Children’s Books for the Resistance

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Jaime Herndon


Jaime Herndon finished her MFA in nonfiction writing at Columbia, after leaving a life of psychosocial oncology and maternal-child health work. She is a writer, editor, and book reviewer who drinks way too much coffee. She is a new-ish mom, so the coffee comes in extra handy. Twitter: @IvyTarHeelJaime

I’ve always loved socially conscious children’s books (I bought my niece My First Book of Girl Power, and I was always suggesting The Paper Bag Princess when I worked at a children’s bookstore), but ever since having my son, I’m finding it even more important to branch out with children’s books. Our country is in a unique place of change, of resistance, of social awareness, of civic engagement. We bring our children to neighborhood groups, to protests, and to marches. In addition to reading good ol’ standbys like Goodnight Moon (my son’s favorite), now’s a good time to also add something new. Here are some books that you’ll enjoy reading with your kids that remind us why we #resist.

Star Wars Epic Yarns: A New Hope, by Jack Wang and Holman Wang. A fellow Rioter mentioned these, and I am loving them. My son is just a baby, but these board books are fun for me, too. Each page has a word, like “princess,” or “space,” and a picture of little felt Star Wars characters. It’s quite adorable, and a fun way to tell the story of Luke, Leia, and Han.

A is for Activist, by Innosanto Nagara. A fun – and important – twist on the standard ABC book, this book brings together many ideas about social activism and values. It’s a great way to spark discussion with toddlers and small children about little ways they can make a difference.

I Dissent:Ruth Bader Ginsberg Makes Her Mark, by Debbie Levy. I mean…it’s RBG. Do I really have to say more?

Rad Women Worldwide: Artists and Athletes, Pirates and Punks, and Other Revolutionaries Who Shaped History, by Kate Schatz and Miriam Klein Stahl. These are the same authors who wrote Rad American Women, A to Z, but this book looks at women around the world, from different time periods. This book is best for middle schoolers instead of young children.

My Name is Bilal, by Asma Mobin-Uddin. With the current administration, children are hearing all sorts of things about different groups of people, and it can be tricky to bring up the subject of religion in a way that kids can understand. In this book, Bilal is a child who is afraid he has to hide being Muslim, after his sister’s head scarf is pulled off.

Whoever You Are, by Mem Fox. A basic book for younger kids, this shows that though people may have some differences based on their culture or where they live, we all have basic things in common.

There are so many books for children on these subjects – what are your favorites?