Great Stories Club

"Finding Your Voice: Speaking Truth to Power"

Introduction by Susana M. Morris, Associate Professor of Literature, Media, and Communication at the Georgia Institute of Technology

The old adage goes, "children should be seen and not heard." That conventional wisdom implies that speaking up and out is the exclusive realm of adults. It also suggests that young people don't have important things to say — that they should stay out of adult conversation.

The truth is that young people have been vital to making change by speaking and showing up in the face of adversity. Take Joan of Arc, for example. In 1429, while just 18 years old, she led a French army to the besieged city of Orléans in a victory over the English. But we don't have to go back to 15th-century France to find young heroes. On November 14, 1960, 6-year-old Ruby Bridges became the first African American child to integrate a white Southern elementary school. Her mother and U.S. marshals had to escort young Ruby to class because of violent mobs in her hometown of New Orleans. Bridges was born the same year that Brown v. Board of Education made "separate but equal" public spaces illegal, and her bravery was a milestone in the Civil Rights movement.

There are countless examples of young people taking a stand against injustice. "Finding Your Voice" includes texts that highlight the necessity and power of young people speaking up, despite challenges, social pressure, and even the threat of bigger dangers. Whether it is finding righteous anger as a superpower in Mark Oshiro's Anger is a Gift or speaking up through poetry and art as in Elizabeth Acevedo's The Poet X, "Finding Your Voice" features young people taking a stand against racism and other injustices in order to make the world a better place.

Reading list

Applicant libraries may select up to four books from the reading list below.

  • The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
  • I Am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina
  • Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero
  • Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson
  • American Street by Ibi Zoboi
  • Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro


Applications accepted online Sept. 5—Nov. 16, 2018
Grant notification: Dec. 7, 2018
Programming Term: March 1—Dec. 31, 2019
Workshop for grantees: March 7—8, 2019 in Chicago
Online final report due: January 31, 2020 or within 30 days of final program

Advisors for "Finding Your Voice"

Development of the "Finding Your Voice" series was led by Susana M. Morris (Georgia Institute of Technology), Angelina M. Cortes (Sno-Isle Libraries), Joslyn Bowling Dixon  (Prince William Library System) and Amira Shabana (Proviso East High School Library), all members of ALA's TRHT GSC Implementation Team.

Programming Materials

Promotional Materials

See Also

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