Together We March: 25 Protest Movements That Marched Into History (Leah Henderson)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Together We March: 25 Protest Movements That Marched Into History, written by Leah Henderson and illustrated by Tyler Feder, a young reader’s introduction to famous activist movements from the early twentieth-century to current times.

Activism is a vital component of social change and, as history has shown, taking to the streets is a well-proven way for movements to make their messages heard. Exploring 25 different marches – from Mother Jones’s March of the Mill Children to the Birmingham Children’s Crusade to the Longest Walk to the 2020 BLM protests – young readers can learn about some of history’s most notable marches, the people who led them, and the causes they fought for.

Inspiring. With a two-page spread dedicated to a relatively thorough account of the background, key players/moments, and impact of each march, Henderson also deftly educates readers on the civil rights of women, Native Americans, black Americans, immigrants and migrant workers, the LGBTQ+ community, disabled Americans, and more. Readers also learn about Apartheid, child labor, the Holocaust, and other global issues through history. Many of the entries focus on the children and young people who led and/or participated in them, inspiring bookworms interested in activism to believe in the power of their voice. The illustrations pair perfectly with the entries, providing visual aides and emotional connection, without lessening the impact of the serious themes. This is definitely a title for middle-grade (and older) bookworms, both in subject and length, but JJ liked the illustrations, and I liked learning more about marches I had not been familiar with. This is a fantastic way to inform, educate, and inspire young activists, and we loved it. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Our House Is On Fire: Greta Thunberg’s Call To Save The Planet (Jeanette Winter)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Our House Is On Fire: Greta Thunberg’s Call To Save The Planet by Jeanette Winter, the story of the young climate change activist and how her passion and determination led a wave of student protests.

Growing up in Sweden, Greta Thunberg was certainly not a household name; the young girl was quiet and shy. Sitting in the back of her classroom and saying little, she thought of herself as invisible. But the day her teacher taught a lesson on climate change was the day that changed everything. Greta, who could “think about one thing for a long, long time” (the only allusion the story makes to her Aspergers Syndrome), began tirelessly researching the effects of climate change, growing more anxious and depressed the more she learned. But what could one teenager do to make the world take notice? Greta decided to start small: with her parents’ permission, she began skipping school on Fridays in protest, picketing outside the Parliament building. At first, she was alone – she still felt invisible. But people began to take notice, and soon more students joined her, first in Sweden and then internationally. She became a powerful public speaker for change, invited to address powerful people all over the world. And her message is simple: we need to begin acting as if the house was on fire – because it is.

Stirring. Thunberg has been making headlines lately with her fiery speeches on climate change, and at the age of sixteen has become a powerful and formidable activist for reform; this book takes a look at how she rose from humble beginnings to do so, showing young readers that even small steps can lead to great things. The themes of the story can be a little intense, especially a sequence that looks at the tragic effects of global climate change, and while this does give the reader a deeper understanding of Thunberg’s despair and drive, it may stress out younger bookworms. I also wish they had explored Thunberg’s ASD more, as she is an inspiring figure for those affected by the disorder. Still, the art complements the text well, and the length is good for any age. JJ and I were moved, and we think you will be too. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Follow The Moon Home: A Tale Of One Idea, Twenty Kids, And A Hundred Sea Turtles (Philippe Cousteau & Deborah Hopkinson)

Hello, friends – and welcome to the review of our ONE THOUSANDTH BOOK! We chose a good one: Follow The Moon Home: A Tale Of One Idea, Twenty Kids, And A Hundred Sea Turtles, written by Philippe Cousteau and Deborah Hopkinson, and illustrated by Meilo So.

New to her South Carolina beach town, Vivienne feels alone and adrift. Even though her summer school program teacher and fellow students are welcoming, she is not quite ready to put herself out there. Until one day, when walking on the beach, a local and classmate tell her about the annual nesting of the loggerhead sea turtles. Seeing some of the baby turtles had tragically wandered away from the ocean, Vivienne wonders why. After researching the turtles and returning to observe the beach at night, she realizes – the bright lights from the beachside homes are confusing the infant turtles’ homing instincts. Compelled to help, Vivienne must find the courage to reach out and connect an entire community, resulting in her shyness lifted, and a hundred lives saved.

