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Resist: 35 Profiles of Ordinary People Who Rose Up Against Tyranny and Injustice

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A perfect tool for young readers as they grow into the leaders of tomorrow, Veronica Chambers’s inspiring collection of profiles—along with Senator Cory Booker’s stirring foreword—will inspire readers of all ages to stand up for what’s right. You may only be one person, but you have the power to change the world. Before they were activists, they were just like you and me. Fr A perfect tool for young readers as they grow into the leaders of tomorrow, Veronica Chambers’s inspiring collection of profiles—along with Senator Cory Booker’s stirring foreword—will inspire readers of all ages to stand up for what’s right. You may only be one person, but you have the power to change the world. Before they were activists, they were just like you and me. From Frederick Douglass to Malala Yousafzai, Joan of Arc to John Lewis, Susan B. Anthony to Janet Mock—these remarkable figures show us what it means to take a stand and say no to injustice, even when it would be far easier to stay quiet. Resist profiles men and women who resisted tyranny, fought the odds, and stood up to bullies that threatened to harm their communities. Along with their portraits and most memorable quotes, their stories will inspire you to speak out and rise up—every single day.


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A perfect tool for young readers as they grow into the leaders of tomorrow, Veronica Chambers’s inspiring collection of profiles—along with Senator Cory Booker’s stirring foreword—will inspire readers of all ages to stand up for what’s right. You may only be one person, but you have the power to change the world. Before they were activists, they were just like you and me. Fr A perfect tool for young readers as they grow into the leaders of tomorrow, Veronica Chambers’s inspiring collection of profiles—along with Senator Cory Booker’s stirring foreword—will inspire readers of all ages to stand up for what’s right. You may only be one person, but you have the power to change the world. Before they were activists, they were just like you and me. From Frederick Douglass to Malala Yousafzai, Joan of Arc to John Lewis, Susan B. Anthony to Janet Mock—these remarkable figures show us what it means to take a stand and say no to injustice, even when it would be far easier to stay quiet. Resist profiles men and women who resisted tyranny, fought the odds, and stood up to bullies that threatened to harm their communities. Along with their portraits and most memorable quotes, their stories will inspire you to speak out and rise up—every single day.

30 review for Resist: 35 Profiles of Ordinary People Who Rose Up Against Tyranny and Injustice

