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Make Your Mark, Make a Difference

A Kid's Guide to Standing Up for People, Animals, and the Planet

About The Book

Take the first steps into activism with this comprehensive middle grade guide that empowers readers to choose and become knowledgeable in a cause they are most passionate to reform, and to create meaningful change through learning what’s already been accomplished—and what can still be done.

Getting involved can be an overwhelming prospect, but this guide provides readers with tools to become informed and effective activists with an accessible approach offering hope and perspective.

From Black Lives Matter and light pollution to climate change and healthcare equity for all, the book leads readers through an overview of issues, an essential human rights background, and stories of how other young activists tackle local, national, and international problems. Readers will discover a multitude of ways to build change and learn that every contribution matters.


Chapter 1: Powerless or Powerful?: Thinking Like an Activist

“We’re not waiting five, ten, twenty years to take the action we want to see. We’re not the future of the world; we’re the present, right? We’re acting now. We’re not waiting any longer.”

Salvador Gómez-Colón, climate resilience activist, Puerto Rico

You have probably noticed that life is not fair. It can make you feel frustrated and angry—even helpless—when you come across something unjust. It might be a news story about illegal elephant hunting or families separated by war. It might be something you experience close to home, like seeing smog pollute the sky, a neighbor’s dog always chained to a post, or bullying at school. Near or far, you probably wish someone would do something. You might want to help make things better but just have no idea where to start. You might even think, What can I do? I’m just a kid.

Let’s see if you’ve got your facts straight.
  • Life is unfair.
  • Injustice exists in the world.
  • I’m just a kid.

But there is no such thing as “just a kid.” Young people from around the world are tackling problems to make the world a better place. You can too! The job begins with thinking like an activist.
An activist is a person who fights to stop or reduce a problem. Activists also work to make life easier for those who are suffering. They understand that the way to make a difference is to take a giant difficulty and break it into smaller ones. Look at it this way—you know war is a huge issue. Can you stop countries from fighting? Probably not. Could you help people who are suffering because of war? Absolutely! You might raise money to help feed people in a refugee camp. You could collect school supplies for children in a war zone. You could encourage others to join you.

Although you might not know the best way to do these things, you can find out. Activists ask questions and play with ideas to find the best ways to help. They know problem-solving often includes these steps: practice, fail, and try again. It’s annoying to fail, right? You don’t hear a lot of people yelling, “Yeehaw, it didn’t work!” Still, activists persist. What stops them from quitting? Knowing that what they do is important.

Right now, you are holding a tool in your hand. Use this book to discover the many steps you can take to be the kind of activist that makes the world a better place. Have you got what it takes? Find out with this Think Like an Activist quizard.



What’s a quizard, you ask? Is that even in the dictionary? Well, not yet, but maybe an activist could make that happen. For now, let’s pretend a quizard is a teeny test that can make you a wizard of wisdom on a topic.

  1. 1. An activist is a person who:
    1. (A) signs up for acting lessons
    2. (B) hopes for the best
    3. (C) takes action to solve problems
  2. 2. An activist takes a big issue and:
    1. (A) makes it bigger
    2. (B) hides under the bed
    3. (C) makes it smaller
  3. 3. An activist is:
    1. (A) a superhero with a gold cape who always knows what to do
    2. (B) a wise person with wrinkles and gray hair
    3. (C) a person who keeps trying
If you answered each question with C, congratulations! You’re already thinking like an activist.


Aakaash Anandan

Chennai is the very busy capital city of Tamil Nadu, a state in southeastern India. Cars, trucks, and buses crowd city streets. People on motorbikes and scooters, called two-wheelers, zip around other vehicles, searching for a clear path. Accidents are common, and traffic can make it hard for ambulances to reach accident victims quickly.

