New Thematic Educator Guides: Teaching Civic Advocacy and Responsibility

By Kaitlyn Spotts | October 24 2022 | GeneralEducation & Professional LearningSocial Studies

Public policy experts have been warning for decades that political polarization is leading our nation away from its patriotic ideals and toward the very real dangers of autocracy and nationalism. Contributing factors include the fall of traditional newspaper readership and the rise of social media platforms, which have resulted in a distrust of politicians and a disinterest in government. Much of our country’s youth now live in what has become known as “civic deserts,” where there are few or no traditional opportunities for citizens to engage in respectful public discourse. If young adults are to be the safe-hold of our democracy, they must become engaged citizens who respect our nation’s history while also recognizing its inherent flaws.

The books in these thematic guides focus on civic advocacy and responsibility by addressing what roles both teachers and students play, along with strategies to shape reflective civic advocates who can recognize America’s complexities, balance divergent viewpoints, and seek necessary reform. Teachers can choose one or any combination of books to help students become informed and fully participating citizens who influence the social and political systems that shape their lives.

Download the free guides for elementary school, middle school, and high school.

Browse additional civics titles for elementary school, middle school, and high school.

This Is Our Constitution
What It Is and Why It Matters
From Gold Star father and beloved Democratic National Convention speaker Khizr Khan comes a book for young people about the Constitution--what it says and why it matters for everyone.
$8.99 US
Feb 05, 2019
224 Pages

Lifting as We Climb
Black Women's Battle for the Ballot Box
For African American women, the fight for the right to vote was only one battle. This Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book and National Book Award longlisted work tells the important, overlooked story of black women as a force in the suffrage movement—when fellow suffragists did not accept them as equal partners in the struggle.
$9.99 US
Jan 04, 2022
176 Pages
Viking Books for Young Readers

A Young People's History of the United States
Revised and Updated
The seminal American history book for middle grade and high school readers, now revised and updated for the centennial of Howard Zinn's birth. “A brilliant and moving history of the American people from the point of view of those who have been exploited … the book is an excellent antidote to establishment history.” – Library Journal
$23.95 US
Jan 03, 2023
544 Pages
Triangle Square

Freedom Summer For Young People
The Violent Season that Made Mississippi Burn and Made America a Democracy
A gripping account of the summer that changed America. An excellent, affordable secondary source with primary source documents (archival photos and documents from the time).
$22.95 US
Nov 10, 2020
448 Pages
Triangle Square

Free Speech
Speech is the life blood of democracy, but only if we understand its true meaning, and its role in sustaining our government.  Key texts from the U.S. Supreme Court, John Stuart Mill, Alexander Meiklejohn, Ida B. Wells and Charles Lawrence illuminate the immediate questions and pressing issues of free speech.A Penguin Classic
$15.00 US
Nov 09, 2021
208 Pages
Penguin Classics

Conditional Citizens
On Belonging in America
In this brilliantly argued and deeply personal work, Pulitzer Prize finalist Laila Lalami recounts her unlikely journey from Moroccan immigrant to U.S.citizen, using her own story as a starting point for an exploration of the rights, liberties, and protections that are traditionally associated with American citizenship.
$16.00 US
Oct 19, 2021
208 Pages

On Tyranny Graphic Edition
Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century
A graphic edition of historian Timothy Snyder's bestselling book of lessons for surviving and resisting America's arc toward authoritarianism, featuring the visual storytelling talents of renowned illustrator Nora Krug.
$16.99 US
Oct 05, 2021
128 Pages
Ten Speed Graphic

The Purpose of Power
How We Come Together When We Fall Apart
An essential guide to building transformative movements to address the challenges of our time, from one of the country’s leading organizers and a co-creator of Black Lives Matter
$18.00 US
Sep 07, 2021
352 Pages
One World