  1. 5 out of 5

    Panda Incognito

    This collection of 35 biographical profiles introduces young readers to a diverse range of heroes who stood up against injustice. Sometimes, I found this book profoundly moving, but I cannot recommend it, because the author omitted and misrepresented facts in some of the chapters. Biographical sketches that span three to five pages can only contain so much information; however, if you undertake the project of educating children about history's heroes, you have a responsibility to include and fac This collection of 35 biographical profiles introduces young readers to a diverse range of heroes who stood up against injustice. Sometimes, I found this book profoundly moving, but I cannot recommend it, because the author omitted and misrepresented facts in some of the chapters. Biographical sketches that span three to five pages can only contain so much information; however, if you undertake the project of educating children about history's heroes, you have a responsibility to include and fact-check the most important elements of their lives and legacies. This book spans from 1429 to the present. Each chapter begins with a beautiful portrait of its subject, and a quote that sums up their ideology or approach to justice. At the end, the author synthesizes that person's legacy into a "Resist Lesson," and even though some of these are cheesy and trite, others are thought-provoking. For example, the one that celebrates Samuel Adams’s labor for American independence states, "The steadiness of commitment can do more in the long term than unsustainable sparks." One of the positive aspects of this book was how thoroughly it covered different forms of resistance, showing that our actions are worthwhile even when they don’t seem glamorous. This book contains a lot of important lessons, and its chapters cover people of different sexes, races, nationalities, sexual orientations, socioeconomic statuses, ages, and personal causes. This diverse approach to the topic of resistance serves as a primer on a vast number of different social issues, but because of this, many people will read and recommend this title without realizing how limited the material actually is. Even though this book seems thorough, many of its chapters leave out important information. Exhibit A: Dietrich Bonhoeffer This chapter begins with the famous quote, “The church… must not simply bandage the victims under the wheel of oppression, but put a spoke in the wheel itself.” Great line! However, according to this book, when Bonhoeffer returned to Germany and got involved in the resistance there, all he did was work against the Gestapo by helping evacuate Jewish refugees. That was a wonderful, brave, humanitarian thing, but do you know what ELSE Bonhoeffer did? This man joined a conspiracy to try to ASSASSINATE HITLER. That fact is JUST SLIGHTLY IMPORTANT. That quote about putting “a spoke in the wheel itself” isn’t just an observation. It crystallizes the reasoning behind Bonhoeffer’s soul-searching decision to put aside his pacifistic convictions and actively engage in efforts to end Hitler’s life. Unfortunately, he and his co-conspirators failed in their repeated efforts, and Bonhoeffer went to prison. The Nazis executed him on April 9, 1945, just shortly before the end of the war. THIS MATTERS. Bonhoeffer is one of my personal heroes, and when you rip out the most important elements of his story, you disrespect his sacrifices. This gentle, studious pastor was willing to take drastic measures to resist the epitome of evil, and he paid for this resistance with his life. Telling his story without these details does injustice to his legacy, misleads readers, and forfeits an opportunity to deeply inspire. Exhibit B: Sitting Bull This chapter ends on a triumphant note, with Sitting Bull and his tribe defeating US General Custer and his troops. That’s nice, but white Americans killed Sitting Bull in a later confrontation, and you can’t just ignore this. Telling a story of resistance requires context, and if you’re asking children to rise up and resist tyranny in their day, you should be honest about the fact that a lot of these people died while doing so. (Note: This was the one thing I had to research after reading the book. I wasn’t 100% sure that he died because of the US government, but all it took was a Google search to confirm that this was true.) Exhibit C: Harvey Milk The chapter on this gay-rights advocate and politician fails to mention that he designed the Gay Pride flag. That seemed odd, but then the chapter ended like this: “Harvey had a lot of fun that first year in office. He became known as an effective lawmaker who also loved to pull pranks. Having fun and doing good, that was the Harvey Milk way.” AND THEN SOMEONE ASSASSINATED HIM. Facts matter, folks. You can’t just cut off your chapter at a high point! You have to be honest about what life was actually like for Harvey Milk, and how his advocacy for himself and people like him ultimately cost him his life. This book is an absolute joke. “He had a lot of fun! He liked to play pranks! Pay no attention to the fact-checker behind the curtain!” I just hope no kid ever uses this book as a source for a school assignment, because it's so selective in which facts it thinks young readers should know. Does this woman just have something against death? Does she think that middle grade readers are old enough to start resisting injustice, but too young to grapple with the potential costs? Exhibit D: Martin Luther Now we get to MY FAVORITE! Complete misrepresentation of key facts! Up to this point, I’ve only written about omissions, but in the chapter about Martin Luther, the author sums up his split with the Catholic Church like this: “He dreamed of a simpler way – a church where people could pray in their own language, where men and women could take their prayers directly to their god. He believed forgiveness should be not bought, but earned.” That last sentence is a LIE. Luther believed in grace. He knew that people could never earn forgiveness, because after years of long, painful struggle, trying to attain holiness and atone for his sins through religious obligations, he learned that he didn’t have to go through church ritual or his own good works to meet God. Instead, Jesus serves as the mediator between God and man. Jesus lived the perfect life that we could not, and in his death on the cross, he bore the punishment for human sin. When someone accepts Jesus's sacrifice in faith, believing that it is enough to make them right with God, Jesus’s righteousness is credited to their account. They are forgiven, and they have God's approval without having to earn it. As Luther famously claimed, salvation is through Christ alone, through grace alone, through faith alone, for the glory of God alone. This is the gospel that Luther believed and spent the rest of his life propagating. As soon as he understood that salvation came through grace, not works, he experienced tremendous relief, no longer spending his life plagued with doubt and fear. The reason he split with the Catholic Church, and the reason that he had the courage to do so, was because he knew they were peddling a false gospel. He couldn’t stand for that. He wasn’t just concerned about religious freedom in the abstract, or greater equity for common people, although these were important. He believed that the Catholic Church had abandoned the fundamentals of true faith. I don’t expect a short biographical sketch to delve into all those details and implications, but the least it can do is avoid OUTRIGHT FALSEHOOD. It’s understandable that someone would think, “Well, if he didn’t think people should buy forgiveness, he must have thought they should earn it,” but a quick glance at the Wikipedia entry about Martin Luther would show otherwise. Even though it appears that this woman's research didn't even reach Wikipedia-levels of accuracy, she does list recommended resources in the back pages of this book. These include a documentary and graphic novel about Martin Luther, but she must not have paid close attention to either, because how could she miss this key detail? I know nothing about her religious beliefs, but even if Protestant Christianity seems irrelevant to her, she still has a responsibility to present facts accurately, and Martin Luther did NOT think that anyone should earn forgiveness. He knew that no one could. This book is such a disappointment. It has a great concept, beautiful pictures, inspiring quotes, and some great stories, but because I had the historical knowledge to tear apart some of its chapters, I felt no confidence in the rest. Whenever I read a chapter about someone I wasn’t familiar with, I had to keep telling myself, “You don’t know how accurate this is. You don’t know what she’s leaving out, or what she’s misrepresenting.” That’s not a very inspiring experience. Although some chapters in this book are just fine the way they are, this book as a whole does not pass the fact check muster. I wish that I had an alternate title to recommend, but unfortunately, I don’t know of another book that accomplishes the same goal with the same scope and diversity. I hope that other people will write similar projects in the future, because this book is not enough. Kids may read it and feel inspired, and I hope they go on to do great things, but this book is too weighed down with egregious omissions and even outright lies to fill the gap it seeks to address in juvenile literature.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kelsey

