Protesting for Change
by Cody Elizabeth Handy

"We have to continue to work peacefully like our ancestors. They did not stop, and we will not stop either until justice is won."

This children’s book tells the story of a young black girl named Morgan who is trying to make sense of race-based violence in the news and the subsequent Black Lives Matter protests she sees. Her teacher raises the question, “Who can tell us what happened last night?” in class, and Morgan’s classmates share their understanding of the reasons for the protests. The students talk about their feelings and opinions. Their teacher helps them work through the issues and gives a fair and balanced perspective on the protests. The students brainstorm ways they can help promote racial justice, and they bring the day’s discussion home to their families.

When Morgan talks about her day over dinner with her family, her older brother Antoine shares how his teacher turned their class discussion into a history lesson about the civil rights movement. The whole family examines the methods and goals of the civil rights protests and compares them to the Black Lives Matter protests of the current day. They emphasize what changes recent and historic protests have brought about in society and give the children practical steps for how to help going forward.

The book features clear, colorful illustrations on every page. The characters’ faces are realistic and expressive, allowing young readers to witness Morgan, Antoine, and their classmates process their feelings in relatable ways. The adults in the story are compassionate and helpful, giving the children room to come to conclusions on their own. Racial discrimination and violence are difficult topics to explain to children, but this book seeks to help them understand them on their level and to give them hope that they can create positive social change themselves.

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