In 2015, five-year-old Aakaash was riding a two-wheeler with his parents. When he saw an accident occur, his mother had to explain that a young boy had hurt his head and died. She told him the child would have lived if he had been wearing a helmet.1

Aakaash could not forget what happened. He understood a simple decision could have saved the rider’s life. Aakaash decided to take action. When people visited his home, Aakaash talked to them about why helmets are so important. He asked his friends at school to tell their parents to wear helmets too. Aakaash even began to help the Chennai traffic police. At a busy intersection called the Indira Gandhi square, Aakaash waited until drivers stopped at a long light signal. When the traffic backed up and came to a stop, he handed motorists pamphlets. They included the message, “Uncle, please wear a helmet. It is for your safety.”2

Suppose you are a famous actor. (Maybe you are! Hello—can I have your autograph?) If that’s not you, simply picture yourself as a star working on a big-deal project. Let’s put you back in time to a film being created in 1930s California. You’re getting paid for your breathtaking talent, but because you’re a kid, your parents manage your money. You never even see it! When you turn eighteen—the age that makes you a legal adult—you ask for the cash. Uh-oh! Dear Ma and Pa spent every penny.

I’m not a mind-reader, but here is my best guess on what you’re thinking: They shouldn’t have been able to do that! I have the right to my own money!

You are correct. No matter how old you are, the money you earn should be saved for you. Fortunately, in 1938, actor Jackie Coogan took his mother and stepfather to court for spending his entire fortune. This led the California legislature to enact the Child Actors Bill, also known as the Coogan Law, which now ensures that child actors’ rights are protected.3 As a result, if you get a starring role in Hollywood today, your money will be safe thanks to labor laws that better protect the rights of child actors.4

The word rights refers to things you should be allowed to have, get, or do. You should have access to the basic things you need to survive, like clean water, nutritious food, and a safe place to live. You should be allowed to get an education and basic medical care and do and experience things like other kids, such as play, share your thoughts freely, and explore your world. You should not be treated differently because of your skin color, language, or clothes. It should not matter whether you are young or old, rich or poor, healthy or sick. Human rights are about how people treat one another. They are meant to make sure everyone has equal opportunities.

Across the globe, individuals and groups work to ensure all people can enjoy equal treatment. The United Nations (aka the UN), with 193 member countries, is the largest worldwide organization dedicated to promoting equal rights. The UN did something handy: it listed all the things people deserve to have to ensure they are treated equally. These “things” are called fundamental human rights.

Let’s break this down:
  • Fundamental? something basic and important
  • Human? hopefully what you see in a mirror
  • Rights? what each person deserves, in order to be treated fairly

The UN list, called the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (aka the UDHR), contains thirty articles that detail all human rights. Here’s a quick look at some of them:
  • All people are born free and equal.
  • Everyone deserves the same human rights, no matter their race, color, sex, language, religion, or political opinion.
  • No one should be placed in slavery.
  • No one should be forced to marry.
  • Everyone has the right to own property.
  • Laws should treat all people equally.
  • All children have the right to attend school.
  • Anyone charged with an offense should be considered innocent until proven guilty.
  • Everyone has the right to their own opinion, called freedom of thought.5

The UN encourages all countries to use the UDHR when they create new laws, and it’s been translated into more than five hundred languages!

The UN also wants to make life easier for children around the world and has made a list for kids under age eighteen called the Convention on the Rights of the Child. This document contains fifty-four articles on children’s rights. Here’s a quick look at some of them.

Children have the right to:
  • A name and nationality
  • Healthy food and clean water
  • A safe home
  • Protection from harm
  • Healthcare
  • Be able to play and rest
  • Go to school
  • Express opinions
  • Speak any language
  • Practice any religion6

Some of these rights may sound familiar, but others might surprise you. Isn’t it obvious everyone should have a name and nationality? Why would anyone stop you from speaking your own language? Doesn’t everyone know that the same laws should apply to everyone?

If you come from a place where laws exist to protect all citizens, these are logical questions. However, different countries and cultures around the world have their own traditions and ideas about how to live. For equality to exist, governments must support and enforce universal human rights.


Can you think of any situations that would prevent children from being able to play? Why do you think the UN included play as a children’s right?

When you see a Get Chatty box, it’s time to start a conversation. Your not-so-secret mission is to bring the topic points up with family or friends. You can do this at school or at the dinner table—really, anywhere you can settle in for a chat.

