March 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Fighting for a Cause: From the Past to the Present | JLG’s Booktalks to Go Teen

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Is it ever okay to break the law? What if you think it’s wrong? Whether it’s a civil rights or environmental issue, people―including teens―have protested throughout American history. From marches to sit-downs from political campaigns to fundraisers, teens can learn from past demonstrations in order to make an impact on their world today. The following selections by the editors at Junior Library Guild will inform, inspire, and guide today’s change makers by opening their eyes and spurring them to action.

FLEISCHMAN, Paul. Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines. 208p. Candlewick.  2014. ISBN 9780763671020. JLG Level: NH : Nonfiction High (Grades 9 Up).

Eyes Wide Open“Notice. Gather information. Reflect. Refine. Act.” Fleischman’s goal is to give teens a foundation for action through examination of resources and the backstory. Science, money, power, and politics impact our environmental story. With a new perspective on our changing world, young adults are better equipped to make a difference.

Full of calls to action, the eye-opening volume suggests websites to explore, books to read, and videos to watch. Almost written as an environmental textbook, Fleischman guides teens to learn more about their world. Eyes Wide Open Updates posts resources and news. Quickly gathering a community following, the author has been interviewed by journals and environmental groups such as School Library Journal, the Climate Group, and EcoBayou. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Share the teacher’s guide created by Candlewick with your social studies teachers.

FREEDMAN, Russell. Because They Marched: The People’s Campaign for Voting Rights That Changed America. 96p. Holiday House. 2014. ISBN NM : Nonfiction Middle (Gr 5–8).

Because they marchedIn 1965, the civil rights movement had a long way to go in its effort to attain voting rights. Since most African Americans didn’t have cars, it was decided that on Sunday, March 7, they would march. Wary of death threats, Martin Luther King, Jr. would not join them. Yet, they heard his voice as they walked in rain, prayed by the side of the road, and refused to give up. Even “Bloody Sunday” and “Turnaround Tuesday” could not stop the demonstrators from completing their mission. It’s a story everyone must hear.

The compelling narrative chronicled by Freedman contains a wealth of documented resources. From quotes to photographs and other primary source material, students can easily follow the trail. In a Holiday House interview, the author speaks about the organization of the march from Selma, Alabama, to the state capitol, Montgomery as a grassroots civil rights movement. An educator’s guide, complete with Common Core State Standards (CCSS) connections, is available on the publisher’s website. The JLG Booktalks to Go Fall 2014 LiveBinder includes links to the National Parks Service, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and Stanford University’s article on the Selma marchers, providing readers with time lines, photographs, and additional background information.

MARRIN, Albert. A Volcano Beneath the Snow: John Brown’s War Against Slavery. 256p. Knopf. 2014. ISBN 9780307981530. JLG Level: NH : Nonfiction High (Grades 9 Up).

Volcano Beneath the SnowJohn Brown believed slavery was the “sin of all sins.” He also thought that anyone who owned slaves deserved death and damnation. His plan to free slaves, punishing anyone who got in his way, left a controversial legacy. In the fight for freedom, was he a martyr or a terrorist? Readers have much to consider as they reflect on Brown and his impact on modern figures like Timothy McVeigh and Paul Hill.

Readers can learn more about the award-winning author on his website. Useful internet sites suggested by Marrin, such as the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture can be found in JLG’s Booktalks to Go Fall 2014 LiveBinder.

MITCHELL, Don. The Freedom Summer Murders. 224p. Scholastic. 2014. ISBN 9780545477253. JLG Level: HH : History – High School (Grades 10 Up).

Freedom Summer MurdersDespite known dangers, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner registered black Mississippi voters in the summer of 1964. They were murdered for it. Fast forward to 2005. Mastermind Edgar Ray Killen is finally convicted of manslaughter for the deaths of the men. Mitchell recounts the brutal story of one of the most significant events in the civil rights movement.

Extensive back matter has been organized in a smore flyer. The Horn Book has compiled a list of related books. Its editor-in-chief, Roger Sutton, also interviewed Mitchell, asking him five questions. A new Idea Book, focusing on the 1964 Civil Rights Act is available. Sign up for your free online edition.

THOMPSON, Laurie Ann. Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters. 240p. Simon Pulse. 2014. ISBN 9781582704647. JLG Level: PBH : Paperbacks High School (Grades 10 Up).

Be a ChangemakerCraig Kielburger was 12 years old when he read about the murder of Iqbal Masih, a former child slave. After doing some research, Craig was stunned to learn that millions of children are enslaved around the world. He decided to do something about it. His organization, Free the Children, has contributed to the construction of more than 650 schools and classrooms, $16 million in medical supplies, and daily education for 55,000 children. Kielburger is one of the many stories Thompson tells as she coaches teens in the process of being a “changemaker.” From money matters to mentoring and marketing to “covering your assets,” she conversationally guides teens from inception to fruition in the business of starting something that matters.

Thompson’s handbook, like Fleischman’s Eyes, encourages kids to chart their own course by identifying what concerns them. Check out the video interview on her website. She also includes a literacy report on CCSS connections. Follow her on Twitter.  As the author’s resource list is quite lengthy, you’ll find a comprehensive smore flyer in the LiveBinder, as well as on individual tabs. Make sure teens read her guest blog where she introduces even more grassroots causes and businesses.

Additional Resources

The resources for the above titles have been organized in a new JLG Booktalks to Go: Fall 2014 LiveBinder. Titles are sorted by interest level, PreK-3, 3-6, 5-8, and YA. Check out our award-winning Spring 2014 LiveBinder which organizes resources for spring releases. All websites are posted within each LiveBinder, along with the accompanying booktalk. As I write more columns, more books and their resources are added. Everything you need to teach or share brand new, hot-off-the-press books is now all in one place. Booktalks and resources are also included on JLG’s BTG Pinterest board.

For library resources, tips, and ideas, please visit JLG’s Shelf Life Blog.

Junior Library Guild (JLG) is a collection development service that helps school and public libraries acquire the best new children’s and young adult books. Season after season, year after year, Junior Library Guild book selections go on to win awards, collect starred or favorable reviews, and earn industry honors. Visit us at (NOTE: JLG is owned by Media Source, Inc., SLJ’s parent company.)

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Deborah B. Ford About Deborah B. Ford

Deborah is the Director of Library Outreach for Junior Library Guild. She is an award-winning teacher librarian with almost 30 years of experience as a classroom teacher and librarian in K–12 schools.

Empowering Teens: Fostering the Next Generation of Advocates
Teens want to make a difference and become advocates for the things they care about. Librarians working with young people are in a unique position to help them make an impact on their communities and schools. Ignite your thinking and fuel these efforts at your library through this Library Journal online course—April 24 & May 8.