4 Fearless Women Who Became Champions of Change
NOTE: We received a copy of Kid Activists: True Tales of Childhood from Champions of Change for free from Quirk Books in exchange for a fair and honest review. We were under no obligation to give a positive review, no money was exchanged, and all opinions are our own.
You may recognize changemakers like Alexander Hamilton, Martin Luther King Jr., and Hellen Keller from your history lessons at school. But before they were activists, these iconic rule-breakers started out as kids like you.
Like Kid Presidents, Kid Scientists, and the other books in Quirk Books series that came before it, Kid Activists takes readers back to the beginning, providing a glimpse into the young lives of some of the most well-respected activists throughout history. Kid Activists is filled with short, informative stories about sixteen different champions of change and how their interests and experiences as kids led them to a lifetime of social justice. Their stories stand as a reminder that you’re never too young to get involved, use your voice, or incite change.
Moving, relatable, and totally true childhood biographies of Martin Luther King Jr., Susan B. Anthony, Helen Keller, Malala Yousafzai, and 12 other inspiring activists.
Every activist started out as a kid—and in some cases they were kids when their activism began! But even the world’s greatest champions of civil liberties had relatable interests and problems–often in the middle of extraordinary circumstances. Martin Luther King, Jr. loved fashion, and argued with his dad about whether or not dancing was a sin. Harvey Milk had a passion for listening to opera music in different languages. Dolores Huerta was once wrongly accused of plagiarizing in school. Kid Activists tells these childhood stories and more through kid-friendly texts and full-color cartoon illustrations on nearly every page. The diverse and inclusive group encompasses Susan B. Anthony, James Baldwin, Ruby Bridges, Frederick Douglass, Alexander Hamilton, Dolores Huerta, Helen Keller, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Iqbal Masih, Harvey Milk, Janet Mock, Rosa Parks, Autumn Peltier, Emma Watson, and Malala Yousafzai.
Kid Activists: True Tales of Childhood from Champions of Change
AUTHOR: Robin Stevenson
ILLUSTRATOR: Allison Steinfeld
PUBLISHER: Quirk Books
DATE: September 24, 2019
We adore this series, so we teamed up with Quirk Books to give our readers a peek between the pages! We selected four brilliant women whose fearlessness and tenacity helped create positive change that rippled throughout history. We’re shining a light on Autumn Peltier, Emma Watson, Janet Mock, and Dolores Huerta. Keep on reading to be inspired and amazed!
Kid Activists: Get to Know These 4 Inspiring Changemakers
Autumn Peltier – Water Protector:
If the name Autumn Peltier sounds familiar to you, it’s because her activism has only just begun. She has spoken to world leaders at the United Nations and inspired young people around the world to get involved in the fight for environmental rights. She is also about to celebrate her 15th birthday.
Autumn got involved with activism at eight years old when she learned that many of the Indigenous communities in Canada have spent decades without access to safe, clean drinking water. According to Kid Activists, “Her activism is deeply connected to her Anishinaabe culture. She believes that water is sacred and that it deserves the same rights that people have.”
At 10 years old, Autumn took part in a cultural camp that led to an invite to attend the Children’s Climate Conference in Sweden. At this conference, kids and teens from all over the world came together to write a list of demands to world leaders, which was presented at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. From there, Autumn was invited to the Assembly of First Nations Annual General Assembly gala, where she gave a speech about the importance of protecting the water.
Since then, Autumn has been in the spotlight for her work. She has stood alongside the Sioux Tribe at Standing Rock, encouraged Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau to get involved in the fight for clean water, and was nominated for an International Children’s Peace Prize.
Before long, Autumn was invited to speak to world leaders at the United Nations as part of the launch for the UN’s International Decade for Action on Water for Sustainable Development where she gave one of her most impassioned speeches to date.
Autumn’s story shows us that you’re never too young to take interest or make an impactful difference in the world. In just a few short years, the work she has done has empowered many young people to get informed and involved against the injustices the world is facing today.
Emma Watson – From Hogwarts to the United Nations:
You likely recognize Emma Watson as Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter films, but did you know that Emma has spent most of her life fighting for women’s rights? Emma uses her privilege and platform as a way to create social change.
Emma always valued education and had a curiosity for learning, eventually making her way from being educated on the Harry Potter film sets to classrooms at Oxford University. When she was nineteen, Emma was living in the US, continuing her schooling and pursuing her acting career. She became interested in fair trade and was concerned about poverty and the rights of women around the world, which led her to take a trip that would change the course of her life.
