph.D. is an educational consultant, women’s advocate, and community builder. A former middle school English teacher, she specializes in curriculum development and school district consulting. She has been published in international journals such as the The Reading Teacher, Journal of Children’s Literature, TESOL Journal, and Middle School Journal. Katherine Kitterman is the historical director for Better Days 2020, an organization that explores stories of women who shaped Utah’s history. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in American History at American University in Washington, D.C., where she has worked to bring history to life at the Smithsonian Institution, the Holocaust Memorial Museum, and Woodrow Wilson House. Brooke Smart is an illustrator based in Sandy, Utah, with a BFA in Illustration from Brigham Young University. Her illustration clients include the New York Times, Gathre, Better Days 2020, Bravery Magazine, and private commissions. Brook recently won honorable mention in the 2016 Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Portfolio Showcase in New York City.

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What Can a Citizen Do?
Written by Dave Eggers & illustrated by Shawn Harris
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

A citizen can pick up litter A citizen can pull a weed A citizen can help that critter A citizen can plant a seed A citizen can aid a neighbor A citizen can join a cause A citizen can write a letter A citizen can help change laws . . . Empowering and timeless, What Can a Citizen Do? is the latest collaboration from the acclaimed duo behind the bestselling Her Right Foot: Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris. This is a book for today’s youth about what it means to be a citizen. Across the course of several seemingly unrelated but ultimately connected actions by different children, we watch how kids turn a lonely island into a community—and watch a journey from what the world should be to what the world could be. This is a book about what citizenship—good citizenship—means to you, and to us all.

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Night on Fire
Written by Ronald Kidd
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13

Thirteen-year-old Billie Simms doesn’t think her hometown of Anniston, Alabama, should be segregated, but few of the town’s residents share her opinion. As equality spreads across the country and the Civil Rights Movement gathers momentum, Billie can’t help but feel stuck—and helpless—in a stubborn town too set in its ways to realize that the world is passing it by. So when Billie learns that the Freedom Riders, a group of peace activists riding interstate buses to protest segregation, will be traveling through Anniston on their way to Montgomery, she thinks that maybe change is finally coming and her quiet little town will shed itself of its antiquated views. But what starts as a series of angry grumbles soon turns to brutality as Anniston residents show just how deep their racism runs. The Freedom Riders will resume their ride to Montgomery, and Billie is now faced with a choice: stand idly by in silence or take a stand for what she believes in. Through her own decisions and actions and a few unlikely friendships, Billie is about to come to grips with the deep-seated prejudice of those she once thought she knew, and with her own inherent racism that she didn’t even know she had.

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Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America (Coretta Scott King Award - Author Winner Title(s))
Written by Andrea Pinkney & illustrated by Brian Pinkney
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

HAND IN HAND presents the stories of ten men from different eras in American history, organized chronologically to provide a scope from slavery to the modern day. The stories are accessible, fully-drawn narratives offering the subjects’ childhood influences, the time and place in which they lived, their accomplishments and motivations, and the legacies they left for future generations as links in the “freedom chain.” This book will be the definitive family volume on the subject, punctuated with dynamic full color portraits and spot illustrations by two-time Caldecott Honor winner and multiple Coretta Scott King Book Award recipient Brian Pinkney. Backmatter includes a civil rights timeline, sources, and further reading.

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$19.99
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$15.69
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