17 Books (and a Poem) for the Youngest Marchers for Our Lives A recommended book list to spark conversations with children about empathy, kindness, and youth activism from mother, author, and educator Megan Dowd Lambert
I’m working to organize the children’s book community in western MA to form a #KidLitMarchesforKids contingent in the March for our Lives march in Northampton, MA. I created this book list to share with people who will attend the Youngest Marchers for Our Lives events in concert with the main march there. And, I originally wrote the poem below in honor of a friend and her family when they travelled to Washington, DC for the 2017 Women’s March. It was inspired by their discussions about why we gather in public demonstrations, and how marches and vigils differ from each other while sharing the common ground of solidarity.
- Why Am I Me? By Paige Britt, illustrated by Selina Alko and Sean Qualls
- I Can Help by David Hyde Costello
- We March by Shane Evans
- Malala: Activist for Girls’ Education by Raphaëlle Frier, illustrated by Aurélia Fronty
- Grandfather Gandhi by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus, illustrated by Evan Turk
- A Sweet Small of Roses by Angela Johnson, illustrated by Eric Velasquez
- The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist by Cynthia Levinson, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
- Come with Me by Holly M. McGhee, illustrated by Pascal Lemaître
- The Three Questions: Based on a Story by Leo Tolstoy, by Jon. J. Muth
- A Is for Activist by Innosanto Nagaro
- The Peace Book by Todd Parr
- The Little Book of Little Activists Penguin Books for Young Readers, illustrated with photos of child activists, introduction by Bob Bland, afterword by Lynda Blackmon Lowery
- This Day in June by Gayle E. Pittman, illustrated by Kristyna Litten
- I Have the Right to Be a Child by Alain Serres, illustrated by Aurélia Fronty
- You Hold Me Up by Monique Gray Smith, illustrated by Danielle Daniel
- Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh
- Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis
Raise a First, Light a Candle, Hold Tight
By Megan Dowd Lambert
Sometimes we march to call for change.
Sometimes we march to celebrate.
We march in protest of what’s wrong.
We march for love to counter hate.
But other times a march won’t do,
no, other times we
Will Not Move:
We come together in a vigil,
still and strong, with candles bright.
We come together, heads bowed low,
our memories sharp, hearts open wide.
But, no matter if we march ahead,
or stand in vigil side-by-side,
when times demand we join as one
we hold our purpose in our minds:
We claim space.
We say no.
We make change.
We forge hope.
And in our assembly we remake the promise
(though we may face walls and worse)
that we are stronger when we’re together,
listening, striving, doing the work.
So when in joy or righteous rage
we see each other showing up,
we draw strength and sustenance
from goodness, hope, and all the love.
March in the protest, child,
come to the vigil.
Raise a fist, light a candle, hold tight
to the people beside you,
to help make things whole,
to help make things right.