She joined People Tree, a fair-trade clothing company, and traveled to Bangladesh to visited its partner company which produced clothing for well known multinational companies. Compared to those working for People Tree, Emma discovered that these workers didn’t have many rights, and were underpaid, overworked, and living in poverty. This opened her eyes and strengthened her commitment to fair trade, and ethical, sustainable fashion.
That was just Emma’s first step into the world of activism. Since then, she has become an ambassador for the Campaign for Female Education, fighting for inequality, helping girls in several African countries gain access to proper education.
In 2014, she was appointed a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, where she has given many empowering speeches about women’s rights. She started the “He for She” campaign, calling for men and boys to join the fight against gender inequality.
To this day, Emma is still out there fighting the good fight, doing everything she can to build awareness for the inequalities and injustices women face every day.
Janet Mock – Speaking Her Truth:
When Janet Mock was born, everyone assumed she was a boy. She was given a boys name, wrapped up in a blue blanket, and had the type of body that most people associate with being a boy. Janet grew up doing what was expected of her, lining up with the boys at school and wearing the clothes she was told to wear, but she knew early on that this didn’t feel quite right.
In kindergarten, Janet made a friend named Marilyn. Janet says that Marilyn was the first person she felt she had things in common with. They both had brown skin, they both lived with their grandmothers, and they both loved to play outside, running around together until their feet were covered with dirt. One day, while playing truth or dare, Marilyn dared Janet to wear a dress that was hanging on the clothesline. When Janet put on the dress, she felt lovely and free, but not for long, eventually being told to take it off, and that boys weren’t meant to wear dresses.
Janet had many more moments like this throughout her life, both at home and out in the world. With every day and every experience Janet faced, she became more and more certain that she was a girl, but had never heard of the word transgender. For a while, Janet even tried to become the perfect son, hiding her true self to fit the image of the boy that everyone else knew her to be.
It wasn’t until Janet met Wendy, a confident transgender girl at her school, that things began to fall into place. With Wendy’s friendship and support, Janet was able to find the confidence to express herself in the way that she always knew felt right for her. She began wearing makeup to school, dressing the way she wanted to dress. Janet felt more like herself than ever before, eventually transitioning as a teenager. Her mother and siblings were supportive and accepting, which made the difficult moments of her journey much easier to bear.
Of course, not everyone is as accepting as her family and friends were, which is why Janet was left with a passionate commitment to supporting and fighting for young transgender people, especially women of color.
By sharing her own story and living her truth, Janet has been able to shine a light on transgender rights, eventually becoming a powerful, award-winning activist. In addition to her activism, Janet Mock is also a well-respected director, writer, and producer.
Dolores Huerta – Si, Se Puede:
You’ve probably heard the phrase “Yes We Can!”, used by President Barack Obama during his presidential campaign. But what you might not know is the phrase originated as “Si Se Puede”, and dates back to the struggles of working-class Latinos in the 1970s, first used by Dolores Huerta. Her activism began when she was a teen, but now in her late eighties, she still continues to fight.
Dolores was raised in a diverse and close-knit community where she worked with her siblings in her mother’s hotel. According to Kid Activists, she lived in an area with “Chinese restaurants, Mexican pool halls, Filipino bakeries”. She said, “We were all rather poor, but it was an integrated community.”
Growing up, her mother would often take in migrant workers, offering them affordable rates, and sometimes even letting them stay for free. Because of this, Dolores heard the stories of how they harvested crops by hand, working long, tedious hours and receiving very little pay from the wealthy farm owners. She learned that even their children had to help out, giving up their educations to help put food on the table.
When Dolores began high school, she began to face challenges of her own. Unlike her extremely diverse elementary school, both racial and economic discrimination were a big problem in her high school. The injustices Dolores witnessed weren’t just at school, though. There was often police brutality against Mexican and black people where she grew up.
Dolores cared deeply about her community, and was motivated to create change, and joined a group that helped the families of the farmworkers. After high school, Dolores went on to be a teacher at an elementary school where she taught the children of migrant workers. Inspired by her experiences with her students, she embarked on a path of social justice.
Inspired by her experiences with her students, she embarked on a path of social justice. She co-founded the National Farmworks Association and began advocating for the rights of workers, immigrants, and women. Her work has earned her much recognition, including the Presidental Medal of Freedom.
Interested in learning more about these four inspiring women and twelve other activists detailed in Kid Activists? You’re in luck – the book hit shelves this week! Snag yourself a copy of this engaging and empowering read by clicking here.
If you want to learn more about other amazing women throughout history, check out our spotlight on Quirk Books other great title, Kid Scientists!