Big things can happen when you stand up for what you believe in. From writing a letter sharing their dreams, to collecting books and supplies around the neighborhood, these five incredible kids are using their young voices to effect change. Read on to learn how their kind, powerful acts inspired action in their communities and created global movements.


Sophie Cruz

At five years old, Sophie is one of the youngest kids who is sharing her voice to change the world. Sophie witnessed the separation of other families who have immigrated to the United States, and she feared the deportation of her own parents who are originally from Oaxaca, Mexico. She decided to write a letter to the pope and ask for help to protect her family and other families. Her letter asked the pope to support the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans Act and included a drawing with the message “my friends and I love each other, no matter the color of our skin”. Sophie’s message, coming from a place of compassion and love for her family, inspired Pope Francis to address Sophie’s cause at a joint meeting of the United States Congress the next day. Because Sophie had the courage to speak up and share her story, she has inspired others to support peace and happiness for all families.


Zach Bonner

Zach was six years old when Hurricane Charley struck neighborhoods in his hometown of Tampa, Florida in 2004. He saw first-hand the devastation his neighbors faced. With a desire to help, he set out walking through neighborhoods collecting water in his little red wagon. He ended up collecting the equivalent to 27 pickup trucks of water. Others saw the determination Zach had at six years old and wanted to join the initiative. He established the Little Red Wagon Foundation to more efficiently help a larger amount of people. His later projects are often lead by kids to help other kids. Zach’s compassion to help his neighbors inspired others to get involved, creating a movement that has lead to continuous positive change.


Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez

Since the age of six Xiuhtezcatl has been using music and speech to challenge the status quo, confront climate change, and inspire a global youth-led movement. Xiuhtezcatl performs his own hip-hop music and speaks out along with other courageous kids from the group Earth Guardians to advocate for environmental protection. He explains, “My dad taught me that all life is sacred. When I was a little boy, we would always talk about our responsibility to protect our land, our culture, our earth as indigenous people. These teachings are the foundation of the music I write and the things I fight for.” His music serves as a fantastic platform to engage other kids to come together, support each other, and protect the environment. His success in actualizing reform, shows the power kids’ voices have to bring about positive change.


Amariyanna (Mari) Copeny

In 2016 eight-year-old Amariyanna (Mari), also known as Little Miss Flint, wrote to President Obama asking for support for the children of Flint, Michigan who had not had clean water in over two years. Her letter inspired Obama to visit Flint and meet with the residents. Copeny’s mother supports her speaking out for the residents of Flint: “I couldn’t be more proud of my child, who refuses to stand down when people tell her that she can’t do something or people won’t listen to her… Mari just wants clean water. She just wants to take a bubble bath!” She has become the symbol of the kids of Flint and continued to help by raising money and provisions for her neighbors. The sincerity of Mari’s voice has drawn much-needed support to Flint, leading to instrumental change for her community.

Marley Dias

At age eleven Marley noticed something about her English class curriculum: all the books on the reading list were about white boys and their dogs. As an avid reader, Marley was disappointed that she was unable to read about characters and stories that reflected her own experiences. She wanted others to enjoy reading as much as she did by making reading a more inclusive experience at school. Marley decided to start her own book drive to collect books that featured black girls as the main characters. She launched the campaign #1000BlackGirlBooks, collecting over 9,000 books and raising attention towards the need for more diverse books in children’s literature. Marley has put her desire for change into action within her community, and in doing so she has inspired others to join in and kickstarted a literary movement.

These five courageous kids had a desire to create a better future for everyone. Beginning with small actions in their communities, they inspired others and effected change. Big things can happen when you stand up for what you believe in! Don’t you agree?

If you want to inspire the kids in your life to stand up for what they believe in, don’t miss out on our new release, THE BOOK TREE, available in September 2018.

What will Arlo do when the Mayor destroys all the books in town? Click here to learn more.

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