Have you ever seen something in your school, neighborhood, or community and blurted out, “That’s not okay!” Local injustices are problems that happen where you live. Suppose your school sets an unfair dress code. Imagine wanting to play on an all-boys or all-girls sports team but not being welcome because you are not the same sex. What if your local government gives builders permission to replace your favorite park with an office building? None of these things feel right.

Other difficulties exist across regions. A region could be different states or areas with less defined borders, such as “the mountains,” “the south,” or “the coast.” A hurricane that damages homes across several states is a regional concern. Poor internet access in rural areas is another. Regional issues may even involve more than one country. You see this when Mexican citizens risk their lives to enter the United States, hoping to build a better life. Instead, they may experience homelessness, separation from family members, or unemployment once they arrive.


Make a one-page brochure about an issue you care about.
  • Step 1—Write a paragraph that describes your concern and why it matters.
  • Step 2—List possible solutions. (Lists give people choices about how to help and make it more likely they’ll want to get involved.)
  • Step 3—Talk with an adult to figure out the safest, most effective way to share your brochure.

Many concerns are global—they exist across the planet. The COVID-19 virus is a threat that has traveled around the world. Climate change—long-term changes to weather and climate patterns—impact people no matter where they live. The Black Lives Matter movement, which fights racism and violence, has spread from the United States to many other countries. Plastics, which harm wildlife, are found in every ocean. Some concerns even extend skyward, such as broken satellites that litter outer space and debates over who has the rights to mine minerals on asteroids—small, rocky space objects that orbit the Sun. From land to sky, you will never have to look far to find a problem that needs fixing.
Countries are often put into categories based on their economies—how they make and spend money based on the goods and services they produce and sell. This is a fancy way of saying that a country’s economy describes whether it is rich or poor, or somewhere in between.

A country’s economy is about more than its money, though. A nation with a strong economy is better able to meet its citizens’ needs for goods and services. One with a weak economy will experience greater poverty, along with other social issues. You may hear rich countries referred to as first-world countries and poor countries called third-world countries. However, new terms are now used, which better describe a country’s status: developed economies, economies in transition, and developing economies. Not everyone agrees on the best way to classify a country. A country’s wealth is not the only factor. Life expectancy, education levels, the number of people living in poverty, and other criteria may be considered. China is the largest developing economy and the world’s second-largest economy, after the United States. However, other factors, such as its uneven distribution of wealth, lead to its classification as a developing economy.7

The world’s most advanced economies belong to an informal group called the G7: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union. The members represent democratic countries (where governments are elected by citizens) that share values. They meet annually to discuss and address matters that cross borders and affect the global economy, such as climate change, disease, peace, security, and tax evasion.









European Union




Bosnia and Herzegovina









North Macedonia



Republic of Moldova


New Zealand

Russian Federation







Syrian Arab Republic

United Kingdom



United States of America



Source: United Nations, 20228

A lot of different types of social concerns exist. In fact, there’s a great big mess of them. One way to organize them into groups is to look at how they affect people, animals, and the planet. Some are hard to separate, though. One matter is often connected to another. It’s like there is a great big string, tying bunches of them together. Take war, for example. It can make it hard to transport food to the populous or can even destroy the land and farms a country needs to produce its food supply. In this case, reducing hunger means we must also look at the subject of war.

Another drawback is that the solution to a problem can create a new problem. (You may need to read that twice!) To make this clear, think of insects crawling over a field of oats. Now picture a farmer freaking out. To protect the harvest, the farmer might use chemicals, called pesticides, to kill the creatures. The farmer gets a larger crop, which can help combat hunger in the world. Sounds good, right? But pesticides pollute land and water, and this harms wildlife. Pollution is not good for people either. Now the string is connecting pollution and wildlife, as well as people and hunger.

One of the reasons people face hunger is poverty—not having enough money to pay for the things they need to live. Poverty can make it hard to get things like clean water, housing, education, healthcare, and sanitation. Diseases thrive and spread when there’s no way to get rid of sewage and trash. People living in poverty may also face another issue—discrimination. This is when a person is not treated well due to a personal trait, like being poor. People are discriminated against for a great many reasons. It can happen due to skin color, race, age, culture, language, and nationality—the country of birth or citizenship. Unfair treatment may be based on sex—being assigned female or male at birth—or gender identity—whether a person feels female or male or nonbinary, which can mean a gender outside the binary classification of female/male. The relationships people form based on their identities can also trigger discrimination.

