You are currently viewing Books to Inspire Your Child’s Activism

Books to Inspire Your Child’s Activism

Students and young people have a long history of activism in this country, pushing for change to define our future culture. As children learn concepts such as fairness and democracy, invite them to continue the tradition of advocacy in their communities.

While activism may feel like a scary or large undertaking, it’s more about defining a culture of behavior and taking steps to realize the vision of an overarching goal. By engaging in this work at the school level and at home, students will feel empowered to advocate for change far beyond the classroom.

As children begin to explore issues they are passionate about, be sure to:

  1. Create space for conversation
  2. Listen to children—they already know so much
  3. Use books to facilitate the conversation
  4. Center empathy as you create a safe space
  5. Invite children to brainstorm some next steps to address issues
Participant holding sign at YWCA's SAR 2019
Below are a few topics you can explore with your children, featuring my personal choice of partnered books.

Climate Activisim

Climate change has been a long-standing topic of concern, with young people picking up the mantle of generations before them. As the crisis continues to escalate, young activists have pushed to create a multi-generational coalition advocating for individual behavior and systemic policy change. For those wishing to join the cause, children’s books are a powerful tool to raise awareness and share stories about youth participation.

However you and your children choose to get involved, cultivating environmental awareness through knowledge and conscious action will be vital to create transformative change in the near future. Below are four titles that nurture respect for nature and encourage children to organize — from promoting sustainable practices in their schools to forming clubs, and so much more!


A perennial topic in children’s literature, bullying continues to be relevant in the 21st century as interpersonal interactions continue after school through technology and social media. Approaching this issue in the classroom and home means creating a safe space for children to engage in conversation.

Using books from my list below as a launching point, ask your child to share their thoughts or experiences with bullying. To extend this dialogue beyond a lesson in empathy to anti-bullying action, challenge your child to brainstorm steps they can take to create a culture of care and accountability in their school or community.

Check out these titles to start the conversation:

Social Justice

For a generation growing up in a time where inequity and injustice are visibly prominent, creating an inclusive environment will be a goal many young activists strive to achieve. Empower your child by embracing literature that recognizes diversity and fights against gendered assumptions.

Incorporating social justice in your home discussions andclassroom instruction means introducing relevant text that features people of different backgrounds, acknowledges past (and contemporary) bias and discrimination, and celebrates the contributions of marginalized communities.

Jasmine Mix is the literacy and engagement manager at YWCA Central Carolinas. She has served as a public educator and literacy facilitator for over 14 years.