Last weekend I experienced one of my proudest moments as an American, and as a mother. I went to our city’s Women’s march and I took my daughters with me. My husband and I set the tone for our family about our purpose at the march, which was to uplift women all over the world and to let our voices be heard. For us, personally, it wasn’t about negativity but was a very positive experience that I will remember forever.
It was also a tremendous learning opportunity for my girls, and it has led to some great follow-up conversations about why protests and marches are used to help move a cause forward. I’ve actually been quite shocked (and yes, disappointed) to hear from many adults who didn’t agree with the march that they think marches never accomplish anything and are a waste of time.
All I keep thinking is, “Did you sleep through every history class you’ve ever taken?!” And it has reminded me that it’s not too early to start teaching my girls about important protests and marches throughout history. They were part of one this past weekend, but there have been many that came before it, to be sure!
If you are interested in teaching your kids more about important protests and marches of the past, I’ve compiled a list of books that you can get from Amazon or even try to borrow from your local library. I hope they are helpful and lead to some great conversations about the power of the people and how democracy works! (Affiliate links may be included at no cost to you)
Stonewall (this is the only book in the list intended for older kids, ages 12 and up…I really struggled to find children’s books about the gay rights movement, unfortunately. If you have a book suggestion I’m all ears!)
A is for Activist (a great overview of participating in democracy and standing up against injustice)
Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 (fantastic look at the rights of workers )
¡Si, Se Puede! / Yes, We Can!: Janitor Strike in L.A. (lean about the janitors’ strike of 2000)
Child of the Civil Rights Movement (I like that this takes on a child’s perspective of this history-changing time)
The Day the Crayons Quit (if you are looking for a non-historical introduction to the concept of protests, start here)
The Boston Tea Party (an important moment in the formation of The United States of America…a protest was key!)
Peaceful Protest: The Life of Nelson Mandela (terrific introduction to civil rights in South Africa and an important world leader)
Gandhi: A March to the Sea (learn about the movement on the other side of the world that inspired Martin Luther King, Jr.)
You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Suffragist!: A Protest Movement That’s Rougher Than You Expected (love that this books tells it like it is, and helps children understand just how hard it can be to stand up for what is right)
The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist (great example of how important a child’s voice can be and how children aren’t too young to get involved)
Daddy There’s a Noise Outside (a very modern-day look at current protests in American cities)
Drum Dream Girl (a great story from Cuba about challenging cultural norms and what girls can do!)
Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins (told from the perspective of an eight-year-old girl, a powerful story about another form of peaceful protest)
That’s Not Fair! / ¡No Es Justo!: Emma Tenayuca’s Struggle for Justice/La lucha de Emma Tenayuca por la justicia (a story about workers rights in Texas almost 100 years ago that was unfamiliar to me)
Aani and the Tree Huggers (based on a true story from the 1970s of women in a village who defended their forests from developers
We March (story about the historic March on Washington of 1963)
Lillian’s Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (a very important part of the voting rights story, and how people were prevented from voting even though they technically had the right)
Painting for Peace in Ferguson (highlights the power of public art and the power of a community rallying for peace)
Malala Yousafzai: Warrior with Words (the true story of a Pakistani girl who stood up to the Taliban and started a worldwide movement for access to education for girls)
Side by Side/Lado a Lado: The Story of Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez/La Historia de Dolores Huerta y Cesar Chavez A powerful true story of two leaders for workers rights in agriculture in America.
The Streets are Free (the true story of children in Venezuala who work together to create a space to play after politicians repeatedly fail to keep their promises)
Rightfully Ours: How Women Won the Vote, 21 Activities (For Kids series) (for older kids, a powerful look at several key leaders in the suffrage moment; I recommend pairing this with reading about the Voting Rights Act of 1965)
Joelito’s Big Decision: La Gran Decisión de Joelito (learn about a picket line through the eyes of a child with interests on both sides)
Rosa (a look at the woman who did a brave then and catapulted her community into action for equal treatment)
Friends this is not even close to an exhaustive list of books on the topic of social justice through protests and marches, but I hope it gives you a few new ideas. We are headed to the library this morning to find some of these titles. Feel free to take this page along with you and make some requests if there is a title that you really want to read but that your library doesn’t yet own!