You can see that the string-connected issues are starting to tangle.

Animals face discrimination too! People often like certain species more than others because of how they look or behave. This means popular animals, like gorillas, get more support than ugly ones, like the endangered blobfish. Of course, all creatures must be treated fairly, even if they are not everyone’s idea of cute, beautiful, or wonderful.

A key problem for many wild critters is loss of habitat—places that contain everything an organism needs to survive. Forests, grasslands, deserts, wetlands, and other types of natural habitat ensure that a variety of plants and animals can exist. This variety, called biodiversity, helps ensure a balance between predators and prey. Biodiversity is an important part of a healthy habitat.

Another serious matter is the spread of invasive species—animals that enter a habitat where they are not usually found. Without natural predators to control their numbers, invasives bully out native organisms and make it hard for them to survive. Wildlife also faces threats from poaching. This illegal hunting, often tied to selling body parts, such as ivory or organs, can cause species to become endangered—at risk of dying out.

Every farm animal and pet out there deserves humane treatment—conditions which prevent suffering that could be avoided. All domestic species—those that depend on people to survive—should have the food, water, shelter, and attention they need to be comfortable and happy. Sports that involve animals, like horse racing, must ensure humane treatment. Unfortunately, not all critters get the care they need. Some domesticated species become feral—they escape the care of humans and go wild. Feral pigs destroy crops and pastures and can be aggressive toward people. Stray cats (and pet cats that are allowed outside) prey on wild birds and reduce their populations. In a nutshell, feral animals can take over territory, competing for food and habitat, and reducing biodiversity in the process.

The zigzagging string that connects so many issues ultimately leads to our environment. Climate change is the biggest environmental challenge facing planet Earth. We can already see how it impacts water levels through drought and flooding. Where seawater has become more acidic, we see its effects on ocean habitats. We can also see that logging and other deforestation reduces habitat and contributes to Earth’s rising temperature. This increase in temperature, called global warming, makes the climate problem grow.

The environment is also affected by overpopulation—too many people living in an area. As cities sprawl outward, regions lose important farmland. More people means more pollution. This leads to a wide variety of problems, including holes in the ozone—a layer of Earth’s atmosphere that protects us from the Sun’s ultraviolet radiation.

All of these matters make the world seem pretty messy. Just remember, it is not too messy to clean up!


Look for everyday ways to stand up for what is right. For example, suppose you notice someone in your class is facing discrimination. One way to help is by simply demonstrating fairness. You might choose that person to be your partner for a class project, join in a game at recess, or sit with you at lunch. You don’t have to make a big deal about it. Just be kind. Your effort will set an important example. It might inspire others to behave with kindness too.

Lots of people care about social issues. Around the world, kids and adults work to make a difference. Some tackle a cause on their own or with a few friends. Some get involved as a family. Others will rally a club, class, or entire school to work together. Many people volunteer or get jobs with charities or nonprofit organizations. Nonprofits operate a lot like businesses, but there is one big difference—their goal is to provide help, not make a profit.

Some activists work with philanthropic foundations—groups that tackle social concerns using money from donors, called philanthropists. Others work with nongovernmental organizations, called NGOs for short. These orgs are not part of any government.

Yes, this is a real word! An abbreviation for “organizations.”

National governments, however, are often big donors to other countries facing humanitarian issues—situations where people are suffering. Government donations, called foreign aid, help reduce poverty and improve people’s living conditions. Aid can also be used to teach other countries how to build their own wealth so they can meet their citizens’ needs without help.

Governments give billions of dollars’ worth of aid in the form of money, goods, and services. Goods, like food and emergency supplies, are common donations. Services might include training teachers or sending special soldiers, called peacekeepers, to provide aid during an emergency, like an earthquake or flood. Peacekeepers also help keep a region safe.

