Every day of the school year, teenagers sit through history classes, learning about adults who shaped history. Sure, they might throw in the story of a young person here and there, when the story fits the topic. They might mention a few teenaged soldiers or the girls who went on strike for better working conditions in factories. In America, they'll certainly mention Sacagawea, who met Lewis and Clark when she was only sixteen. But for the most part, the younger side of history is nonexistent. When I ask my friends what they think about this, they respond, "Well, teenagers haven't done anythng important."
We Were There, Too!: Young People in U.S. History, written by Phillip Hoose, proves them wrong. The book starts of with the story of Columbus' cabin boy and finishes with the young activists of the nineties. Every single story is true. Some of these youth, like Frederick Douglas and John Quincy Adams, became famous as adults. Some, such as Jennie Curtis, a young strike leader, vanished into history. Still others died as teenagers, like Samuel Maverick, a seventeen-year-old killed in the Boston Massacre.
One of the reasons I like this book is because it talks about minorities. Hispanic-Americans, Africans-Americans, Asian-Americans, women, and, of course, young people are all written of. It honestly changed the way I saw the world. After reading it, I felt proud to be a teenager and wanted to go out and make an impact. I learned of most of the people in my Teenagers Who Changed the World series from this book. I encourage everybody, regardless of age, to read it.
Note: I am not being paid to praise this book. I did not receive a free copy from the author or publisher. I got it from the library and read it several times. This is an honest review.