To mark the release of her new book Troublemakers, author Catherine Barter offers her top ten books for children and young people that tackle the topic of politics.
Welcome to Nowhere by Elizabeth Laird
The conflict in Syria is one of biggest political issues of our time. Elizabeth Laird’s novel is the story of an ordinary Syrian family whose lives are thrown into chaos by the outbreak of war; it’s a serious, sympathetic introduction to this complex conflict and especially its effects on children.
Sweet Pizza by G.R. Gemin
This is a light, warm and compassionate story about Italian and Polish families living in a small town in Wales. Sweet Pizza is a much-needed antidote to the angry debates over Brexit still dominating the headlines: a story about shared histories, the meaning of community, and the things that bind us together.
The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon
The Bone Sparrow takes place in an Australian detention centre, and is told through the voice of a boy who is born there after his family flees persecution in Burma. It’s another powerful story of global political upheaval, viewed through the eyes of the children affected by it.
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Mala Yousafzai
Who could be more inspiring than Malala? This memoir by the young activist is a powerful, enlightening story and an important read at any age.
For older readers…
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Angie Thomas’s YA novel has been a huge hit and rightly so. It’s a fierce, moving story about friendship, family, racism and community; it doesn’t shy away from complex issues and ends with a powerful call for a new generation of activists to rise up.
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
This graphic memoir, now a classic, might seem to be rooted in the specific politics of its time and place (Iran, before and after the Islamic Revolution), but it’s also a riveting and often witty account of how a young woman’s identity develops against a backdrop of political crisis.
Here We Stand: Women Changing the World, edited by Helena Earnshaw and Angharad Penrhyn Jones
Here We Stand is a collection of interviews and essays with women campaigners and activists. Perfect for dipping in and out of, the range of topics covered makes this book a useful overview some of the big social justice struggles of the last ten years. It’s an inspiring introduction to politics for young women—and men—who might want to change the world.
Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates
Every young woman should arm themselves with this indispensable guide to society’s sexist double standards, and how to fight back against them.
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
For something more pocket-sized than Everyday Sexism, try We Should All Be Feminists, the printed version of Adichie’s influential Ted Talk. It’s a bold rallying cry for all young people starting to find their political identities.
What the **** is Normal?! by Francesca Martinez
Francesca Martinez’s memoir is very funny, but it’s also a fantastic introduction to the politics of being ‘normal’, as well as disability rights. I wish I’d read this when I was at school.