BOOK REVIEW: Animal Rights: How You Can Make a Difference

Animal Rights: How You Can Make a Difference (Snap)

Rhonda Lucas Donald’s book would make a fine companion to Julia Allen’s Animal Rights. Not only are they geared toward a similar reading group, but they near-perfectly bookend each other because Allen’s book explains what the issues are, and Donald’s book advises youngsters how to get involved.

Donald profiles several children who have embarked upon campaigns to help animals. Included are a girl who helped her state pass a law to add a bittering agent to antifreeze; a boy who rescued a flock of classroom ducks who were slated to be killed; a boy who created an anti-sealing website; a girl who convinced her school to add more vegetarian choices to the lunch menu; and a girl whose petition helped put a dog racing ban on the Massachusetts ballot. (There are no graphic images or descriptions to upset young readers.)

The bulk of the book is dedicated to advising young crusaders on how to stick up for their cause. Readers are given tips on identifying local issues, doing research, setting goals, and getting the word out. In the section on identifying trustworthy sources, the author states that “.gov” and “.edu” sites are good sources for reliable information. However, readers are not told that both government agencies and the university sector are heavily invested in factory farming and animal research, so their information about animal rights issues may not always be unbiased.

I was quite happy to see the Donald’s emphasis on polite, inclusive activism. For example, she says:

Be polite when others talk to you about different ideas. You don’t have to agree with them. But you’ll always gain more support for your cause if you are respectful.

I’ve seen some adult activists who could use that advice!

All in all, this one’s a winner. And I am tremendously heartened to see the amount of animal rights material that is now available to young people. I wish this would have been available to me back when I was as budding activist.

(review originally appeared at goodreads.com)

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