Featuring kid-friendly text and full-color illustrations, Kid Trailblazers highlights contemporary figures who have led the way in government, social activism, environmental justice, and the arts. Middle-grade readers will learn how these figures got their start as kids just like them, with impactful stories and fun facts such as:
• Angela Merkel once won a trip to Moscow, where she bought a Beatles album.
• Stacey Abrams and her siblings played pretend as librarians for fun.
• Al Gore lived in a hotel as a kid and liked to drop water balloons off the roof!
Kid Trailblazers explores the childhood stories of leaders who have taken on the most pressing issues of our time by expressing themselves and challenging the world.
About the Author
Allison Steinfeld obtained a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She loves to create fun and playful work that can be enjoyed by readers of all ages. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
Read an Excerpt
Do you ever look around and see things you want to change? Are you the kind of person who likes to take the lead? Do you dream of a world where people are truly free and equal, where our planet is protected, and where everyone’s voice can be heard?
Maybe you will be a trailblazer! Our world is always evolving, and many changes are driven by people like you: people who want to make a difference and are willing to lead the way and blaze new trails.
Some trailblazers are politicians, working to help our governments do a better job of representing all the people they serve. Others are activists, leading social movements, fighting for human rights, or taking a stand for environmental justice. And some are artists, writers, actors, filmmakers, or poets. They use their art and their words to challenge established ideas, to make people think, and to raise awareness of issues they are passionate about.
Trailblazers organize protests, hold meetings, run for office, raise money, and go on strike. They influence people through social media, write books, and create television shows. They send letters, take photographs, share their poems, and demonstrate in the streets. There are many ways to lead the way, influence people, and make change!
Throughout history, courageous people have stepped up to tackle big problems, and our world today is a better place because of their efforts. There is still lots of work to do, but luckily there are also lots of great role models to learn from. Today’s trailblazers stand on the shoulders of those who came before them and are leading the way for those who come after them. And whether they are government leaders, activists, or artists, they all have one thing in common: they started out as kids.
Before she wrote television shows, Shonda Rhimes acted out stories with cans of vegetables in her mom’s pantry. And civil rights activist and US congressman John Lewis was once a little boy who preached sermons to his family’s chickens.
But for many of the trailblazers in this book, childhood was not a carefree time. Some lacked even the most basic of freedoms.
Scientist and environmental activist David Suzuki spent his childhood in an internment camp, imprisoned by the Canadian government along with thousands of other Japanese Canadians. The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei grew up in exile, living in an underground dugout at the edge of China’s Gobi Desert.
Being a trailblazer takes confidence; you have to be able to stand up for yourself in the face of opposition. So it helps to have people who believe in you. Stacey Abrams’s father always told her to fight for what she wanted. Kamala Harris had a mother who raised her to believe she could grow up to do anything.
And of course, you don’t have to wait until you are grown up to make change! Greta Thunberg was just fifteen when she started her school strike for the climate.
At twelve years old, Marley Dias began her campaign to collect and donate a thousand books about Black girls. And Mari Copeny was only eight when she made national headlines in the United States by writing to President Barack Obama about the lack of safe water in her community.
Without the trailblazers in this book, our world would be a very different place. Their paths weren’t always easy, but they persevered, overcoming all kinds of obstacles to achieve their goals. I hope their stories will inspire you to follow your own dreams and stand up for what you believe . . . and to change the world for the better!