Do Something - Books about Making a Difference for Young Adults

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Article in Themes category.



  • Hero Type, by Barry Lyga - Kevin doesn't believe he's really a hero after he stops the abduction of a girl in his school - but that was just the catalyst in what becomes a fight for freedom of speech and expression.
  • Hope Was Here, by Joan Bauer - Sixteen-year-old Hope and her aunt go to Mulhoney, Wisconsin, to work in the Welcome Stairways diner, and they become involved with a campaign to fight local corruption involving the town's mayor.
  • Flush, by Carl Hiaasen - Noah and his younger sister need to prove a casino-boat owner is polluting the waters, in order to save their dad (who gets into some pretty interesting activism of his own).
  • Hoot, by Carl Hiaasen - Roy joins the fight to save a colony of burrowing owls from a proposed construction site.
  • God of Beer, by Garret Keizer - High school students in Vermont form a non-violent protest group about alcohol.
  • The Gospel According to Larry, by Janet Tashjian - 17-year-old Josh, who wants to make a difference in the world, secretly maintains a web site that ends up getting a lot of attention. The sequel, Vote for Larry, sees him come out of hiding in order to run for President and advocate for his beliefs.
  • Green Thumb, by Rob Thomas - Grady does research in the Amazon rainforest, discovering a form of tree communication and raising environmental concerns.
  • Lights, Camera, Amalee, by Dar Williams - 7th-grader Amalee makes a movie about saving endangered species.
  • Stuffed, by Eric Walters - After watching a movie like Supersize Me, Ian decides to take a stand against a fast-food multinational.
  • Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place, by E.L. Konigsburg. 12-year-old Margaret Rose Kane spearheads a campaign to preserve three unique towers her grand uncles have been building in their back yard for over forty years.
  • Saving the Planet and Stuff, by Gail Gauthier - 16-year-old Michael goes to work for an environmentalist magazine in Vermont run by friends of his grandparents.
  • Going, Going, by Naomi Shihab Nye - 16-year-old Florrie leads her friends and a new boyfriend in a campaign which supports small businesses and protests the effects of chain stores.
  • The Kayla Chronicles, by Sherri Winston - Kayla combines her love of dancing, journalism, and activism - her goal? Positive roles for girls.
  • The Misfits, by James Howe - Four students who do not fit in at their small-town middle school decide to create a third party for the student council elections to represent all students who have ever been called names.


  • - inspiring teens to change the world, and giving them ways to do it.
  • 50 Simple Things - to go along with the book mentioned above.
  • - offers a variety of materials that show young activists how to: volunteer, raise money for a cause, and organize activist events.
  • offers a section just for teen activists. Teenagers can learn about causes and read inspirational stories of students that have made a difference.
  • Youth Venture provides grants for teen activists. Past Venture Activist teams have prepared students to be responsible voters, helped students resolve problems without violence, and encouraged students to have high self-esteem.
  • Veg Teen offers resources for those interested in vegetarianism and animal rights.

This list was inspired by and based on the list created by Boulder Library.