We Are Power: How Nonviolent Activism Changes The World

Ah, parents in this realm in the year 2020, let me lead you to the book you need in these dark days.

I jumped at the chance to get this actual Advance Reading Copy in my hands. The USPS was frighteningly slow though and I didn’t actually have it until a few weeks ago. So, good news, you can order it now. Bad news, well, there is no bad news.

The book begins by asking what we think of when we think of the big moments of the 20th century. He then points out that half of the events on that list are wars. And if you focus your history teaching on battles, you are communicating to the kids you teach that historical events revolve around conflicts. If you believe that, then you think that our History is mostly violent and that the only way to change things is to be “a politician or a general or someone willing to take someone else’s life.” What We Are Power does is challenge that entire notion. There is another way—more than one. I learned that there are 198 practices within nonviolent struggles. That should mean fewer wars, and yet here we are in 2020. Within the pages of this book, kids will read the stories of heroes. Real men and women who took a stand without violence exist in world history. That doesn’t mean that there wasn’t a substantial personal cost to these people, but they did not begin a war to get the change they wanted. 

This book covers Gandhi, Alice Paul, Martin Luther King Jr, Cesar Chavez, and Vaclav Havel, and Greta Thunberg and tells how they’ve all used nonviolent methods of protest. 

We’re studying American History this year, and even though this doesn’t exactly fit with that, I added it to our reading list. I have my kids give me an oral report on current events each week, and so we’ve talked a lot about the ongoing protests, and I think this book will help to further our understanding of protest to enact social change.

The back of the book includes an extensive note and bibliography section and photo credits for the many excellent historical images contained.

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