Want your child to grow up with the moxy of Nelson Mandela or Rosa Parks? Start them early with these stories of kid-friendly – but fired-up! – books for kids who want to make change.
Written by Michelle Markel; Illustrations by Melissa Sweet
If you’d like your kids to realize how truly easy they have it, give them this historical picture book about Clara Lemlich. This young Ukrainian immigrant who got fed up with sub-par treatment and wages and led the largest strike of women workers in the U.S. A great tale of tenacity and spirit. $12. Balzer + Bray, 2013. Ages 4-8.
Written by Doreen Cronin; Illustrations by Betsy Lewin
When farm animals find an old typewriter, Farmer Brown gets letters of protest from some “mad” cows. Demand No. 1: electric blankets to keep warm in the cold barn! A strike ensues, with a diplomatic duck smoothing things over. A Caldecott Honor pick for aspiring activists. $5. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2000. Ages 3-8.
By Geoff Herbach
Overweight high school misfit Gabe fends off bullies with a self-depreciating sense of humor and ability to stay under the radar. But when his school’s cheerleaders want to snap up the soda-machine cash that benefits his beloved band, he breaks out from the background. This driven outcast will inspire young adult readers. $12. Sourcebooks Fire, 2014. Ages 12-17.
Written by Drew Daywalt; Illustrations by Oliver Jeffers
It’s not easy being a blue crayon. Reduced to a nub from all of those big jobs coloring oceans and skies, he’s written an impassioned plea to his owner Duncan. He’s not alone: Pink, Orange, Yellow and left-out Beige soon join his quest. This clever, colorful tale delights with every page. $10. Penguin Group, 2013. Ages 3-7.
This post was originally published in 2014 and is updated regularly.