Notes on the Event Schedule Change

This event has been postponed until the fall. Please reach out to Olivia Warren at owarren@illinois.edu for further information. 

book club

Topic: Youth Voices in Social Justice 

As a member of this book club, you will get an opportunity to examine global issues through popular fiction and non-fiction titles, discuss what you learned from your reading, and create dialogue around the social issues that not only impact our country but the entire world.

This club is open to all teens 14-18 who love to read and want to learn more about the world they live in.

Book Recommendations:

***Youth to Power: Your Voice and How to Use It by Jamie Margolin
Jamie Margolin has been organizing and protesting since she was fourteen years old. Now the co-leader of a global climate action movement, she knows better than most how powerful a young person can be. You don’t have to be able to vote or hold positions of power to change the world.

In Youth to Power, Jamie presents the essential guide to changemaking, with advice on writing and pitching op-eds, organizing successful events and peaceful protests, time management as a student activist, utilizing social and traditional media to spread a message, and sustaining long-term action. She features interviews with prominent young activists including Tokata Iron Eyes of the #NoDAPL movement and Nupol Kiazolu of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, who give guidance on handling backlash, keeping your mental health a priority, and how to avoid getting taken advantage of.

Jamie walks readers through every step of what effective, healthy, intersectional activism looks like. Young people have a lot to say, and Youth to Power will give you the tools to raise your voice.

***The other Side: Stories of Central American Teen Refugees who Dream of Crossing the Border by Juan Pablo Villalobos
Every year, thousands of migrant children and teens cross the U.S.-Mexico border. The journey is treacherous and sometimes deadly, but worth the risk for migrants who are escaping gang violence and poverty in their home countries. And for those refugees who do succeed? They face an immigration process that is as winding and multi-tiered as the journey that brought them here.

In this book, award-winning Mexican author Juan Pablo Villalobos strings together the diverse experiences of eleven real migrant teenagers, offering readers a beginning road map to issues facing the region. These timely accounts of courage, sacrifice, and survival—including two fourteen-year-old girls forming a tenuous friendship as they wait in a frigid holding cell, a boy in Chicago beginning to craft his future while piecing together his past in El Salvador, and cousins learning to lift each other up through angry waters—offer a rare and invaluable window into the U.S.–Central American refugee crisis.

In turns optimistic and heartbreaking, The Other Side balances the boundless hope at the center of immigration with the weight of its risks and repercussions. Here is a necessary read for young people on both sides of the issue.

***Butterfly Yellow by Thanhha Lai
In the final days of the Vietnam War, Hang takes her little brother, Linh, to the airport, determined to find a way to safety in America. In a split second, Linh is ripped from her arms—and Hang is left behind in the war-torn country.

Six years later, Hang has made the brutal journey from Vietnam and is now in Texas as a refugee. She doesn’t know how she will find the little brother who was taken from her until she meets LeeRoy, a city boy with big rodeo dreams, who decides to help her.

Hang is overjoyed when she reunites with Linh. But when she realizes he doesn’t remember her, their family, or Vietnam, her heart is crushed. Though the distance between them feels greater than ever, Hang has come so far that she will do anything to bridge the gap.

***Trash by Andy Mulligan
In an unnamed Third World country, in the not-so-distant future, three “dumpsite boys” make a living picking through the mountains of garbage on the outskirts of a large city.

One unlucky-lucky day, Raphael finds something very special and very mysterious. So mysterious that he decides to keep it, even when the city police offer a handsome reward for its return. That decision brings with it terrifying consequences, and soon the dumpsite boys must use all of their cunning and courage to stay ahead of their pursuers. It’s up to Raphael, Gardo, and Rat—boys who have no education, no parents, no homes, and no money—to solve the mystery and right a terrible wrong.

Andy Mulligan has written a powerful story about unthinkable poverty—and the kind of hope and determination that can transcend it. With twists and turns, unrelenting action, and deep, raw emotion, Trash is a heart-pounding, breath-holding novel.

If none of these books speak to you, please choose a book on your own that fits the topic of Youth Voice in Social Justice, and it could be a fiction or non-fiction title.

Please email or call Olivia Warren with questions.

If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate, please contact the event coordinator through email or call (217)877-6042. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time to meet your needs, when possible.

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