Yes You Can!: Your Guide to Becoming an Activist

Yes You Can!: Your Guide to Becoming an Activist

by Jane Drake, Ann Love


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Every time our society takes steps forward, segregation becomes illegal, child labor is exposed, and companies that poison our air are called to account. Behind those steps are people who identified problems, worked together, and created change. Lifelong environmental activists, Jane Drake and Ann Love present the nine steps to social change and much more. From fascinating accounts about the founding of organizations such as Amnesty International, Pollution Probe, and Greenpeace to the nuts and bolts of how to run an effective meeting or write a petition, to words of inspiration, Yes You Can! Your Guide to Changing the World is great reading and encouragement for every person who wants to make the world a better place.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780887769429
Publisher: Tundra
Publication date: 10/12/2010
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 1,251,037
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range: 10 Years

About the Author

JANE DRAKE and ANN LOVE, sisters and coauthors, have written many award-winning books for young readers, including Cool Woods: A Trip around the World's Boreal Forest; Snow Amazing: Cool Facts and Warm Tales; Trash Action: A Fresh Look at Garbage; Sweet! The Delicious Story of Candy; Alien Invaders: Species That Threaten Our World; and Talking Tails: The Incredible Connection Between People and Their Pets. They share a lifelong interest in the environment and the wild, travel extensively, and, through their books and presentations, inspire children to be more observant of the world around them. Jane Drake and Ann Love live in the Toronto area.