    I received a digital review copy through Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. This brief, collected biography includes not only common, household names from history, but lesser-known people as well (a few I had not heard of before). While it's always nice to read about the usual important people, it is refreshing to read about other courageous people I probably never would have otherwise. Overall, a decent collection of biographies of tenacious people. Something important I feel is missin I received a digital review copy through Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. This brief, collected biography includes not only common, household names from history, but lesser-known people as well (a few I had not heard of before). While it's always nice to read about the usual important people, it is refreshing to read about other courageous people I probably never would have otherwise. Overall, a decent collection of biographies of tenacious people. Something important I feel is missing are the dates/years the subjects lived, and their locations. This information would have been nice to have at the beginning of the subject's section along with their name. The hashtag #Resist and one date is included with each subject's name, though, which does add a bit of reference. The phrase #ResistLesson at the end of each section was also a little much, partially because hashtags are over-used and partially due to the very overt attempt at edification.

  3. 4 out of 5

    LeeAnne

    This is a wonderful introduction to many historical figures and their contributions to society. The author chose a diverse group of people to highlight, with beautiful portraits of them before each chapter. At the end of each chapter, I wanted just a little bit more information about the heroes, and I’m happy that the author provided additional information at the end of the book - books, movies, and podcasts are included. I realize this is a book for middle grade/young adult, but I think there c This is a wonderful introduction to many historical figures and their contributions to society. The author chose a diverse group of people to highlight, with beautiful portraits of them before each chapter. At the end of each chapter, I wanted just a little bit more information about the heroes, and I’m happy that the author provided additional information at the end of the book - books, movies, and podcasts are included. I realize this is a book for middle grade/young adult, but I think there could have been a bit more information in each of the chapters. My favorite stories were about Chiune Sugihara, a Japanes ambassador to Lithuania during WWII who granted thousands of visas to Jewish people, saving thousands of lives, and Hedy Lamarr, a beautiful Hollywood actress who invented a device during WWII that jammed radio signals by frequency hopping. She gave this invention to the Navy and it soon became standard in military communications. She said, “Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid.” I loved the format of the book - moving in chronological order, a quote from each hero, and their “Resist” lesson at the end. It is an inspiring book that will make you shake your head in not understanding some actions by oppressors and cheering for those that refuse to be oppressed. I could see this being used in Lit Circles and broken up into pieces for different groups to concentrate on. This would make a good addition to the Texas Lone Star List.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Trinity Fier

