Books for changing the world

Haymarket Books for Young Readers

At Haymarket, we seek to publish books for changing the world, for readers of all ages! Here's a reading list of our favorite books for young readers, perfect for facilitating important and honest conversations between kids and their parents or guardians during this time of crisis and uncertainty.

All of these books are currently 30% Off.

(ages 3-6) With gorgeous illustrations throughout, this picture book shows how a father and daughter’s love cannot be broken even when they are separated by prison bars. A great way to explore difficult topics and emotions with young readers. 

(ages 4-8) From New York Times Bestselling Author Mariame Kaba, a poignant, beautifully illustrated story of a little girl’s worries when her Mama goes to jail, and the love that bridges the distance between them.

(ages 7-10) Kamila Shamsie retells “The Ugly Duckling” with great empathy and a warm heart. Cast out and all alone, the odd duckling will need all her bravery and curiosity to survive. Her journey is a search for belonging, but what she finds is the right to be different.

(ages 7-10) Greta lives with her brother Hansel on the edge of a great forest - a forest in danger of destruction. GreedyGuts, their aunt, doesn't appreciate Hansel and Greta's plans to replant trees and save the forest. In fact, she thinks they're horrible little vegetarians. GreedyGuts doesn't give two hoots about nature. She favors luxury and living it up: eating, shopping and partying hard and so she hatches a plan to get rid of the meddling, do-gooder kids deep in the woods. With her trademark subversive and comic eye, Jeanette Winterson retells the classic tale of “Hansel and Gretel.”

(ages 7-10) Feminist author Rebecca Solnit reimagines a classic fairytale with a fresh, feminist Cinderella and new plot twists that will inspire young readers to change the world. This book will bring a little magic and hope at a time when that is so desperately needed.

(ages 7-12) Expanding, transforming, and subverting the magical tale of Sleeping Beauty, Rebecca Solnit revitalizes this classic story with a new perspective: Maya, the sister who stayed awake. Waking Beauty tells of Maya’s great adventures, the inspiring, extraordinary artist and changemaker who “found [beauty] everywhere and gave it to everyone”; Atlas, who guarded the golden apples and was definitely not a prince; and Ida, who slept for a century and woke up in a very different world. The perfect follow-up to Cinderella Liberator, Solnit seamlessly weaves these compelling narratives, crafting a story that is as delightful and enchanting as it is empowering.

(ages 11 and up) Nia has met the man she wants to marry. Marcus is kind, clever and handsome, with a beard so dark it is nearly blue-black. Nia demands a single promise from him – that Marcus will never enter her study, her private space. But when Marcus's curiosity begins to mount Nia feels more and more uneasy. Will he betray her? Can he accept that no means no? Can a woman ever have a room of her own? Malorie Blackman brings her unparalleled understanding of human nature to the story of “Bluebeard.” 

(ages 8-12) Powerful, concise profiles of 101 social justice changemakers with discussion questions and additional resources for each activist profiled. A wonderful resource for learning about people who have made a difference in our world.  

(ages 9-12) An extraordinary book about war and peace through the eyes of a twelve-year-old boy, this book will help young readers understand more about one of the worst conflicts afflicting our world today.

NFL Super Bowl Champion and three-time Pro Bowler Michael Bennett adds his voice to discussions of racism and police violence, Black athletes and their relationship to powerful institutions like the NCAA and the NFL, the role of protest in history, and the responsibilities of athletes as role models to speak out against injustice.

Original meditations on race, gender, identity, and the joy and pain of growing up from award-winning poet and scholar Eve L. Ewing, Electric Arches is an imaginative exploration of Black girlhood and womanhood through poetry, visual art, and narrative prose. 

Award-winning poet Eve L. Ewing explores the story of the Chicago Race Riot of 1919—which lasted eight days and resulted in thirty-eight deaths and almost 500 injuries—through poems recounting the stories of everyday people trying to survive and thrive in the city. Discussion guide available for download.

In a country torn apart by war, a teenage girl blogs her story of family, friendship, and life under American occupation and illustrates for readers the connections between young people around the world and across borders. 

Renowned journalist Gary Younge explains why Martin Luther King Jr.'s “I Have a Dream” speech maintains its powerful social relevance by sharing the dramatic story surrounding its initial delivery.

A beautifully illustrated graphic novel about resilience, forgiveness, hope, and what it means to find your own voice behind prison walls.