Table of Contents

Step Right Up! 1

Step 1 I'm Fed Up 4

From Outrage to Change: The Amnesty International Story 5

Your Cause, Your Choice 7

Walking the Talk: Drawing Your Ethical Self-Portrait 8

Milestones and Setbacks - Human Rights 11

Step 2 What's Wrong? 15

Do It! The Founding of Pollution Probe 16

Comebacks to Put-Downs 20

The Long and the Short of It: Writing a Brief 21

Milestones and Setbacks - Air and Water Pollution 23

Step 3 Great Minds Think Alike 27

Minding Both the Forest and the Trees: The Boreal Partnership 28

Walking a Mile in Your Opponent's Shoes 31

Two Heads Are Better than One: Running a Good Meeting 34

Milestones and Setbacks - Forest Stewardship 39

Step 4 Good Plans, Good Luck 41

Actions Speak Louder than Words: The Rosa Parks Story 43

Seize the Moment 46

Preparing to Face the Media 47

Milestones and Setbacks - American Civil Rights 50

Step 5 Baby Steps, Giant Leaps 53

Smoking vs. Nonsmoking: A Seesaw Battle of Rights 54

Gandhi: Non-Violent Change - One Step at a Time 59

The Elements of a Good Poster/Posting 61

Milestones and Setbacks - Tobacco and Nonsmokers' Rights 64

Step 6 Butting Heads 67

Greenpeace vs. the American Military 69

Burnout 73

Sharpening Your Tongue 74

Milestones and Setbacks - Earth Rights 77

Step 7 When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going 80

Eglantyne and Dorothy Jebb: Founders of Save the Children 81

The Power of Petition: Children's Rights Club, Makari, Haiti 84

Finding the Fundraiser in You 86

Milestones and Setbacks - Women and Children's Rights 91

Step 8 Getting Heard 94

Being Heard at the Labrador Creative Arts Festival 96

Use Theater/Be Heard 98

Keeping Squeaky-Clean 101

Milestones and Setbacks - The Medium for the Message 102

Step 9 Life after Change 105

The Right to Play: The Ins and Outs of International Volunteerism 108

Prepare to Participate: The Red Cross Story 112

Measuring Personal Change 113

Milestones and Setbacks - Games for Change 115

Your Chance To Be The Change 118

The Recycling Blue Box Story 124

Future Steps 128

Milestones and Setbacks - Climate Change 131

Index 134

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Yes You Can!: Your Guide to Becoming an Activist 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
JRlibrary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The subtitle of this book is, Your Guide to Becoming an Activist, and I think that if the book is geared to people who are not yet activists, this will not be the book that jump starts them. The focus on very large organizations would be overwhelming to someone who is just considering "doing something", and the history of those organizations would not be that exciting. For those reasons, this is not the book I would be reaching for to encourage a young person who wanted to start making a difference.
SeriousGrace on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Right away I have to say I wouldn't have classified this as "juvenile" literature. The language might be a little simplistic, definitely geared toward young adults, but the message is something we should all sit up and take notice of no matter what our age: if the world around you makes you sick do something. It's the age-old promise, "you CAN make a difference!" But first you have to DO something.Yes You Can is a how-to manual of sorts. Each chapter covers a different step to becoming an activist including an example of someone taking that particular step. The histories of organizations such as Amnesty International and Save the Children illustrate what can happen if the right steps are taken successfully. For every chapter there is a section on the historical time line of that step in action. There is also a section on the accomplishments as well as the challenges called, "Milestones and Setbacks" which put everything into perspective. Almost like a textbook there is a checklist to test what the reader has (or hasn't learned). My favorite piece of advice was "know your cause inside and out." The ability to see both sides of any argument can go a long way in the effort to sway opinion or make a change.
KhrystiBooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The book jacket reads "A step-by-step guide to successful social change." I don't quite know if that's accurate. While this book offers a look at the process activism usually follows, there are less direct strategies and more stories of activists. There are a few helpful exercises, however. I liked that the book did not seem to be pushing one agenda, though the authors seemed to hint at discussing smoker's rights vs. non smokers rights and then only discussed the latter. There are some interesting nuggets about how much the U.S.A. sucks at environmental policy, but they are only facts in time lines, nothing pushy. All in all, this book offers an interesting look at how change is affected, and it does make me want to do something worthwhile in my community. I sense that this accomplishes the authors' true purpose.
cmcvittie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Drake and Love lay out an easy to read, "how-to" for becoming a young activist. Each chapter is a step in the process and includes the story of the founding of a major activist movement, background for the strategy, one simple "how-to", and where the activist movement mentioned at the beginning is today in its work. At the end of the book, the authors have revisited the steps and included a checklist for those seriously beginning work on a project close to their heart. A great model of how this works is Step 5: Baby Steps, Giant Leaps. This chapter starts with Jane Drake's recollections of her grandfather and father smoking and how the attitude to tobacco has changed in 50 years. This is followed by the story of how Mahatma Ghandi opposed the salt tax with non-violence. The strategy in this chapter is using posters to bring attention to an idea and ends with milestones and set-backs in the anti-smoking movement. This book is an excellent companion to works like Three Cups of Tea or works by Craig and Mark Kielburger.
Nickelini on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In 2010 I found myself thinking about social activism more than ever, so when this book became available through the ER program, I jumped at a chance to read it. I didn't realize that it was marketed for a teen audience. That wasn't a detriment, however, as most of the information in the book is applicable to a wider-audience. This slim volume is well organized and packed with information. The chapters, or "steps" as the authors call them, tackle one issue each. They include an inspirational background story (for example, the beginnings of Greenpeace, or a short history of Gandhi), a section on useful strategies and tips for skill development, and finally conclude with a timeline of milestones and setbacks of a particular movement. Regardless of whether your area social activism is at the neighbourhood or global level, this book has helpful information, inspiration and advice to get you moving on your chosen cause. The writing is clear and concise and doesn't condescend to the audience. I also appreciate that the publisher included a useful index. Recommended for: anyone who is interesting in getting involved in social change, whatever their age. Basic information and inspiration for the beginner, and not someone who is already an activist.
