The Children’s Book Review | August 9, 2018
The Children’s Book Review: Which five words best describe Girls Resist?
KaeLyn Rich: Power. Activism. Feminism. Intersectionality. Fun!
Can you share one highlight from Girls Resist?
I love that Girls Resist combines the theoretical and inspirational parts of activism with the tactical and practical info needed to really effectively organize for change. There’s a whole chapter about intersectionality and allyship. There’s also a whole chapter about creating a campaign plan from scratch. It’s a how-to book that takes girls really seriously, that’s about empowering, not instructing, and about sharing tools anyone can use to do activism effectively.
What has been the best reaction from a reader, so far?
The first and best reaction I got was actually before the book was even in print. I got a message on Instagram from a teen who was given an advance read copy of Girls Resist from her school librarian. She was being discouraged from organizing anti-gun-violence protests at her school. The school administration wanted to control the protests by making rules about how students could participate. She wrote me and said, “I’m starting to stand up and defend stricter gun laws because Sante Fe hit so close to home here. I needed something like [Girls Resist] to help me and I am so happy you wrote this for people like me.” It made me so happy to hear from her and to hear a little about her work. It reminded me why this book is critical right now, to be part of the toolbox for youth activists who are already fired up and making change.
Why do you think actionable non-fiction books are an important part of a child’s home library?
We spend a lot of time telling kids how to act or what to think. A huge part of raising kids, as a parent myself, is to teach them to learn facts, respect authority and listen to adults. What we don’t do enough of is give kids the tools to analyze their own lives, to share their own stories, to question oppressive structures, to organize and lead their own movements, and to teach us what the next revolution looks like. That kind of critical thinking and empowered community engagement is critical to raising smart, compassionate, caring kids that grow into really cool adults.
For your writing energy: sugar or salt, tea or coffee?
Coffee and salt (not together).
Writing tools: computer, pen and paper, or all of the above?
Just a computer—ideally a laptop so I can work from wherever I am. I’m not a pen and paper person. I even prefer to write my poetry on a computer.
What’s on your nightstand? Any books?
A framed black-and-white picture of my Ama (grandma), chapstick, phone charger, and a stack of books currently including The Summer We Got Free by Mia McKenzie and Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera.
Can you tell us something that even your most loyal fans may not know about you?
My childhood career aspirations involved joining Greenpeace and cutting whale nets, inspired by the movie Free Willy.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
I wrote this book for girls, but it’s also for anyone who wants to make change, who’s feeling fired up and needs to fill up their activist toolbox with ways to jump into action. My favorite part of this work is hearing from other activists of all ages and sharing stories and tips and amplifying each other’s work. Let’s resist together!
Written by KaeLyn Rich
Illustrated by Giulia Sagramola
Publisher’s Synopsis: An activism handbook for teen girls ready to fight for change, social justice, and equality.
Take on the world and make some serious change with this handbook to everything activism, social justice, and resistance. With in-depth guides to everything from picking a cause, planning a protest, and raising money to running dispute-free meetings, promoting awareness on social media, and being an effective ally, Girls Resist! will show you how to go from “mad as heck about the way the world is going” to “effective leader who gets stuff done.” Veteran feminist organizer KaeLyn Rich shares tons of expertise that’ll inspire you as much as it teaches you the ropes. Plus, quotes and tips from fellow teen girl activists show how they stood up for change in their communities. Grab this handbook to crush inequality, start a revolution, and resist!
Ages 12+ | Publisher: Quirk Books | August 7, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1683690597
About the Author
KaeLyn Rich is a staff writer for the popular queer women’s website Autostraddle.com. A queer feminist, direct action organizer, nonprofit leader, and sexuality educator, she is the Assistant Advocacy Director of the ACLU of New York, the former community affairs coordinator for Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York. She lives with her spouse, their new baby, and a house full of furkids.
This speed interview with KaeLyn Rich, author of Girls Resist!: A Guide to Activism, Leadership, and Starting a Revolution, was conducted by Bianca Schulze. For similar books and articles, follow along with our content tagged with Books With Activism, Equality, Girl Empowerment,Social Justice, and Speed Interview.