Although one country can help another and international laws do exist, no world government exists. No country or organization can enforce fundamental human rights everywhere on the planet. Instead, the United Nations helps guide relationships between countries. It also operates the United Nations Children’s Fund, known by the name UNICEF. This UN agency defends children’s rights in more than 190 countries and territories.

  • Search the internet for best charities, top charities, or reputable charities.
  • Type a charity’s name into a web browser along with words such as complaint, scam, or rating.
  • Explore websites that provide information on charities and their reputations, such as the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Watch, Charity Navigator, and the IRS Nonprofit Charities Database.

No matter where you live, you will find people and organizations working to improve our world. Seeing how others do it will help you find the best way to join in.

When you see this heading, expect to be wowed by the creative ways people are working to make a difference.
If you had to choose between walking for two hours or cycling for thirty minutes to visit a doctor, what would you pick? Bicycles make it easier for people to access opportunities like healthcare, education, and employment. Bikes cost less than cars. They don’t release toxic chemicals into the air, and they boost physical fitness. Recognizing their benefits, many charities work to put bike pedals under the feet of people who need them.


{We-Cycle-USA, Nonprofit, Arizona}

Robert Chacon began fixing bicycles and giving them to people living with disabilities. He wanted to help them become more independent. Today, We-Cycle-USA helps anyone in the area it serves who needs a bike. Sometimes they have to work for it, though. The Earn a Bike program, for ages sixteen and up, asks for eight hours of volunteering in exchange for a bike.

Robert chooses to repair bicycles, rather than buy new ones, to keep fixable bikes out of landfills. He also helps reduce waste by welcoming anyone to come in and use the fee-free shop to fix their own bikes.9


{Wish for Wheels, Nonprofit, Colorado}

Wish for Wheels’s mission is to bring a child’s dream of a new set of wheels to life, ultimately giving brand-new helmets and bikes—always a twenty-inch Huffy—to second-grade students in low-income communities. Its founder, Brad Appel, wants kids to feel freedom and independence. Wish for Wheels’s Kid2Kid program helps make that happen. It matches a second-grade class with an older class at a different school. Students meet and keep in touch as pen pals. The older students help their new friends by writing letters to businesses, asking them to donate money for bikes and help build them. Businesses, and other groups, also work directly with this nonprofit to fund, assemble, and donate bikes.10


Picture yourself living in a place where the only way to get around is to walk. Imagine having to carry all the things you need, every time. How far would you go?


{Polar Bike Project, Grassroots Approach, Nunavut, Canada}

The Polar Bike Project collects gently used bikes from other parts of Canada and gives them to children who live in remote arctic towns. Alison and Tim Harper founded the project after moving to the fly-in community of Kugluktuk and seeing that few families could afford bikes. Volunteers work with the Canadian Coast Guard, as well as an airline, to transport donated bicycles. They make sure the bikes are safe to ride, raise money for repairs, and donate the tools communities need to keep the bikes in good shape. After bikes are delivered, volunteers set up riding programs to encourage families to ride together and enjoy the fun of bike riding.11


World Bicycle Relief

If you have ever ridden a bicycle, you know how great it feels to have the freedom to pedal where you want to go. For some, a bike is good fun. For others, a bike is about survival.

World Bicycle Relief (WBR) is an international nonprofit organization that uses bicycles to help people escape poverty. It designed a bicycle that is so tough, riders can pedal across rough ground or bumpy roads even while carrying a heavy load. Nurses use the bikes to visit patients at their homes. Farmers use the bikes to reach customers. Children use the bikes to get to school. These rugged bikes also help keep girls and women safe. Walking can take so long that some don’t get home until after sunset. With bikes, girls and women can travel during daylight hours instead of walking in the dark, through dangerous out-of-the-way areas. WBR has provided bikes in developing countries including Colombia, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. Using these bicycles also allows more time for education as well as more choices when it comes to earning money and getting healthcare. In Zambia, WBR hires people in the communities it serves to assemble, repair, and distribute the bikes. By creating jobs and hiring locals, WBR also helps reduce poverty.12


What’s good about donating new bikes? Can you also think of reasons for giving used bikes? Aside from getting a bike, how might volunteering in exchange for a free bike help someone?


