Following is a list of selected resources that teachers and their students may find useful.
The Kid’s Guide to Social Action: How to Solve Social Problems You Choose--And Turn Creative Thinking Into Positive Action. The 208page paperback provides step-bystep instruction to help students ages 10 and older get involved in their communities. The book offers tips on speechmaking, letter writing, fund raising, and public relations, among other things. In addition, sample petitions and news releases are included for students to copy and use. Cost: $14.95. Contact: Free Spirit Publishing Inc., 400 First Ave. N., Suite 616, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1703; (800) 735-7323.
Changing Our World: A Handbook for Young Activists. This 236-page paperback, by Paul Fleisher, suggests specific ways students in grades 7-12 can help make positive social and personal changes. Issues range from self-esteem and leadership to gun control and health care. Some historical background on activism is also included. Cost: $31.95, plus 10 percent shipping and handling. Contact: Zephyr Press, P.O. Box 66006, Tucson, AZ 85728-6006; (602) 322-5090.
No Kidding Around: America’s Young Activists Are Changing Our World and You Can Too. Author Wendy Schaetzel Lesko tells a number of stories about how teenagers across the country have successfully taken a stand and fought against violence, inequality, drug abuse, and other social problems. The 280-page book describes some of the effective strategies the youngsters used and lists more than 1,000 resources to help kids, parents, and teachers launch their own political campaigns. Cost: $18.95. Contact: Information USA, P.O. Box E, Kensington, MD 20895-6303; (800) 955-POWER.
KIND News. This publication, the official newspaper of Kids In Nature’s Defense (KIND) Clubs, features stories about the environment and peer profiles. Published monthly from September to May, it also includes activities designed to teach kids what they can do to improve their environment. Cost: $25 for a one-year subscription. Contact: KIND News, P.O. Box 362, East Haddam, CT 064320326; (203) 434-8666.
25 Simple Things Kids Can Do To Save Energy. The EarthWorks Group and the Phillips Petroleum Co. collaborated on this 79-page book that offers kids ages 8-12 tips and activities to conserve energy; the publication encourages students to become “energy detectives, watt busters, and heat patrollers.’' Suggested activities include looking for places in school where energy is being wasted, starting an energy club, and learning to efficiently use appliances. For a free copy (one book per request while supplies last), write: 25 Simple Things, 16 Phillips Building, Bartlesville, OK 74004.
Rescue Mission: Planet Earth, A Children’s Edition of Agenda 21. Compiled by young writers from 21 different countries and published in cooperation with the United Nations and Peace Child International, this 96-page book is designed to help students understand the 500-page document produced at the 1992 Earth Summit in Brazil. Through the use of stories, poems, interviews, drawings, and photographs, these young people share their ideas and suggestions about the environment and the Earth’s future. Cost: $9.95. Contact: Kingfisher Books, 95 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016; (212) 686-1060.
Kids With Courage: True Stories About Young People Making A Difference. This 160-page book, by Barbara Lewis, tells the stories of a number of teenagers who are helping shape the future through heroic acts, crime fighting, and other forms of social action. An accompanying teachers’ guide includes questions for discussion and resources for more information. Cost: $10.95; $5.95 for the teachers’ guide. Contact: Free Spirit Publishing Inc., 400 First Ave. N., Suite 616, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1730; (800) 735-7323.
Dear World: How Children Around the World Feel About Our Environment. In this 152-page book, children from 36 different countries express their concerns, hopes, and fears about the Earth and the environment through letters and artwork. Cost: $15. Contact: Random House Inc., Dept 013-23, 400 Hahn Road, Westminster, MD 21157; (800) 733-3000.
A version of this article appeared in the April 01, 1994 edition of Teacher as Extra Credit: Social Action