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Books to Read for International Youth Day

By Lucy Fisher

International Youth Day celebrated on August 12, 2017 is dedicated to celebrating young people’s contributions to conflict prevention and transformation as well as inclusion, social justice, and sustainable peace.  The University Libraries encourage you to join in the celebration and learn more about the accomplishments and perspectives from youth around the world.  Check out the following books available through Roesch Library or OhioLINK.

In an adult-dominated society, teenagers are often shut out of participation in politics. Author Hava Rachel Gordon offers a compelling account of young people's attempts to get involved in community politics, and documents the battles waged to form youth movements and create social change in schools and neighborhoods. We Fight to Win: Inequality and the Politics of Youth Activism is one of the first books to focus on adolescence and political action and deftly explore the ways that the politics of youth activism are structured by age inequality as well as race, class, and gender.

Through the use of a case study approach,  The Whole World is Texting: Youth Protest in the Information Age comments upon the ways in which youth protest has been influenced by the electronic and social media and evaluate the effectiveness of protest activities, many of which were framed in reaction to neo-liberalism and state authoritarianism.  The case studies focus upon protest activities in Bahrain, Turkey, Iran, Cambodia, South Africa, China, Russia, Chile, Spain, and the U.S., and together, they offer a comparative analysis of an important global phenomenon.

Oksana Shachko is FEMEN's creative backbone. As a teenager, her fascination with religious painting led her to consider entering a convent, but in the end she used her many talents to create FEMEN and devoted herself to a life of activism.  With I am FEMEN, director Alain Margot paints a portrait of the bewitching and many-faceted Oksana, while also revealing the stories of the brave young women around her who put their bodies on the front line in the fight for justice and equality.

At a time when many adults criticize young people as being self-absorbed and apolitical, Gettin' My Word Out: Voices of Urban Youth Activists demonstrates, through research conducted with inner-city youth activists, the inaccuracy of this judgment. Working through non-formal activist organizations, Leonisa Ardizzone examines how youth activists respond to injustice, counteract violence, practice social responsibility, and form collaborative networks of individuals and organizations.

At the Youth Environmental Summit, 300 environmentally-concerned high school students vote to restrict oil drilling in the Alaskan national wilderness. Five of them then raise the money to travel to Alaska "in search for the truth." Accompanied by videographer Jeff Barrie, they interview residents of large towns and small indigenous villages, governmental employees, and environmentalists and are introduced to the complexity of the issue in Arctic Quest: Our Search for Truth.

My So-Called Enemy presents the complexities of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict through a human lens, and the possibility and hope that come from listening to each other's stories. Through the coming-of-age narratives of Adi, Gal, Hanin, Inas, Rawan and Rezan, viewers see how creating relationships across all kinds of differences are first steps towards resolving conflict.  A film that celebrates diversity and inclusion, addresses questions of identity and negative stereotyping - and features young women as change agents.

- Lucy Fisher, Course Reserves Specialist; member, Libraries' diversity and inclusion committee

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