Design a poster that promotes cycling safety or a bike-recycling program. Post it on community bulletin boards or ask an adult to share it on social media.

Even if you want to help, you might wonder if you have any skills to offer. It is useful to remember that everyone, including you, is good at something. You might be an ace at dreaming up ideas. You might have a talent for keeping track of details. You might excel at signing up volunteers.

If you are interested in activism, you are probably enthusiastic. You care about your world and want to make it better. You might also be self-motivated. That means no one has to talk you into fighting for the issues you care about. You are ready and willing to get started. Figuring out what to do will take some critical thinking skills, which means considering a matter from every angle instead of diving in with your first idea. When it comes to dreaming up plenty of ideas, it helps to have creative skills. The idea of “being creative” might make you think about arts and crafts, building models, or other pastimes. However, there are many ways to be creative, and each one is important because creativity helps with problem-solving.

If you would like to be more creative, try doing something in a different way than you usually would. For example, you might eat cereal out of a mug instead of a bowl, using a fork instead of a spoon. By escaping a routine, you remind yourself that there is more than one way to do things. And, when the milk runs through your fork and down your chin, you will be able to practice other skills—patience, along with acceptance when things don’t quite go as planned. You’ve heard about not crying over spilled milk, right?

Do you think you could talk other people into trying this creative experiment? If you do, you will be practicing public speaking skills and leadership. If your family does not want to take part in this cereal investigation, you might have to work on problem-solving. How can you get them to see this as a useful exercise? Can you use your communication skills to negotiate and find a way to make everyone happy about doing the activity? Perhaps you could get them to agree to use a mug if they do not have to use a fork.

It will be easier to find a solution that makes everyone satisfied if you have empathy—the ability to understand other people’s feelings. Perhaps your parents do not want to drip milk onto their work clothes. Using empathy can help you solve the worry. Why not suggest playing the creativity game on a weekend? You will have to be organized to make this happen. Think of the best way to remember the change of plans. Should you write it on a calendar? Put a sticky note on the fridge? Make a note in your journal? As an activist, you will want to find ways to keep track of your plans. You will also want to have fun. You are more likely to finish what you start when you’re having a good time. One of the fun things about activism is that you get the chance to try new things and practice new skills. It is also fun to be creative and see your efforts lead to results. So, have fun!


Craving more details? Sit down with an adult and satisfy your curiosity by digging deeper into researching the following topics on the internet. Find child-friendly websites more easily by adding “kids” to your search terms.

  • Child Actor’s Bill USA
  • World Bicycle Relief
  • Wish for Wheels
  • We-Cycle-USA
  • The Polar Bike Project

About The Author

Photograph by Rob Hislop Photography

Joan Marie Galat is an internationally award-winning author of more than twenty-five books, including The Story of Malala Yousafzai: A Biography Book for New ReadersDark Matters: Nature’s Reaction to Light Pollution, and Too Much Trash: How Litter Is Hurting Animals. She is known for presenting complex information to young readers in approachable and engaging ways. A professional speechwriter, former radio host, and frequent presenter, Joan has traveled across Canada and from Australia to South Korea to deliver literacy-building presentations based on her books. She lives near Edmonton, in Canada. Learn more at

Product Details

  • Publisher: Aladdin/Beyond Words (March 14, 2024)
  • Length: 352 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781582708447
  • Ages: 10 - 99

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Raves and Reviews

Activists can be people of all ages who make changes in big and small ways. Whether raising money to put signs on the road warning drivers of frogs crossing, decreasing one’s home thermostat temperature and encouraging others to do the same, or leading a march protesting injustice or change, every effort can help a cause. The author shares with young readers what it means to be an activist and ways they can help in their home, school, and community. The earlier chapters cover overall aspects, while each additional chapter provides an in-depth depth look at issues such as animal conservation, the environment, space exploration, peace, equality, and poverty. Notably, Galat advises readers to ensure they are helping legitimate organizations when donating money and supplies. Readers will be met with a plethora of facts and guidance on activism, as well as stories of real-world activists. The volume of information can make this an overwhelming read for those who don’t already have the passion to be a leader in making a difference. Mini quizzes break up the reading and “get chatty” boxes feature questions to spark discussions between readers and people in their lives. Quotes from known activists at the beginning of each chapter are a refreshing and delightful addition. VERDICT While a valuable resource, this may be most useful where budding activists abound or where adults will use it to learn alongside the target audience.