    “The books we read can change our lives—and the world” This book is probably one of my favorites. Just reading about all of these “normal” people that grew up to be a part of something is so inspiring. This book will show you that despite your age, gender, religion, and nationality, you can do anything. I am just a child and i’m often put down because of my age. This book has helped me to realize that if I am determined, and if I put my mind to something, I can do it. I Highly recommend this boo “The books we read can change our lives—and the world” This book is probably one of my favorites. Just reading about all of these “normal” people that grew up to be a part of something is so inspiring. This book will show you that despite your age, gender, religion, and nationality, you can do anything. I am just a child and i’m often put down because of my age. This book has helped me to realize that if I am determined, and if I put my mind to something, I can do it. I Highly recommend this book ❤️

  5. 5 out of 5

    Aarifa

    It's always great to learn about these amazing and inspiring people again and again!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Audrey

    I have never wanted to get a book removed from a library before, but because this book is supposed to be historical and is also geared for middle grades, and was also featured at my local branch, I’m actually concerned that it’s misinformation. How can you even talk about Black Lives Matter without mentioning police violence or white supremacy? And also erase Trayvon’s murder? And then have a whole paragraph about All Lives Matter and “reverse racism.” How do you feature Janet Mock but not explai I have never wanted to get a book removed from a library before, but because this book is supposed to be historical and is also geared for middle grades, and was also featured at my local branch, I’m actually concerned that it’s misinformation. How can you even talk about Black Lives Matter without mentioning police violence or white supremacy? And also erase Trayvon’s murder? And then have a whole paragraph about All Lives Matter and “reverse racism.” How do you feature Janet Mock but not explain what being transgender means or that transphobia exists? These biographies are so sanitized that they are without context & often just … inaccurate. There’s features of people who helped Jews escape, but no mention of the Holocaust. Or Hitler. And no one’s assassination is ever included. That feels disrespectful to people who risked death to resist oppression. Also erases queerness, only features one disabled person, and as a supercrip, with an actual “so people don’t see her disability but her abilities” line. This book is so weird. I don’t get it. And it’s offensive that it’s called Resist.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Resist by Veronica Chambers offers 35 short summaries of ways that ordinary people stood up to injustice. Chambers organizes her book chronologically and usually spends 2-4 pages per resister. Although reading short biographical pieces on different people isn't in my reading wheelhouse, I really appreciated all of the parallels that Chambers was able to highlight in resistors from Samuel Adams to Sitting Bull to Ghandi to Chavez to Garza, Cullors, and Tometi. She highlighted the idea that anyone, Resist by Veronica Chambers offers 35 short summaries of ways that ordinary people stood up to injustice. Chambers organizes her book chronologically and usually spends 2-4 pages per resister. Although reading short biographical pieces on different people isn't in my reading wheelhouse, I really appreciated all of the parallels that Chambers was able to highlight in resistors from Samuel Adams to Sitting Bull to Ghandi to Chavez to Garza, Cullors, and Tometi. She highlighted the idea that anyone, no matter their age, gender, social class, or background, can cause change. I think this book has a great place in a classroom library, and I could see it being used as a reference, especially at the beginning of a unit of study on groundbreakers or change-makers.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Angela King

