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December 2011 :: The YES! Breakthrough 15 issue  

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day that says, “I will try again tomorrow.”—Mary Anne Radmacher

Dear Educator,

Ah, the delight of winter break. Unhurried time for family and friends, and for thinking about people you admire and respect.

Who are your and your students’ heroes? You’ll find inspiration in YES! Magazine’s Breakthrough 15 issue that celebrates 15 extraordinary people transforming the way we live. We also feature Americans Who Tell the Truth, painter Robert Shetterly’s collection of 150 portraits, quotes, and curriculum on people who have used their gifts to bring change to this country. Plus, resources on maps that stretch the mind and a project that uses poetry to help students transform ignorance into empathy.

We’ve almost reached our goal of getting YES! Magazine into 2,000 additional classrooms by the end of 2011. You can help us get down the home stretch. Forward this free one-year subscription offer to teachers and school librarians who would appreciate YES!.

Here’s to a fantastic 2012.

Jing FongBest,
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Jing Fong
Education Outreach Manager, YES! Magazine

P.S. Include the Winter 2012 YES! National Student Writing Competition in this quarter’s plans. Details coming soon!

Special Offer for Classroom Teachers and School Librarians: Free 1 Year Subscription to YES!


Photo courtesy of Charles Sanderson When You Tell Them My Story, Please Mention that I Like Flaming Hot Cheetos

Rich, stuck up, crackheads, hippies. That’s how Charles Sanderson’s students in rural Oregon regard city life. Racist, trailer trash, guns, swamps is how Bryan Chu’s students view the country landscape. How do you bridge that divide? Read what happens when middle students from rural and urban Oregon take the risk of writing someone else’s life story—a stranger from another school—in poetry form. This is Charles’ story.    READ »


Portrait of Howard Zinn from Americans Who Tell the Truth. Painting by Robert Shetterly. Americans Who Tell the Truth

Fannie Lou Hamer. Dr. Paul Farmer. Rachel Carson. Cesar Chavez. All four and 166 others in Robert Shetterly’s portrait collection, Americans Who Tell the Truth, have fought for all people’s rights with courage and dogged determination.

YES! Recommends Americans Who Tell the Truth (AWTT) for the authentic way painter Robert Shetterly and educator Michele Hemenway use the portraits and accompanying quotes to help students not only understand their heritage, but also to stand up for what they believe in.

AWTT lesson plans (grades 6-12) and activities span nine areas of social justice. One of these truth-tellers just might grab your students’ attention and awaken their desire to create a better world for all.



The Page That Counts graphic The Page That Counts

Were people age 18 and older more likely to be married in 1960 or in 2008? Who uses the phone to tell time? The answers and more brain-tickling statistics are in The Page That Counts!    MORE »

Eboo Patel photo YES! Breakthrough 15 Hero: Eboo Patel

Eboo Patel decided never again to be silent about prejudice after a friend said he felt betrayed when Patel did nothing to protect him from anti-Semitic remarks. Patel wants to make interfaith cooperation a social norm, and believes youth is the force that can do it.    MORE »


ODT map thumb Maps That Stretch Minds

ODT’s innovative maps and materials—downloadable samples, quizzes, puzzles, and more—offer unique views of the world, and teach people a more inclusive perspective.    MORE »

Fred Korematsu photo Civil Rights Curriculum: Fred Korematsu Institute

In 1942, 23 year-old Fred Korematsu was convicted for refusing to go to the incarceration camps for Japanese Americans established under President Roosevelt’s Executive Order No. 9066. Korematsu continued to speak up against injustice until his death in 2005. Check out the Korematsu Institute’s impressive civil rights curriculum kit of lessons, videos, and posters.    MORE »


Still from I Will Be A Hummingbird video I Will Be a Hummingbird

Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai tells the beautiful tale of a hummingbird determined to save its home from a destructive forest fire. She reminds us that insurmountable odds shouldn’t prevent us from trying our best.


Lily Yeh by Cleveland foundation “Because”

Excerpt from Terry Tempest William’s poem, nominating Lily Yeh for a YES! Breakthrough 15 Hero.

Because she is a builder of communities through art;
Because she understands beauty is not optional,
but is a strategy for survival;
Because she takes that which is broken—a piece of tile, a village, a human heart, and listens to what it
has to say and then begins the process of
engagement; …

Author and conservationist Terry Tempest Williams nominated Lily Yeh to be a YES! Magazine Breakthrough 15 Hero. Instead of a letter, Williams submitted a poem. In her tribute, “Because,” Williams eloquently shares the many reasons why Lily Yeh is worthy of consideration and celebration. Who are the people your students might be inspired to honor in such an endearing and authentic way? Read the complete poem, connect to a classroom activity, and learn more about Lily Yeh.
   MORE »


January 2011. “Kelp wrapped in a shirt was slowly unwound after being pulled from the dye vat.” Photo by Mike Keefe. To Dye For

Ask these three questions about this photo so you and your students can understand the image, its message, and why it’s interesting (or not): What do you notice, What are you wondering? And, after uncovering some facts, What’s next?    MORE »

'YES! gives us stories of possibility—exactly what the world needs now.' Frances Moore Lappe. If you value YES! as much as Frances does, please consider making a donation, large or small. Our stories of possibility exist because of you.

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Each quarter, we take on today’s critical issues with a fresh and positive point of view. Our stories fuse powerful ideas and practical actions, and inspire people to create a better world.