School Library Journal (2/1/24)

This is one of those subversive titles that attempts to capture the minds of impressionable young people and turn them into lifelong activists. All necessary ingredients are provided: cheerful exhortations to get involved, upbeat assurances that everyone can contribute towards a better future, step-by-step directions on how to become effective advocates, and introductions to overarching issues (the environment, animal rights, human rights, outer space). There are profiles of young activists and introductions to kid-accessible grassroots movements, organizations, and nonprofits. Case studies that will resonate with tweens act as blueprints for action and document successes; an entire chapter is devoted to showing how different kinds of art can bring about change. Pages are filled with line drawings and graphics, lists, quizzes, prompts, and multiple reoccurring inserts (“Be the Change!” “One Thing You Can Do Now,”
“Spread the Word”). Other helpful features include embedded vocabulary definitions and detailed chapter notes. This inspiring manual teems with realistic and creative suggestions that will appeal to all kinds of potential activists and hopefully encourage our next generation of changemakers.

Booklist (02/15/2024)

"A hands-on, practical, wide-ranging, and information-packed handbook for budding activists."

Kirkus Reviews (December 1, 2023)

“Encourage kids to be the change! With profiles of young people that demonstrate hope and progress on some of today’s most crucial issues, Make Your Mark, Make a Difference is a fantastic tool for kids who want to change the world. And the perfect book for librarians, teachers, and parents looking to inspire them.”

Michelle McCann, author Enough is Enough and Reading Together

“Being the change we want to see in the world isn’t always easy. For parents and children alike, it can be challenging to start a conversation on how we can tackle the barriers to a better world. Joan Marie Galat’s book is an excellent guide for young readers to get curious and find inspiration as our next generation of difference makers. Make your Mark, Make a Difference offers a step-by-step toolkit for anyone hoping to develop the skills to create positive change within their communities! Together we truly can make a difference!”

Rick Hansen, Founder Rick Hansen Foundation

“Informative, upbeat, empowering—Joan Marie Galat has created an antidote to despair in this guide to creating a kinder planet. Readers, teachers, thinkers, and community-builders will use this book as a starting point to a life of joyful action for positive change. Beautifully designed with well-researched information and terrific examples of youth activism, Make Your Mark, Make a Difference should be a staple in classrooms and will be a life-changing gift to kids who care. Great book!”

Deborah Ellis, peace activist and author of the Breadwinner series

“Two of our world's most desperate needs right now are hope and possibility. Luckily for us, Joan Galat's new book, Make Your Mark, Make a Difference provides readers with both in spades! I'll surely be reading it with my own four sons, and encouraging all my students and colleagues to share this inspiring book with others!”

Luke Reynolds, PhD, professor of education at Endicott College, former public middle school teacher, author, and dad

"In a world like this with so many issues where it can often feel like you can’t make a dent, we need more youth changemakers than ever. Books like this provide the necessary inspiration for youth to take that first or next step in their journey to make a difference! I can honestly say I wish I had this starting my activism when I was 9.”

Hannah Alper, activist, blogger, and author of Momentus: Small Acts, Big Change

“With a wide variety of potential causes to care about, loads of stories of others who’ve made a difference, and plenty of good advice along the way, Make Your Mark, Make a Difference is a wonderful way to introduce young readers to the idea that they can be changemakers—right now.”

Laurie Ann Thompson, author of Be a Changemaker and Emmanuel’s Dream

“The number of things done right in Make Your Mark, Make a Difference: A Kid’s Guide To Standing Up For People, Animals, And The Planet is impressive.... Although the subtitle identifies it as “A Kid’s Guide”, it is as much or more a guide for adults working to support and facilitate emerging activists of all ages….This book will empower readers to choose a passion, develop the skills to become effective change agents, and understand that change takes time and perseverance.” 5 Star Review

– Suzanne Pierson, CM: Canadian Review of Materials (March 15, 2024)

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