Do Something!: A Handbook for Young Activists


Kids want to do it. Parents want their kids to do it. Schools often require kids to do it. So do it: Do something and change the world.  And here’s how, in a fist-in-the-air book for every young activist. knows exactly how to reach kids. The largest Internet-based teen service organization, it supports 750,000 projects, receiving 15 million visitors a month, and, for the first time ever, broadcasting a Do Something Awards ...

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Kids want to do it. Parents want their kids to do it. Schools often require kids to do it. So do it: Do something and change the world.  And here’s how, in a fist-in-the-air book for every young activist. knows exactly how to reach kids. The largest Internet-based teen service organization, it supports 750,000 projects, receiving 15 million visitors a month, and, for the first time ever, broadcasting a Do Something Awards show on VH1.

Do Something! takes aim at the next generation of do-gooders. Written in a lively, in-your-face style, designed to be edgy and hip, it’s the kind of interactive, educational book every parent will feel good about giving because it shows kids how to get involved, in language they understand.

It’s an idea-to-execution guide. Quizzes help readers pinpoint their “thing”—a cause that fires them up. Then come the tools that show how to get something done, whether it’s making a poster, raising money, sending around a petition, or enlisting friends.

There are 33 action plans, touching on areas such as the environment, human rights, poverty, animal welfare, education, disaster relief—plus worksheets, facts, and outlines to help socially conscious kids create their own projects, and, for inspiration, profiles of grant winners. Additionally, is setting up a separate website for this book’s readers.

About is one of the largest organizations in the US that helps young people rock causes they care about. A driving force in creating a culture of volunteerism, is on track to activate two million young people in 2011. By leveraging the web, television, mobile, and pop culture, inspires, empowers and celebrates a generation of doers:  teenagers who recognize the need to do something, believe in their ability to get it done, and then take action.  Plug in at


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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
From the creators of, this compact spiral-bound handbook urges readers to embrace vital causes, from animal welfare to ending discrimination. Tips for effective organizing include mapping out problems ("break an issue down into smaller pieces so you can understand it better"), asking experts, and distributing surveys. The 32 tangible action plans, from holding a coat drive to writing an article on cyberbullying, offer conscientious readers the opportunity to achieve realistic and gratifying results. Ages 9–12. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
“This guide to activism includes simple, do-able ways for kids of all ages to make a difference.”

Boston Parents’ Paper

VOYA - Kristen Anderson
This visually appealing handbook encourages young readers to find meaningful and practical community service projects about which they are passionate. Each chapter details an important step, from targeting an area of interest all the way to learning from the successes of a completed project. The book is designed to be written in, with quizzes and writing prompts scattered throughout. Sidebars with information about what celebrities and kids around the country are doing to make a difference are also included. Thirty-two step-by-step projects are included, along with helpful instructions for creating one from scratch. Resources for further research are included at the back. While the book itself will appeal to teens in general, the Jonas Brothers blurb and the cover photo virtually guarantee that this book will only be checked out by middle schoolers. The wire-o binding and the fact that the book virtually begs to be written in also makes the book a challenge in a circulating collection. Perhaps the best library application for this title is as a reference resource for those who run teen advisory boards. The wealth of step-by-step project ideas will be very helpful in developing community-service plans that are both fun and suitable for teens. Reviewer: Kristen Anderson
Children's Literature - Amanda MacGregor
Put together by, an on-line youth service organization, this interactive handbook will help young readers figure out where their interests in activism may lay and how to create a plan to be active. Set up with quizzes, checklists, and ample space for jotting down ideas, this handbook has everything a person needs to become an activist. The main areas of activism examined are animal welfare, disaster relief, discrimination, education, environment, health issues, human rights, hunger and homelessness, poverty, violence and bullying, and war and peace. Topics covered include finding out what your thing is, brainstorming ideas for focusing in on what you want to work on, and surveying your environment for how you might work on your project in places like home, school, and your town. Readers will learn how to research their topic; with the handbook helping them answer questions such as what is the problem, how big is it, and what can be done about it. Also included are tips on how to conduct interviews and surveys, ways to create an action plan, and advice on how to spread the word and get other volunteers. Sidebars offer short biographies of famous people and ordinary kids who are doing something about various important issues. Thorough, engaging, fun, and inspiring, this handbook makes it simple for anyone to become an activist. Because it is designed to be written in, it may not be the best fit for libraries, but would serve as a great guide for classrooms undertaking service projects. Reviewer: Amanda MacGregor
Kirkus Reviews
Aimed at civic-minded youth, this hands-on guide to activism may interest kids very new to the concept. Divided into five sections designed to help readers focus and then strengthen their convictions, plan and execute their strategy and finally review and evaluate, this manual includes quizzes, projects, a resource list and sample forms. Letter writing, fundraising, boycotting, awareness campaigns and drives for in-kind goods are among the suggested activities, and the information about how to conduct them is thorough and clear. However, there are some questionable tips, such as the claim that "Web addresses ending with .org, .gov, or .edu usually have the best information" (in actuality, .org domains are just as easily purchased as .coms). In another section on starting a compost pile, readers are encouraged to "Add clean cat litter to absorb smells if your compost starts to stink," though most cat litter is made of clay that doesn't biodegrade. Still, novices may find the step-by-step instruction helpful and appreciate the aggressively upbeat tone. (Nonfiction. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761157472
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/24/2010
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 1,475,287
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 790L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 3.60 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Vanessa Martir, formerly a content editor of, graduated from Columbia University and is pursuing her dream of being a novelist, poet, and writing teacher. Her previous books include Woman's Cry.

Nancy Lublin is the CEO and Chief Old Person of She is also the founder of Dress for Success, which she ran for 7 years. She graduated from Brown University, Oxford University, and NYU School of Law. She writes a popular column for Fast Company and teaches not-for-profit management at NYU and Yale School of Management.

Julia Steers, formerly a content editor of, graduated from Georgetown University and is currently social media manager at The Huffington Post.

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