Speak Up!: Speeches by Young People To Empower and Inspire

Quarto/White Lion. Feb. 2020. 176p. Tr $25. ISBN 9781781319505.
Gr 8 Up–This collection reminds young readers that anyone can make a difference while simultaneously advising adults to listen to the wisdom of youth. Each young speaker is determined to inspire others and change the world. A short biography of each individual provides context and then is followed by a speech that the person has given. The speeches cover a range of issues which include (but are not limited to) disability rights, the environment, entrepreneurship, women in science, and child marriage. The featured activists include Joan of Arc, Malala Yousafzai, Greta Thunberg, Millie Bobby Brown, and a slew of lesser-known young people from around the world. Additionally, each biography includes an illustration of the activist, beautifully drawn by Pinheiro. Svitak set out to publish a collection inspired by young people across the globe who are passionate about topics that impact every human being. In this goal, the author has succeeded. However, this book is simply that: a collection of words. These speeches, without the direct input and impassioned voices of these individuals, sometimes run a little flat. Hopefully, this book will encourage readers to look up the selected speeches and feel empowered by each speaker’s passion, wisdom, drive, and motivation.
VERDICT This book will please youth and adults looking for reminders that every voice, especially theirs, counts.

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