Children's Books About the Birmingham Campaign

In 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. and members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference began their campaign to desegregate Birmingham, Alabama. Birmingham was viewed as one of the most segregated cities in the country and demonstrations were outlawed. King would later be arrested for being involved in a non-violent demonstration, which led him to write “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” The story of King’s arrest and letter is well-known, however, many may not know about the vital role children played in the Birmingham Campaign. Thousands of children joined the Children’s Crusade to protest segregation and were met with force by Birmingham’s police force. Even though they were being attacked, the children continued to march. Many children ended up being arrested and stories of their march made headlines around the country. Their courageous actions pushed officials in Birmingham to meet with civil rights leaders and desegregate the city.  I wanted to create a list of books about the Children's Crusade to show children that they can be actively engaged in social justice and make a difference in the world. Here is the list:

Grades: Kindergarten-5

The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, A Young Civil Rights Activist  by Cynthia Levinson

Nine-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks intended to go places and do things like anybody else. So when she heard grown-ups talk about wiping out Birmingham’s segregation laws, she spoke up. As she listened to the preacher’s words, smooth as glass, she sat up tall. And when she heard the plan—picket those white stores! March to protest those unfair laws! Fill the jails!—she stepped right up and said, I’ll do it! She was going to j-a-a-il! Audrey Faye Hendricks was confident and bold and brave as can be, and hers is the remarkable and inspiring story of one child’s role in the Civil Rights Movement.

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Children's Halloween Books About Courage and Friendship

Halloween is right around the corner! Even though it is going to be different this year without trick or treating, there are still several things you can do to make Halloween fun for kids including reading a book. I decided to create a list of Halloween books that were not too scary so any kid would enjoy reading or listening to them. Also, I chose books with themes about friendship and courage. Here is the list:

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams

This book is about facing your fears. A little old lady leaves her house for a walk in the forest, finding herself far from home as night falls. She encounters articles of clothing who start following her, but she refuses to let them frighten her. When the little old lady runs into a Jack-O-Lantern, she hurries home. The articles of clothing and Jack-O-Lantern show up at her home and the little old lady has a bright idea.

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Congregational Visit: University Baptist and Brethren Church, State College, PA

It was great to visit with folks in the adult education hour at University Baptist and Brethren Church in State College, PA, this weekend. We shared about their work for peace and justice, On Earth Peace's current program opportunities, and the Kingian Nonviolence framework. If you would like to schedule an OEP Program Update or Kingian Nonviolence intro session for your congregation, please contact [email protected] - Matt Guynn, director of church and community organizing  

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Children's Books About Climate Change

I recently attended a webinar about climate change and how the pandemic has impacted relief efforts. In the webinar, the wildfires happening on the West Coast were discussed and I learned how damaging they have been. So, I decided to make a list of children’s books about climate change to introduce children to the topic and provide information on what they can do to help. Here is the list of books:

The Trouble with Dragons by Debi Gliori

“The world is populated by some beastly dragons who care nothing for how much they mess up the oceans, chop down the trees, gobble up all the food and use everything up without stopping to think. Those dragons need to wake up to what they are doing to their world before it is too late. A delightful and energy-filled picture book that addresses concerns about the environment in the most child-centric and delightful way possible.”

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Internship Highlight: Our Favorites!

As the semi-weekly internship highlights turn towards highlighting our OEP organizers, we thought this would be a great time to highlight what some of the OEP intern’s value most!

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