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Incarceration and redemption

Slater, Dashka  The 57 Bus High school     306 pp.     Farrar 2018 Boston Globe–Horn Book Nonfiction Honor Book. In 2013, on the 57 bus in Oakland, California, African American teen Richard, egged on by friends, set white, genderqueer teen Sasha’s gauzy skirt on fire. Sasha survived but sustained third-degree burns; Richard was arrested for a hate […]

The March March

In Jane Langton’s 1984 novel The Fragile Flag (sequel to the better-known The Fledgling) nine-year-old Georgie leads what eventually becomes a march of 16,000 children on Washington in the name of disarmament. It works, so take a hint, America. Kitty Flynn has compiled a directory of Horn Book recommended books on the subject of social activism and […]

Activism

Bass, Hester  Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama Gr. K–3      32 pp.     Candlewick Illustrated by E. B. Lewis. In this welcome story of nonviolent protests in the early 1960s, Jim Crow–era South, black residents of Huntsville, Alabama, organize Blue Jean Sunday — a boycott of shops that sell traditional expensive Easter outfits; […]

Social revolutionaries

Alko, Selina The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage Gr. K–3    32 pp.     Scholastic/Levine    2015 Richard Loving (white) and Mildred Jeter (black) fell in love and married, then were arrested for miscegenation. Their 1967 Supreme Court case legalized interracial marriage. Alko does a mostly admirable job of shaping the story (some terms […]

Review of Tommy: The Gun that Changed America

Tommy: The Gun that Changed America by Karen Blumenthal Middle School, High School     Roaring Brook     223 pp. 6/15     978-1-62672-084-8     $19.99     g In this biography of a gun and the times in which it lived, Blumenthal traces the Thompson submachine gun, a.k.a. the Tommy. After the Spanish-American War, an Army officer, John […]

Lives and times

The settings of these narrative nonfiction titles span decades and geography — from WWII Denmark to contemporary Malawi — but the issues they explore are incredibly timely. When heavy rains, then drought, devastated his country of Malawi and the corrupt government didn’t respond, young William Kamkwamba used his scientific ingenuity to help people in need. […]

Social issues

Behnke, Alison Marie  Up for Sale: Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery Middle school, high school     72 pp.     Twenty-First Century This slim volume takes on human trafficking all over the world, covering debt bondage, forced domestic servitude, the sex trade, organ and adoption trafficking, forced military service, and more. Although the text takes a thorough, businesslike […]