Who Will Shout If Not Us?

Student Activists and the Tiananmen Square Protest, China, 1989

From the Series Civil Rights Struggles around the World

  • Interest Level: Grade 6 - Grade 12
  • Reading Level: Grade 9

In this gripping story of a historic clash between repressive government forces and individuals seeking freedom, we’ll explore the reasons that led students in China to defy authority. We’ll learn the details of their demands and of the shattering events that followed when they took to the streets to press for their civil rights. “In the blink of an eye, the tank was approaching the sidewalk and closing in on me. It seemed as if the barrel of its gun was inches from my face. I could not dodge it in time.”―Fang Zheng, a student demonstrator at Tiananmen Square In the spring of 1989, university students in Beijing grabbed world headlines with a courageous stand against decades of Communist authoritarian rule in China. Thousands and then millions of students and workers from all over China gathered on the city’s Tiananmen Square to support demands for democracy, clean government, and increased personal freedoms. China’s premier, Li Peng, and his supporters wanted to crush the demonstration, and the government declared martial law on May 12. The world watched as army tanks and troops reached the city center on June 2. Soldiers fired their guns as students struggled to flee. A single demonstrator captured international attention as viewers around the globe watched him face off against encroaching military tanks. The army was in control of Beijing, and thousands of demonstrators were killed, wounded, or arrested.

Format Your Price Add
Interest Level Grade 6 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 9
Genre Social Studies, Young Adult
Category Diverse Books: Race & Ethnicity, Diverse Books: Social Justice, Diversity
Copyright 2011
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Twenty-First Century Books ™
Language English
Number of Pages 160
Publication Date 2010-08-01
BISACS YAN025030, YAN038030
Dewey 378.1'981095109048
Graphics 1-color illustrations, Full-color illustrations
Dimensions 6 x 8.5
Lexile 1010
ATOS Reading Level 8.4
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 140865
Accelerated Reader® Points 5.0
Features Awards, Bibliography/further reading, Glossary, Index, Maps, Photo captions, Reviewed, Sidebars, Source notes, and Timeline


  • Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year, Winner, 2012
  • Pennsylvania School Librarians Association Young Adult Top Forty, Winner, 2011


The Horn Book Guide

“These series entries address three struggles in the worldwide history of civil rights. Strong texts provide readers with essential background information on such topics as the ILGWU, apartheid, and Chinese government oppression; the activist movements’ beginnings, confrontations, results, and significance within their nations’ histories are then discussed. Many dynamic photographs illustrate the information-rich (if dense) volumes.” —The Horn Book Guide

Library Media Connection

“Presenting an in-depth view of groundbreaking events and movements in world history, these volumes are loaded with archival quality photos, quotes from key players, and eyewitness accounts. details historical background information is provided so that students understand the context of each topic and its implications on future events as well.” —Library Media Connection


“These titles are notable for the level of care in both their content and production.” —VOYA

School Library Journal, Series Made Simple

“These volumes are a treasure trove of information about the fight for civil rights across time and the globe. . . . The cruelty with which humans can treat one another is unflinchingly presented but the extraordinary grace exhibited in the face of it rises to the top.” —School Library Journal, Series Made Simple


“Well stocked with small color photos, side boxes (including one on the still-anonymous ‘Tank Man’), and supportive back matter, this makes a serviceable assignment title on the topic.” —Booklist

Author: Ann Kerns

Ann Kerns has edited and written many nonfiction books for young readers. She also enjoys reading, travel, cooking, and music. Born in Illinois, Ann currently lives in Minneapolis.