Written by: Emily Easton
Illustrated by: Ziyue Chen
For ages: 4 years and up
Topics Covered: American History, Activism, Historical Figures, Courage, Segregation, Enslavement, Sports, Environmentalism.
This book opens with an Author’s Note talking about her inspiration to write the book. Emily’s young cousins had been in a school shooting a few weeks before the devastating event in Parkland, Florida. Her family was physically fine, and they were empowered to do more. One of them, Ryan (not the Parkland survivor Ryan, who wrote the Forward), helped to organize the March For Our Lives and their older brother took some time from college to help organize further events and demonstrations. Emily Easton decided to write a book that described the actions of 20 Americans and their protests to create ripples of change. In the back, there is also more historical information and dates related to each of the protestors.
The book itself is very easy to read, each page having a single line devoted to the protestor. They are fairly well-known historical figures like Samuel Adams and Susan B. Anthony that children will eventually learn about in school, but probably won’t learn about their activist side. I can describe the book as very entry-level, with the first half of it featuring well-known heavy hitters like Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and Ruby Bridges. Rachel Carson is mentioned, which I loved, I don’t think she gets enough attention. I was also pleased to see Gilbert Baker, creator of the first Pride flag, and Colin Kaepernick as well.
We personally would have left off Samuel Adams (dressing up like Mohawk people before throwing out crates of tea is not so much a protest in our eyes, and more like a scapegoating) but seeing as how children in the majority of public schools will be learning about these figures, they should learn about this activist history at the same time. However, I do like that this story can be an easy access point into learning whole histories about these American figures and how they fought back against injustice. Social movements and activism is an important aspect of American history, and students should feel empowered to stand up for marginalized populations and learn about how they can become involved in social justice causes that they care about. This is a valuable book, because it is a perfect entry point for someone just beginning their journey into the world of social justice and activism.
This book was sent to us by our friends at Random House Children’s Books, but all opinions are our own.
About the Author & the Illustrator:
Emily Easton was the Publishing Director of the Walker Books for Young Readers imprint at Bloomsbury Publishing, until the imprint closed. Now, she is the Vice President of Crown Books for Young Readers! Emily has diverse editorial taste, editing everything from board books to teen books, from fiction to nonfiction. She has published numerous bestsellers and award winners, including the Caldecott Honor Book Gone Wild by David McLimans, the YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Finalist Imprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans in World War II by Martin W. Sandler, the Pura Belpre Illustration Award-winner Grandma’s Gift by Eric Velasquez, and the New York Times bestselling “Perfect Chemistry” trilogy by Simone Elkeles.
From illustrator Ziyue Chen’s website: “Hi! My name is Ziyue, pronounced as Zzz yuair or you can call me Angeline. I’m a Singapore based Illustrator and graduate of Ringling College of Art and Design in US. I love drawing and visualizing stories through illustrations. I work on mostly Children’s Books, mural painting and print media from concept development to print.
My life goal has been to have an emotional connection with those who view my work. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, sketching, swimming and spending time with my loved ones. Mixed nuts, goji berries and avocado milkshake are my favourite snack. Yum.”