saltypepper on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The authors of Yes You Can have taken the saying "It is better to light one candle than curse the darkness," to heart. This book is a good overview of how and why people become activists, and does a great job of helping young people understand that this is something they can do as well if there is an issue they feel strongly about changing. The descriptions of how various groups such as Amnesty International and the Red Cross were founded are clear and easy to read (though they can be a little simplistic), and factual without beating kids over the head with the idea that they're getting a (very abbreviated) history lesson. That's okay though, the point is to inspire kids to take action now about things they care about, rather than teach them all about things that someone else did about things that they may not feel as passionately about. There are checklists and ideas about strategies that have worked for groups in the past, so that budding activists do not need to reinvent the wheel for every issue.I think the book's optimistic tone will go a long way towards inspiring the next generation of activists to get an early start. I am going to donate my ER copy to the library at my kids' school. The publishers suggest that it's best for readers aged 11 and up, which seems right for a kid reading independently, but as part of a history class or project, for example, I think kids as young as 9 might be able to benefit from it.
sdunford on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm a community organizer by trade, and very passionate about what I do. And since I'm entering my "golden years" and seeing the need to pass-on what I've learned I was very excited to get this book. I read through it the first day, and put it down, very disappointed. There is no doubt that the book is well-meaning, and well-written, but it had so little connection to my experience that it seemed to come from another world. But then (northern ?) Canada is a world away from inner city Bronx where I've worked.The format of the book was disjointed. It was less a guidebook than a history of causes. I also think the focus on "big ticket" organizations like Greenpeace, Red Cross, and Save the Children removed it very far from a beginning activists' reality. And there was not enough time paid to the admittedly transferable skills, usable by a beginner. It just didn't relate.So I gave the book to my 13-year old niece. She liked the parts about this history of organizations and movements, but barely noticed the "nuts and bolts"So I left the book for a few weeks and then read it again and unfortunately (because we need books like this very badly, I have to conclude that this book - while being a decent history of change-making organizations, fails at exactly what it bills itself as - a guidebook.
mamakats on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Last nite, Jon Stewart, on the Daily Show, dubbed the 2010 mid-term election results to be the "Maybe We Can't" voters' response and a referendum against Obama's "Yes We Can" campaign so popular a mere two years ago. As my loveys know, I have been a busy mama this campaign season volunteering in a big way for a local school board candidate. My sassy-ass wit and well-researched snark afforded me the really great opportunity to be a speech/campaign writer. It's been a great ride and the votes are still being tallied but alas, it looks like my candidate is not likely to win. As if working on this campaign was not enough to keep me out of trouble, I started up a brand new PTA with all the workings of non-profit tax status and organizational paperwork to be done while managing my household and the the special needs of my children. Whew! Now that I type it all out that does seem busy!And while I was polling, writing and making calls for my candidate, filing paperwork, and waiting for special education meetings for my kids, avoiding folding the laundry, I was also reading this little book that had the terrible misfortune to be published now, rather than the timely two years' ago time frame. The book, entitled Yes You Can!: Your Guide to Becoming An Activist by Jane Drake and Ann Love seems so ill-timed this week. As I watch the news crews fall all over themselves to gaffaw and slobber all over the Republican Wave and Tea Party Mandate results of the 2010 election I'm kinda bummed that the book title seems quaint and kinda tragic today.Still, the book is largely a good tome on becoming a young activist. It seems taken from the dated and widely read (in activist circles, anyway) text, Rules for Radicals by Saul D. Alinsky in 1971. Sisters, Drake & Love, attempt to update and break up the the steps toward becoming an activist by inserting anecdotes presumably associated with each one. Mostly this idea works, but the tactic does strike this post-modern mama as smacking a little too much of an identity politics stunt that seems dated in itself. Each anecdote is based on a personal story of an activist that is likely to be unfamiliar to a young reader and therefore slightly disjointed from the associated step and it's explanation.So for each step there is a STORIES section, a STRATEGIES section, a SKILLS section, and a TIMELINE: Milestones and Setbacks section. This seems like a thoughtful and creative way to attempt to make the material accessible for a young reader. However, more often than not, I was left wondering how the story, timeline and anecdote connected to the step being described. The step or focus of the chapter seemed to get lost in the extraneous information that was supposed to bolster the point. For instance: in the Step Five: Baby Steps, Giant Leaps chapter, there is an introductory anecdote about Janie and her Poppa dying of lung cancer as impacting the personal battle for getting Janie's parents to quit smoking. Then there is the Story of Smoking vs. Nonsmoking: a Seesaw Battle of Rights followed up by the Strategies section of Gandhi: Non-Violent Change - One Step At a Time and the Skills section with The Elements of a Good Poster/Posting only to be followed up with the Timeline Milestones & Setbacks section of Tobacco and Non-Smoker's Rights. What?!I am a long time activist and student of activist literature as well as political theory and philosophy hobbyist. I personally can kinda draw the connections between Gandhi's brand of activism and the baby steps that Janie might have had to take in order to make the giant leap to a smoke-free household. I can appreciate that information because I have an educated background that helps me make those connections. But a young reader, with little knowledge of Gandhi or the history of the smoke-free public spaces movement will have very little context for making the connections between Gandhi's non-violence actions and the smoke-free successes. Compl
Philcott on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a well-written book; an easy read. I read the entire book in one setting, but it's worth keeping around. It was evidently written for a juvenile audience, but may be more useful for adults.It's a step-by-step manual for taking on an issue, and getting something done about that issue. The chapters are well-organized and the method is clear. The authors use great examples, and it's clear that they have some personal connection with some of the examples given. It's an excellent book, and I'll be keeping it in my library, and occasionally recommending it to people. However, it's missing a couple of things that would have made it a much better book. First, unless you know who Jane Drake and Ann Love are, the authors come without credentials, and they fail to present their credentials. It would be helpful for the authors to explain to their audience how they came by this knowlege. If they have personal experience as activists (and it appears that they have), that would add credibility.The other missing item in the book is an awareness of faith-based activism, or even an awareness of faith. For example, one list of notable documents that set social standards starts with the Code of Hammurabi, but ignores the commandments of the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Koran. The authors use Ghandi as an example, but don't even nod to the religious basis of his activism.Particularly in a bood for young people, and particularly in a book that encourages people to act on their beliefs, it would be helpful to recognize that some of those beliefs are religious, as well as political, environmental or social. That said, it is still a good book, and well worth keeping on the shelf. It is as suitable for adults as for juveniles, and if it is successful as such, may mark a bit of a change in their writing career.