Beautiful. The story weaves effortlessly through lessons in young leadership, activism, environmentalism, community, courage, curiosity, and of course, loggerhead sea turtles, leaving the reader both educated and inspired. The watercolor-heavy art bends to suit each perfectly, knowing when to focus on the smallness of a paper handout and when to pull back to a sweeping moonlit beach, all while evoking a nostalgic seaside sensibility. There is one illustration that shows a baby turtle that didn’t make it – it’s subtle, but worth noting. The length was fine, and JJ loved the little turtles. A beautiful read to remind children that they are never too young to make an impact in their world. Baby Bookworm approved!

Malala’s Magic Pencil (Malala Yousafzai)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Malala’s Magic Pencil, written by Malala Yousafzai and illustrated by Kerascoët, the first picture book to tell the extraordinary story of Malala’s journey from schoolgirl to activist in her own words.

When Malala was little, she watched a television show that featured a boy with a magical pencil. Whatever he drew with it became real, and Malala wished for such a pencil of her own. She dreamed of drawing small conveniences for herself, and grand gifts for her family. As she grew older and learned of children who were too poor to attend school, as well as women who weren’t allowed to by tradition, Malala began to dream of creating bigger things: a peaceful world where all people were treated as equals. When danger and violence descended upon her home city, Malala found the courage inside herself to speak out against it. She discovered that, when placed in the hands of those who fight injustice, a pencil really does have the power to change the world – not with magic, but with words.

Wow. Being a fan of Malala and her work, I was expecting to enjoy this book, but it still managed to blow me away. There are some wonderful kidlit biographies of Malala – we’ve reviewed two of them – but hearing Malala’s story in her own voice gives it a passion and authenticity that is incomparable. It also manages to distill her story down for its youngest audience yet: the length is fine for smaller bookworms, and while the more violent aspects of Malala’s life are not glossed over, they are handled with sensitive subtlety. The art is a wonderful companion to the message, using shimmering gold ink to add the magic of the fantastical elements to illustrations grounded in reality. And the message, that of the power of words, courage, and education, is both timely and timeless. A gem of a book that encourages little ones to fight for their rights and the rights of others, and it’s enthusiastically Baby Bookworm approved.

Rosa (Nikki Giovanni)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Rosa, written by Nikki Giovanni and illustrated by Bryan Collier, the story of Rosa Parks’s famous act of defiance and the fire it lit in the Civil Rights movement.

Rosa Parks is a seamstress, an activist, and a well-respected woman in her town of Montgomery, Alabama. One December afternoon, she is riding the bus home, seated in the section of the bus designated for use by either black or white people. Suddenly, the bus driver demands that she stand up, and quiet, mild-mannered Rosa does something that no one expects: she refuses. Reminiscing of all the work and protesting that she and others have done to bring equality to all Americans, Rosa decides that she will not give up her seat on the bus, and is arrested. When word of this gets out, a women’s political action group immediately sets to work raising support for Rosa, and eventually they and several other groups organize protests, a boycott, and marches to protest the unfair laws that separate white and “colored” people in public places. With the movement gaining both steam and the support of their fellow Americans, the buses are soon desegregated by a Supreme Court ruling… and it all began with one woman’s simple act of defiance.

This was a great retelling of a seminal moment and figure in the Civil Rights movement, featuring a brisk yet powerful story and gorgeous art. The story has some great messages about courage and the right to equality and the illustrations are powerful and evocative. The length is fine, and JJ enjoyed it. There a few small issues: there’s a strange moment that seems to imply that men have a right to more space on public transit than women, which I didn’t love. But overall, this is still a story about how one very ordinary woman had the power to inspire others to fight for what’s right, and we liked it. Baby Bookworm approved!