Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Make You Want to Make a Difference


top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. The feature was created because The Broke and Bookish are particularly fond of lists (as are we!). Each week a new Top Ten list topic is given and bloggers can participate.

 Today’s Topic: Books That Make You Want to Make a Difference


Kellee’s list is awesome! A couple would have made it to my list, too! I am also focusing on books about helping fellow humans.

Be a Changemaker

1. Be a Changemaker: How To Start Something that Matters by Laurie Ann Thompson

This nonfiction book is accessible and a fantastic resource for teens. The book is designed and written well. It made me want to go out and be a changemaker!

From my review: My favorite aspect of this book is the way it is organized. The chapters and headings are very clear, and it moves in a fluent, understandable manner. Thompson provides very informative, necessary lessons about honing and fine-tuning leadership skills. Some of the sections I liked most were the tips about leading meetings (from standard operating procedures to icebreaker activities), the sample business plan with budgetary advice, the ways to make money (with grants and marketing tips), and the speaking skills (particularly the section about elevator pitches). Across the country, more and more states are requiring the development of advisory groups for high school students to learn life skills. This text would be perfect for this setting. I can also see the text working well in a business or entrepreneurship class. The best part about the way this book is set up is the fact that teachers can assign chapters to groups or teach the portions of the text that matter most to their syllabi or curricula.

how it went down

2. How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon

This book hit me in the gut. It made me so angry that I wanted to speak out immediately!

From my review: In light of the recent protests, this is an incredibly insightful book that is very important. The point-of-view shifts every 2-3 pages, which was very thought-provoking. Too often, books depict stereotypical portrayals of members of cultures, and the gamut of characters within this text felt very realistic. For some, this book may be too gritty and too uncomfortable. There is nothing comfortable about discussions regarding inequities and privilege in society. But if you walk down the halls of my high school, there is nothing in the book that is not a concern in schools. This is not a feel-good read, but it made me think. And thinking…is a very good thing.

on the run

3. On the Run by Alice Goffman

Not only did this book make me want to go out and conduct an ethnography, but it made made me livid at the way society promotes inequity.

From my review: Inspired by a college course in her sophomore year, Alice Goffman seeks an ethnographic experience in inner-city Philadelphia. She gets a part-time job tutoring an African American girl, Aisha, and soon befriends the boys of 6th Street (pseudonym). Mike adopts her as a younger sister, and she comes to live with these boys—studying their every move. This quality piece of ethnographic research is a page turner. While it reads a bit more like a book than a scholarly publication, readers can glean her methodological approach through the footnotes. Goffman’s mission is clear. She wants readers to understand the inequities these African American boys of 6th Street face, and she shows how the criminal justice system (both law enforcement and the justice/prison system) are not working. I was ashamed at the actions of the police, specifically, and think this is very educational to readers of all ages, particularly in the wake of the racially based crimes that we consistently see in the news.


4. Wonder by R.J. Palacio

The first line in my review is that this book made me want to be a better person. I can’t stress this enough. I recommend this book constantly.

From my review: This book made me want to be a better person. It changed the way I look at the world, and it is just as incredible as everyone says it is. A friend urged me to push it to the top of my to-read list and said it was one of those books that everyone should read–regardless of age.

August Pullman was born with severe facial deformities. He says, “I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.” Because he is continually in and out of surgery and recovery, Auggie has always been home-schooled. When his mother suggests he start the fifth grade in a private school, he is against it but decides to give it a try.

Told from multiple perspectives (including his sister who is in high school and other kids in the middle school), this book will capture your attention, page-by-page. I feel compelled to read it aloud to everyone, everywhere.

I urge you to put aside any books on your to-read list and pick this one up. I am convinced it will touch anyone who reads it.

all american boys

5. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

I tried not to repeat any of the titles from Kellee’s list, but I just couldn’t help myself. I am halfway through the audio of this book, and I have wanted to pull over the car because it makes me so angry. This book absolutely makes me want to make a difference and stand up for what is right.


I decided to focus on books that make me want to help my fellow humans instead of animals; we may have to do another post about animal books that make me want to make a difference.


1. The Milk of Birds by Sylvia Whitman

This book made me want to help two different types of kids: refugees and students with learning disabilities. I love how the two are intertwined in this story, and K.C. and Nawra’s story will give students a way to help those that struggle in the middle of war.

From my review: Both of these girls are not represented very often in books, and they are both so important to know. Through this book, the reader gets to see the intensity of the situation in Sudan and refugees’ power in overcoming however they can. They also get to see the brilliance of students with learning disabilities. There are so many students in our school just like K.C., and too many of their peers would judge them by their struggles instead of by their heart and soul.


2. Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

Like The Milk of Birds, Linda Sue Park’s too true book puts us smack-dab in the middle of Sudan, but also gives the reader a way to help the situation. How can you help? Read A Long Walk to Water.

From my review: Linda Sue Park took a true story of a lost boy’s survival (watch a video about the true story here) after being chased from his village because of war and transformed it into a novel that will leave the reader with a feeling of awe. Awe of the bravery and pure fearlessness of Salva and the other Lost boys of Sudan and awe of the world of riches and blindness we live in while a horrendous war wages on the other side of the world. I love this book because it is very accessible to children, it won’t bog them down with too much history; however, it will definitely make them aware of the situation in Sudan.


3. Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Reading this book shows why those of who love teaching love it. We can be someone’s Mr. Daniels.

From my review: “Mr. Daniels is the teacher that I hope I am, that I wish I could be, that I want all teachers to be, and that I want to be friends with.”

all american boys

4. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

I’ve always been vocal about supporting the #BlackLivesMatter movement and discussing social justice with my friends and students. This book pushed me even further. It gave me a “in” to discussing this others. Racism, white privilege, and prejudice need to be talked about; I’m so glad there are texts coming out that give an avenue for this discussion.

children growing

5. Children Growing Up with War by Jenny Matthews

This books will help those resistant to helping refugees realize what we are trying to save our fellow humans from.

From my review: Fortunately, as an American, very few wars touch our lives. Unfortunately, our news doesn’t focus on many of the tumultuous conflicts that are active throughout the world, so we have become detached from reality. Our students are even more detached. That is why this book is important. It puts it all into perspective and really makes me feel and think. We rarely look at the humans that are being affected by the wars, we always focus on getting the bad guy. This book puts faces to the people, specifically the children, being affected every day.

Which books make you want to make a difference? 

RickiSig and Signature

2 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Make You Want to Make a Difference”

  1. I love this weeks topic, I am such a fan of books that can make me laugh. You’ve got some great picks this weeks, and I am definitely going to add a few of these to my own TBR. Thanks for the recommendations! 🙂 You can check out my picks here.


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