10 Books for Young Journalists

Posted on January 11, 2024

by Sam P

From original print journalism to social media-based activism, media literacy is an integral part of engaging with the world around us. Do you know a young person who was a bit too honest about your new haircut? Or maybe they repeated that thing you said about a relative that they shouldn’t have heard. Perhaps we could foster this honesty and channel it into a more creative medium that can help them craft stories and share unique narratives. Check out some of these for inspiration.

Can You Believe It? How To Spot Fake News and Find the Facts by Joyce Grant

This picture book is a primer on journalism, citing reputable sources, and encourages youth to develop better critical-thinking skills. There’s a lot of accessible information out there, and this was written to help us parse through what’s valuable.

Killer Underwear Invasion! How to Spot Fake News, Disinformation & Conspiracy Theories by Elise Gravel

Graphic novels are excellent ways of distributing information visually, or, as I like to say, tricking kids into reading. Alongside quirky characters and a zany plotline, readers will learn about the perils of disinformation.

Guardians of Liberty: Freedom of the Press and the Nature of News by Linda Barrett Osborne

From the implementation of the First Amendment to current events, Guardians of Liberty is an encompassing introduction to freedom of the press, how to function in our current society, why that is imperative to justice, and more.

The Vlogger’s Handbook by Shane Birley

In our digital world, it’s safe to assume most young people know about YouTube which hosts a large portion of vloggers, or video loggers. It’s like a journal or a blog, but they film themselves doing whatever it is they’re doing.

Vlogging can be a great creative outlet for young people, ideally with supervision. It can also be a tool to connect others with what is important to us, much like journalism. The Vlogger’s Handbook is exactly what it sounds like; a handbook to learn the ins and outs of vlogging.

Your Freedom, Your Power: A Kid’s Guide to the First Amendment by Allison Matulli

Familiarizing oneself with the First Amendment is integral to solid journalism. Full of examples and court cases involving First Amendment rights, readers will learn more about how the government operates, cases that set precedents for certain things today, and, hopefully, feel empowered to use their voices.

Muhammad Najem, War Reporter: How One Boy Put the Spotlight on Syria

I hesitated to include too many biographies and memoirs in this list, but seeing as Muhammad Najem began documenting the Syrian civil war as a teen, it feels important to feature this graphic memoir. Najem’s work is an example of how youth today can impact the world with tools they already have at their disposal— to share narratives that otherwise go unnoticed.

What the Fact?: Finding the Truth In All the Noise by Seema Yasmin

Bias, conspiracy theories, hoaxes, misinformation, and how to develop the skills to find the truth, specifically in a world saturated with flashing media headlines coming at us from all angles. Dr. Seema Yasmin has created a comprehensive guide for navigating these perils and coming out on top to form our own opinions. It’s great for teens, but really, it’s great for anyone.

Chasing the Truth: A Young Journalist’s Guide to Investigative Reporting by Jodi Kantor

Written by two Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists hoping to encourage the next generation of investigative reporters, the book includes advice for reporting, creating, and disseminating information alongside information pulled from real investigated cases.

Accountable: The True Story of a Racist Social Media Account and the Teenagers Whose Lives It Changed by Dashka Slater

In 2017, a student from an Albany, California high school created a private Instagram account and used it to post racist and sexist memes. Eventually, the account was found, and its reach extended far past the confines of its “privacy.”

While this one isn’t about journalism directly, it is the type of investigative reporting that digs deep into a subject and asks the tough questions. Social media is a large part of teenage lives, and its users should be cognizant of the good and bad it can do.

Into the Streets: A Young Person’s Visual History of Protest in the United States by Marke Bieschke

Using iconic imagery from historical protests in the United States, Into the Streets strives to inform teens about the importance of standing up for what they believe in. As a visual history, it does this by showcasing how what they create can become iconic thus solidifying their point.

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