    Grades 3-6 Biography This book includes powerful short biographies of some of the most inspiring people this Earth has known... from Joan of Arc, to Fredrick Douglas, to Lozan the Apache Warrior. Each of the bio's are paired with a quote, a moral, and a # if students want to connect with others that were inspired by the same person over the internet. This book could be a great jumping off place for students to become inspired by, research, and learn more about these brave men and women. Following s Grades 3-6 Biography This book includes powerful short biographies of some of the most inspiring people this Earth has known... from Joan of Arc, to Fredrick Douglas, to Lozan the Apache Warrior. Each of the bio's are paired with a quote, a moral, and a # if students want to connect with others that were inspired by the same person over the internet. This book could be a great jumping off place for students to become inspired by, research, and learn more about these brave men and women. Following student's individual explorations, they can create a final project to share with the class. During sharing time, student's should have an opportunity to discuss why they were inspired by the particular person.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mr. Cochran

    What I appreciate most about this collection is its balance. It features the profiles of well-known historical figures such as Susan B. Anthony, Mohandas Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr., but also lesser-known figures such as Lozen the Apache Warrior, Chiune Sugihara, and Wangari Maathai. Resisters are fighting against discrimination based on gender, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, as well as fighting for the right to be educated, the right to vote, or the right to fair representatio What I appreciate most about this collection is its balance. It features the profiles of well-known historical figures such as Susan B. Anthony, Mohandas Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr., but also lesser-known figures such as Lozen the Apache Warrior, Chiune Sugihara, and Wangari Maathai. Resisters are fighting against discrimination based on gender, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, as well as fighting for the right to be educated, the right to vote, or the right to fair representation. It also includes six profiles of individuals, or groups, whose resistance made a great impact on society over the past decade. This book serves as a great primer for young people beginning to explore social activism and is probably best-suited for middle grade readers.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ju

    While I did enjoy this book as an introduction to these people and I did find it inspiring, I wasn't a fan of how some of the profiles were written. A few had a "happy ever after" feel to them, and some just didn't seem to make a lot of sense as to why that person was resisting...like, they were just written so vaguely and it made me wonder why the author even chose those people if she wasn't going to add a bit more about why they resisted. I do plan on reading more about the people featured in While I did enjoy this book as an introduction to these people and I did find it inspiring, I wasn't a fan of how some of the profiles were written. A few had a "happy ever after" feel to them, and some just didn't seem to make a lot of sense as to why that person was resisting...like, they were just written so vaguely and it made me wonder why the author even chose those people if she wasn't going to add a bit more about why they resisted. I do plan on reading more about the people featured in this book by reading other books about them (either a memoir, autobiography, or biography)

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jacqueline

    Inspiring book with a good choice of subjects. The forward by Cory Booker was excellent. Each profile provided just enough information to make the reader want to learn more. I really enjoyed the quotes at the end of each section, particularly Fannie Lou Hamer's p. 132 "Our vote is one of the most valuable things we own." I was a little surprised that the entries for Harvey Milk, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X did not mention their deaths by assassination.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Amanda S.

    Overall I was pretty pleased with this. Obviously it’s not overly in depth with every single person in the book. There are good sources listed at the end that can help. This was just a cool little book with resistance as the theme. Two things though. The 14th Dalai Lama was never a regular person. He had been a religious leader since he was four. Also, mentioning how some of these people died is important to add on their resistance. This especially stuck out to me with Harvey Milk.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Aidan

    I thought that this book was really good. I really liked learning about many important people, and what they did. I liked how there were so many people and how each story was short. This was a great book that taught a lot of lessons.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Elaine

    Brief, perhaps too brief, introductions to a variety of people known for resistance -- from Joan of Arc to Nelson Mandela to The Women's March.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    Very inspiring stories. I hope teen/tweens find their way to this book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Stephens

    Inspirational!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Carol

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sara

  19. 4 out of 5

    Johanna Calico

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

  21. 4 out of 5

    Izzy Obert

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jennie Seaman

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lissa

  24. 5 out of 5

    Worthreading

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mrs. Ralls

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rachael Bookfairs

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ruby

  28. 4 out of 5

    J Hubbard

  29. 4 out of 5

    Leah

  30. 5 out of 5

    Abby Obert

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