Books That Will Inspire the Activist In You

Have you registered to vote yet? Here is a list of excellent stories to inspire us to be the best activists and allies we can be. Read them, talk about them, and use them to take action on the issues you care about most.

Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card

Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card

By Sara Saedi

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This touching and oftentimes hilarious memoir follows the real-life story of one teen’s experience growing up as an undocumented immigrant from the Middle East. At the age of thirteen, Sara Saedi discovered a shocking secret: simply by living in the United States, she was breaking the law. Saedi’s parents fled Iran when she was just two years old, and along with normal teenage anxieties, like not having clear skin, or a car, or a boyfriend, the constant threat of deportation looms over her head as she works to get a green card. This vitally important autobiography will have you laughing, crying, and feeling like you and Saedi are the best of friends.

Call Me American (Adapted for Young Adults)

Call Me American (Adapted for Young Adults)

By Abdi Nor Iftin

Adapted from the adult memoir, this gripping story follows one boy’s journey into young adulthood and offers an intimate account of modern immigration.

Dear Martin

Dear Martin

By Nic Stone

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Raw, captivating, and undeniably real, Nic Stone boldly tackles American race relations in this stunning New York Times bestseller, about Justyce who gets arrested for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Justyce's eyes are opened to the harsh injustices and prejudice that exist all around him, and begins to write a journal of letters to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., asking the question, does the American Dream still run skin deep?

Dear Justyce

Dear Justyce

By Nic Stone

The stunning sequel to the #1 New York Times bestseller Dear Martin. Incarcerated teen Quan writes letters to Justyce about his experiences in the American juvenile justice systemPerfect for fans of Jason Reynolds and Angie Thomas.

The Far Away Brothers (Adapted for Young Adults)

The Far Away Brothers (Adapted for Young Adults)

By Lauren Markham

The inspiring true story of identical twin teenage brothers who escape El Salvador’s violence to build new lives in California as undocumented immigrants—perfect for fans of Enrique’s Journey and anyone interested in learning about the issues that underlie today’s conversations about DACA and immigration reform.

Just Mercy (Movie Tie-In Edition, Adapted for Young Adults)

Just Mercy (Movie Tie-In Edition, Adapted for Young Adults)

By Bryan Stevenson

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Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson’s exploration of the broken US justice system, has been adapted specifically for young adult readers. As a lawyer and social advocate, Stevenson dives deep into both his personal experiences and those of the most marginalized and oppressed people in the country who have been discriminated against and/or wrongly accused of a crime. This moving collage of stories is inspiring and powerful, and best of all, a portion of the book’s proceeds will go to charity.

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

By Erika L. Sánchez

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Julia is not the perfect Mexican daughter. She wants to leave her parents’ home after graduation, go away to college, and, at least in the eyes of her family, abandon the people who love her the most. But after a tragic accident leaves her beloved sister Olga dead, Julia becomes the outlet for her mother’s grief, having to hear every detail of her failure as a daughter. But with the help of her best friend and boyfriend, Julia begins to unravel the secrets Olga kept from the family in order to maintain her perfect-daughter facade, and discovers there’s no way she can ever live up to the ideal her parents have set for her.

Mexican WhiteBoy

Mexican WhiteBoy

By Matt de la Peña

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Half-Mexican and half-white, Danny lives in San Diego close to the border and is constantly grappling with the ways in which he feels that his whiteness separates him from the rest of his family. He doesn’t speak Spanish. He even believes it was his mixed heritage that got his father sent back to Mexico. While spending a summer with his father’s side of the family, Danny is finally forced to face his demons, and becomes entangled in a powerful friendship with another teen that neither boy saw coming. This novel is all about identity, friendship, and self-acceptance, and is perfect for lovers of contemporary YA fiction.

Nevertheless, We Persisted

Nevertheless, We Persisted

By In This Together Media

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In this extraordinary essay collection, forty-eight actors, musicians, writers, politicians, athletes, activists, and teens share times in their lives when they persisted in spite of being discriminated against due to their race, sexual identity, or gender. From NFL player Wade Davis, who recounts painful memories of bullying a gay classmate in order to hide his own identity, to teen Gavin Grimm, a transgender student who won a court ruling that led to the infamous “bathroom bill,” this gem of a book speaks to the resilience of the human spirit and will help you feel less alone in your own struggles.

Parkland Speaks

Parkland Speaks

By Sarah Lerner

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Featuring art and writing from the students of the Parkland tragedy, this is a raw look at the events of February 14, and a poignant representation of grief, healing, and hope.

The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School share their emotional journeys that began on February 14, 2018, and continue today. This revealing and unfiltered look at teens living in the wake of tragedy is a poignant representation of grief, anger, determination, healing, and hope.

The Sun Is Also a Star Movie Tie-in Edition

The Sun Is Also a Star Movie Tie-in Edition

By Nicola Yoon

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Now that the movie adaptation of The Sun Is Also a Star is hitting the big screen in 2019, this oh-so relevant book is even more timely. The story follows two main protagonists: seventeen-year-old Natasha “Tasha” Kingsley and Daniel Jae Ho Bae. Tasha and her family are just twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica, so she decides to take a shot in the dark and visit the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in an attempt to convince them to let her family stay. While on her way to meet with an attorney, Tasha runs into aspiring poet Daniel, an artistic teen bound for Yale. As fate would have it, the two meet and fall for each other over the course of one day. The novel deals with a plethora of hard-hitting issues— ethnicity, race, the immigration system, loneliness—while enveloping readers in the magic that can only come from a first love.

This Is My America

This Is My America

By Kim Johnson

“Incredible and searing.” Nic Stone#1 New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin

The Hate U Give meets Just Mercy in this unflinching yet uplifting first novel that explores the racist injustices in the American justice system.

By

The amazing autobiography of a young Sudanese boy who went from a child soldier to an international peace activist, a struggling refugee to a Hollywood actor.

We Say #NeverAgain: Reporting by the Parkland Student Journalists

We Say #NeverAgain: Reporting by the Parkland Student Journalists

By Eric Garner

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A journalistic look at the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland and the fight for gun control—as told by the student reporters for the school’s newspaper and TV station.This timely and powerful book is an inside look at that tragic day and the events that followed that only the teens who experienced it could tell. It showcases how the students came together to report on the tragedy in their own words, and how they have become media savvy and the skills they have learned and honed—harnessing social media, speaking to the press, and writing effective op-eds.

Yes She Can

Yes She Can

By Molly Dillon

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"An excellent guide to the how and why of a life of public service." --Amy Poehler

Return to President Obama's White House in this anthology for young women by young women, featuring stories from ten inspiring young staffers who joined his administration in their 20s with the hope of making a difference.

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  1. mistyreeves

    Dear Martin is actually a book I would recommend teachers order for their schools to make their students read. Because it doesn’t simply tell a story; it introduces the reader to various important equality-related topics and values.
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  2. Loha69

    It seems to me that every student should read these books in the most difficult period of his life. This will help them cope with this and recharge their batteries for new feats. To the list of these books I would add a reading of the review EssayExplorer for example, a review of the service edusson. For students, this is useful when they write an essay and need help with writing it. Still I could advise some books for teenagers namely: Flowers for Algernon, 1984.

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    Reply 0 Replies Feb 2, 2019