Rise Up!

RISE UP! encourages young people to engage in peaceful protest and stand up for freedom. Photographs of protest posters from the last one hundred years celebrate the ongoing fight for gender equality, civil rights, LGBT rights, refugee and immigrant rights, peace, and the environment. Includes a chapter on youth protest. Developed in collaboration with Amnesty International.

My Year In The Middle

It is 1970 in Red Grove, Alabama, and at Lu Olivera’s school the white kids and black kids sit on different sides of the classroom. Six-grader Lu just wants to get along with everyone, but growing racial tensions will not let Lu stay neutral about the racial divide in school. Her old friends have been changing lately–acting boy crazy and making snide remarks about Lu’s newfound talent for running track. Lu’s secret hope for a new friend is fellow runner Belinda Gresham, but blacks and whites don’t mix. Will Lu find the gumption to stand up for what’s right? And find friends who will stand with her?

Soaring Earth

In this follow-up to her award-winning memoir Enchanted Air, Margarita Engle details her teenage years in Los Angeles against the turbulent backdrop of the Vietnam War. In vulnerable verse, she addresses the notions of peace, civil rights, freedom of expression, and environmental protection that are once again under threat. Despite these circumstances, young Margarita was able to find solace and empowerment through her education.

This book has been included in WOW’s Language and Learning: Children’s and Young Adult Fiction Booklist. For our current list, visit our Booklist page under Resources in the green navigation bar.

The Unwanted

Starting in 2011, refugees flood out of war-torn Syria in Exodus-like proportions. The surprising flood of victims overwhelms neighboring countries, and chaos follows. Resentment in host nations heightens as disruption and the cost of aid grows. By 2017, many want to turn their backs on the victims. The refugees are the unwanted. Don Brown depicts moments of both heartbreaking horror and hope in the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis. Shining a light on the stories of the survivors, The Unwanted is a testament to the courage and resilience of the refugees and a call to action for all those who read.

I Am Gandhi

As a young man in India, Gandhi saw firsthand how people were treated unfairly. Refusing to accept injustice, he came up with a brilliant way to fight back through quiet, peaceful protest. He took his methods with him from South Africa back to India, where he led a nonviolent revolution that freed his country from British rule. Through his calm, steady heroism, Gandhi changed everything for India and inspired civil rights movements all over the world, proving that the smallest of us can be the most powerful.

Trouble The Water

In the segregated south of Kentucky in 1953, twelve-year-olds Callie, who is black, and Wendell, who is white, are brought together by an old dog that is clearly seeking something or someone, but they not only face prejudice, they find trouble at a haunted cabin in the woods.

See the review at WOW Review, Volume 8, Issue 4

Strike!

In 1965, as the grapes in California’s Coachella Valley were ready to harvest, migrant Filipino American workers—who picked and readied the crop for shipping—negotiated a wage of $1.40 per hour, the same wage growers had agreed to pay guest workers from Mexico. But when the Filipino grape pickers moved north to Delano, in the Central Valley, and again asked for $1.40 an hour, the growers refused. The ensuing conflict set off one of the longest and most successful strikes in American history.

Separate Is Never Equal

“Years before the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling Brown v. Board of Education, Sylvia Mendez, an eight-year-old girl of Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage, played an instrumental role in Mendez v. Westminster, the landmark desegregation case of 1946 in California”–

Cesar Chavez

Who was César Chávez? Here, an essay and photographs restore this man to his place in American history.The real César Chávez got lost in the hoopla. Many think he was a Mexican boxer. Young people think he’s that guy on the stamp or that statue in the park. No wonder it’s difficult, especially for our young people, to understand his human complexities and the struggles to which he gave his life.Esteemed Latin American scholar and writer Ilan Stavans, supported by more than forty photographs from archival collections at the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation, restores this man’s humanity so that readers can understand his struggles as a labor organizer and civil rights activist for farm workers. The book discusses his growing up and his family; his comadre Dolores Huerta, who stood with him from the beginning; his relationship with Dr. King and other activists in the broader struggles for civil rights for all people of color; and his insistence on being an activist for the rights of farm workers when so much media attention was given to the civil rights activists in the cities.Ilan Stavans is a nationally respected Jewish Latino writer and scholar. His story “Morirse está en hebreo” was made into the award-winning movie My Mexican Shivah, produced by John Sayles. His books include An Organizer’s Tale (Penguin Classics, 2008), Dictionary Days (Graywolf Press), The Disappearance (TriQuarterly), and Resurrecting Hebrew (Random House). Stavans has received numerous awards, among them a Guggenheim Fellowship, the National Jewish Book Award, the Latino Book Award, and Chile’s Presidential Medal. He is a professor in Latin American culture at Amherst College.

The Making Of A Civil Rights Leader (Hispanic Civil Rights)

Born in 1944, José Angel Gutiérrez grew up in a time when Mexicans and Mexican Americans in Texas and the Southwest attended separate schools and avoided public facilities and restaurants that were designated “Whites Only.” Despite the limits of segregation and rural culture in Texas, the passion to learn and to educate others, as well as to undo injustice, burned in his belly from an early age. Gutiérrez offers portraits of his early influences, from his father’s own pursuit of knowledge and political involvement, to his Mexican pre-school teacher’s dedication to bilingual-bicultural education which did not exist in public schools at that time, and to his mother’s courage and persistence, taking up migrant field work to provide for her family after the death of young Gutiérrez’s father. In this intensely narrated memoir, Gutiérrez details his rise from being beaten down by racist political and agricultural interests in South Texas to his leadership role in the Chicano civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Complemented by photos from his personal archives, Gutiérrez recalls his struggle for education, his early baptism in grass-roots political organizing, and his success in creating one of history’s most successful third party movements, La Raza Unida Party. Along the way, Gutiérrez earned college and law degrees, as well as a Ph. D. in Political Science. He was elected or appointed to school boards, commissions, judgeships and party chairmanships, all with the single-minded purpose of extending equality to Mexican Americans and other minorities in the United States. Through his tireless efforts, he crossed paths with African American and Native American civil rights leaders, Mexican presidents, and other international figures.