I have a really great book to share with you today. Thank you to Algonquin for sending me a copy of Kids on the March.
Kids on the March by Michael Long
From the March on Washington to March for Our Lives to Black Lives Matter, the powerful stories of kid-led protest in America.
Kids have always been activists. They have even launched movements. Long before they could vote, kids have spoken up, walked out, gone on strike, and marched for racial justice, climate protection, gun control, world peace, and more.
Kids on the March tells the stories of these protests, from the March of the Mill Children, who walked out of factories in 1903 for a shorter work week, to 1951’s Strike for a Better School, which helped build the case for Brown v. Board of Education, to the twenty-first century’s most iconic movements, including March for Our Lives, the Climate Strike, and the recent Black Lives Matter protests reshaping our nation.
Powerfully told and inspiring, Kids on the March shows how standing up, speaking out, and marching for what you believe in can advance the causes of justice, and that no one is too small or too young to make a difference.
This book is broken up into two parts. Part one is the twentieth century and part two is the twenty first century. The first story is from 1903 and it ends in 2020 with the George Floyd protests. The stories include some pretty amazing photographs. This book is powerful and contains so much information, including tips on how to March. I hope teachers will share this book with students.
Long is the author or editor of more than twenty books on civil rights, LGBTQ rights, protest movements, religion, and politics. “When working on an adult book about protest movements, I kept coming across photographs of children and young people who had participated in these protests,” says Long about his inspiration for the book. “The photos made me wonder about the kids: Who were they? What were their lives like? What was so important to them that they felt compelled to protest? . . . I resolved to write a book focused only on those brave, bold kids whose contributions to US history have been ignored. . . . KIDS ON THE MARCH tells stories about these young people not only to educate young readers, but also to inspire them to stand up, straighten their backs, and shout what young people have been shouting for decades—‘Let’s march!’”
“Readers will be inspired by the advocacy, leadership, and determination of the young change agents,” reads an early review from Kirkus Reviews. “The stories are accompanied by photos and primary source documents, breathing life into the subjects and showing a clear connecting thread between young people of different generations. … Readers will lose themselves in this work and emerge energized.”
KIDS ON THE MARCH zeroes in on these courageous children to share the history of peaceful protest and to inspire and motivate the next generation of marchers. Among others, Long features the following young changemakers:
- Fifteen-year-old Barbara Johns, who in 1953 organized a school strike protesting the poor conditions of her all-Black high school in Farmville, Virginia, paving the way for Brown v. the Board of Education and beginning the process of school desegregation.
- Thirteen-year-old Mary Beth Tinker and her older brother John, who protested the Vietnam War in 1965 by wearing black armbands to school. When the school punished them for expressing their “controversial” beliefs, they stood their ground, leading to Tinker v. Des Moines, the Supreme Court case that now guarantees free speech in public schools.
- Thirteen-year-old Anna Lee Rain Yellowhammer, who in 2016 petitioned to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline that threatened to pollute the drinking water of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota. The battle to permanently stop this pipeline continues, but due to Anna and her fellow protestors, it has been put on hold until a full environmental assessment is completed.
- Eighteen-year-old Emma González and her classmates, who demanded an end to gun violence after a tragic shooting at their high school in Parkland, Florida in 2018. While their fight for gun legislation continues to this day, the Parkland students raised global awareness of this issue, sparking 750 rallies in every state and every continent except Antarctica.
- Sixteen-year-old Shayna Avery and her friends, who called upon their community in Berkeley, California, to join the “Stand with Black Youth March” in 2020, after George Floyd was murdered by a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Due to the efforts of Avery and activists like her, the George Floyd protests spread across the country and the globe, leading some police departments to ban the use of choke holds, and many companies to change brands that perpetuate harmful stereotypes.