Saturday, June 22, 2019

Review - Our Future: How Kids Are Taking Action

Our Future: How Kids Are Taking Action
by Janet Wilson
Date: 2019
Publisher: Second Story Press
Reading level: MG
Book type: picture book non-fiction
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

This book profiles ten young activists who are taking on the key issues of our time. These young people from across the globe are raising awareness about what matters to them most. An eleven-year-old boy in Texas kneels with his football teammates during the national anthem to protest racial injustice. A thirteen-year-old girl from the Tla'amin First Nation in British Columbia speaks at the United Nations to raise awareness of water pollution. These activists don't let their youth stop them from being heard on issues ranging from racism and cyberbullying to gun violence and animal protection.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is a great picture book about activism for middle graders. (Yes, a picture book for middle graders. The recommended ages on the back are 7-12, and that sounds about right. It's very text-intensive, and younger readers will likely get bogged down before finishing.)

Ten (well, eleven; two are sisters) kids and teens are profiled in the book. Each spread talks about what their form of activism is, and is accompanied by a beautiful illustration. There are also smaller sidebars on each page that talk about kids who are doing related activism in their own communities. At the back of the book, there are even more mini-profiles. Photographs are included throughout.

While I really like the premise of this book and think it's important, reading it just made me sad. How have we gotten to the point where kids feel the need to step up and do something because adults have completely dropped the ball? Kids should be able to be kids. They shouldn't have to fight for clean water or against forced marriage or take a stand against gun violence. It makes me really sad that adults have done such a poor job of protecting our world and the people in it that kids feel that they have to pick up the slack.

And, call me jaded, but I can't help but wonder how many of these kids will still be as engaged once they become adults themselves. My generation wanted to save the planet, too. Then we grew up, bought gas-guzzling cars, filled our landfills with our babies' disposable diapers, ignored the environment as long as jobs were being created, and passed the problems on to the next generation. I really hope that this generation of kids is going to be the one to buck the trend.

Aside from a few little technical issues with the writing, this is a really strong non-fiction title that shows kids that there are people their own age who are making a difference. Hopefully, this book (and others like it) will have an impact and inspire more kids to be agents of change.

Thank you to NetGalley and Second Story Press for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 5/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall: 4 out of 5

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