Ms. Ila’s Middle Grade Reading Club: Kids on the March by Michael G. Long

Are you aware that you can be a leader of change?

Author Michael G. Long shows you how by providing a timeline of important protests involving kids like you in his searing book, Kids on the March, which is in the category called "non-fiction", call number J323.1.

Protests involving youth didn't start with the 2020 protests for George Floyd!  You may be surprised to learn that kids have been involved with protests since the twentieth century.

Author Long splits his timeline into twentieth century and twenty-first century protests.  Starting with 1903's "The March of the Mill Children" to 2020's "The George Floyd Protests," you will see that kids like you can start needed change by formulating an idea, making a plan, and following through.

After reading his book, you will find a chapter called "Tips for Marching."  However, before you start here, it is best to research your topic.  The best way to learn about a topic with different viewpoints is to start by researching about the different viewpoints to be best informed.

Controversy: Learn All the Viewpoints First

When a topic is controversial, you might only hear one side and not know why the other side(s) believe what they do.  This is when it is good to look at one of the Library's databases: Opposing Viewpoints in Context.  You will need your library card and PIN for this database.  I like this database because you can search primary sources, which are always the best sources of information, as these sources are the most direct sources of information.

Here are other content types, other than primary sources: viewpoints, reference, biographies, statistics, images, videos, audio, magazines, news, academic journals, and websites.  Remember, academic journals include information that has been verified by experts!

You can search by keyword, or you can do one of my favorite kind of searches, which is to browse by popular issues.  In your searches you can get links and highlight your notes, too!

For example, let's look at all of the viewpoints of Black Lives Matter.

After you enter your library card information, you can search any topic.  Under Black Lives Matter, you will see a description, main ideas, expanded ideas, opposition, critical thinking questions, and citations.

On the menu on the right, you will see ways to explore more about the topic:  links to other articles, table of contents, and related words.

Issues like Black Lives Matter falls under a subject called civic engagement.  Did you know that the Library has a special section for kids and teens to learn how to become more engaged?

SJ Engage

Though this part of our website says it is for teens, you will have noticed that some of the kids in Kids on the March are elementary or middle school kids like you.

According to our website, the purpose of SJ Engage is:

"follow along with the virtual SJ Engage courses below to learn more about local community issues and resources."

If your interest in civic engagement has been piqued by Kids on the March, you can learn more about the topics in this book.  Though you can only get volunteer credit if you are 13 years old or more, you can still certainly learn about different topics through our SJ Engage!

Here is a list of topics that are covered:

Questions to Think About

  • Were you surprised that there were people who were opposed to some of the protesters' requests?
  • Was there anything that you learned about the past that surprised you?
  • Do you think that the issues that were protested in the twentieth century still exist today?
  • Is there any topic that you would like to research in Opposing Viewpoints in Context?
  • Though some of the protests did not have immediate change, do you think that the protesters were successful in the long run?
  • Is there anything that you feel you would like to help change?

Let's celebrate the end of Nowruz with a book written by a Persian American, Daniel Nayeri, Everything Sad is Untrue.  Watch for Ms. Ila's Middle Grade Reading Club on April 2, 2022, instead of the usual third Wednesday of the month!

If you have any comments or questions, please leave it in the comments section below!