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People Power, Peaceful Protests That Changed The World

Authored by Rebecca June
Illustrated by Ximo Abadia
Published by Prestel Publishing

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People Power, Peaceful Protests That Changed The World is a colourful picture book presenting 13 different examples of peaceful protests which have taken place around the world.

The journey begins with the suffrage Mud March in the UK, taking us right up to the Black Lives Matter campaign in the US in 2020. The protests span a diverse range of causes and ideals from environmental concerns to social injustice. They include the story of those defending Pureora Forest in New Zealand and the Singing Revolution in Estonia. Also included are tales of more globally familiar individuals like Rosa Parks and Greta Thunberg. Each protest story is given two double-page spreads in the book. Around a quarter of that space is taken up with text.

While some of the stories have complex political contexts, they are explained to us in simple narrative terms. Additionally, there are some incorporate rhetorical questions inviting young readers to consider what situations might be like including, ‘Can you imagine what it would be like if a wall were built in the middle of your city or town so you couldn’t visit the other side?’

The rest of each double-page is bold, vibrant imagery, sometimes used to startling effect. A good example would be the contrast between the two different sides of the Berlin Wall. Here, the artwork reinforces the grey of East Germany with the colourful graffitti on the other side of the wall.

The tone is celebratory, encouraging young KS2 readers to be inspired to join together for what they believe in. The introduction invites readers to, ‘Share your hopes and worries for the future with others’.

Overall, I enjoyed the mix of cultures and methods of protest, and appreciated the message that the writers hope to send. ‘The stories in this book will convince you that the most powerful magic of all is the power of the people’.