Pre-Release Review: Yes You Can! Your Guide to Becoming An Activist

September 28, 2010

Book cover for "Yes You Can!" by Jane Drake and Ann Love.Title: Yes You Can! Your Guide to Becoming An Activist

Authors: Jane Drake & Ann Love

Publication Year: 2010

Pages: 144

Genre: Non-Fiction, Young Adult

Source: Review copy from Tundra Books

From the cover:

Every time our society takes steps forward, segregation becomes illegal, child labor is exposed, and companies that poison our air are called to account. Behind those steps are people who identified problems, worked together, and created change. Lifelong environmental activists, Jane Drake and Ann Love present the nine steps to social change and much more. From fascinating accounts about the founding of organizations such as Amnesty International, Pollution Probe, and Greenpeace to the nuts and bolts of how to run an effective meeting or write a petition, to words of inspiration, Yes You Can! Your Guide to Changing the World is great reading and encouragement for every person who wants to make the world a better place.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this book, but the title sounded interesting and I thought that it might be a good read for me since I try to focus on social issues with my students. Now that I’ve read it, I can definitely see it being useful for me as well as for any teenagers who are interested in fighting against social injustice.

Each chapter of Yes You Can! tells a “story” about someone who challenges the status quo and works towards something they believe in, gives detailed instructions on how to acquire and perform a skill, and gives a summarized timeline for a specific worldwide issue. An example is the chapter focusing on segregation, which included both the Rosa Parks and the Little Rock Nine stories, instructions on “preparing to face the media”, and a timeline of the American civil rights movement.

One thing that I really liked about this book was the way it was written with an adolescent reader in mind: words and sentences were kept simple, short, and sweet, stories were punchy and interesting, and bigger ideas were put forth in chunks of smaller text, usually with lots of bullet points and numbered lists.

There was a distinctly North American slant to the book, mostly using examples from Canada and the United States, even though the timelines included worldwide events, so that is probably the audience that it would be most effective with. Yes You Can! would be a good read for any teenager looking to get into activism – formally or informally – and the parents, teachers, and others who work with them. It’s definitely conducive to being used piecemeal or as a whole, and is written in the clear and concise language that is needed to hold the attention of most teenagers.

Rating:

5 Comments

  • Iris September 29, 2010 at 4:48 am

    This made me smile, somehow. I never thought that it was possible to have a “guide” to becoming an acitivist. I would be interested in reading it just to see how they put that into words.

    • Carina September 30, 2010 at 11:55 pm

      I think I had the same reaction, which is why I wanted to read it originally. It definitely put things well for a teenage audience.

  • Amy September 29, 2010 at 9:51 am

    Sounds like a really interesting book Carina. I might also recommend The Art of the Possible by Amanda Sussman.

    • Carina September 30, 2010 at 11:54 pm

      That book looks great, too!

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