No Voice Too Small: 14 Young Americans Making History
Lindsay H. Metcalf and Keila V. Dawson, Editors
Jeanette Bradley, Editor/Illustrator
Charlesbridge, Nonfiction, Sep. 22, 2020
Suitable for ages: 6 – 11
Themes: Youth activism, Making a difference, Bullying, Clean Water, Climate Change, Gun Violence, Poetry
“You’re never too young or too small to change the world.” – Mari Copeny
This all-star anthology covers fourteen youth activists calling for change and fighting for justice across the United States. These change-makers represent a wide range of life experiences and causes, including racial justice, clean water, LGBTQ+ rights, mental health, and more, Beautifully illustrated poems by #ownvoices authors, plus secondary text, spotlight the efforts and achievements of such luminaries as Marley Dias, Jazz Jennings, and Mari Copeny, “Make Some Noise” tips will inspire readers to take concrete action for change, Back matter includes more information on the poetic forms used in the book.
Why I like this book:
No Voice Too Small will inspire and empower young readers, parents and teachers. This is my favorite kind of book to share with readers because there is an urgency among young people who see the injustice around them, are concerned that adults aren’t doing enough, and want to take action to improve their communities, country and world. They are brave and working for the rights of children in a peaceful manner.
Readers will hear from Nza-Ari Khepra, 16, who loses a friend to gun violence in Chicago and launches Project Orange Tree, which grows into the National Gun Violence Awareness Day celebrated every June. Meet Ziad Ahmed,14, who is treated unfairly in high school because he’s Muslim, and creates an online platform where students can share their stories and stop hate. Levi Draheim, 8, fears the loss of his Florida home to rising seas and joins 21 kids who sue the US government for failing to act on climate change. Jasilyn Charger, 19, protests the construction of a pipeline that threatens to leak oil into the Missouri River that provide water for Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and many other people living downstream.
The book is beautifully designed. The #own voices authors and editors, Lindsay H. Metcalf and Keila V. Dawson, capture each child’s captivating story in an attractive double-page spread. The left side of every spread features a soulful poem with warm and appealing illustrations of each child by Jeanette Bradley. The text about the young person’s contribution is featured on the right, along with additional artwork by Bradley. Read their stories and you will be inspired.
Resources: The book is a resource for students to use in the classroom. At the end of the book there is a section about each of the 14 poets who participated and a page of the poetry form used. This book will spark many lively discussions and encourage young people to identify a problem and think about what they may do alone or together to create change and improve their community, country and world. What will you do?
Lindsay H. Metcalf is the author of Farmers Unite! Planting a Protest for Fair Prices. She has also been a reporter, editor, and columnist for the Kansas City Star and other news outlets.
Keila V. Dawson has been a community organizer and an early childhood special education teacher. She is the author of The King Cake Baby.
Jeanette Bradley has been an urban planner, an apprentice pastry chef, and the artist-in-residence for a traveling art museum on a train. She is the author and illustrator of Love, Mama.
*Review copy provided by the editors in exchange for a review.