Intern Writes and Illustrates a Civil Rights Book

I am Anisa, a high school summer intern at the Policy Center.  When I was in the office, a team member saw me working on a personal project and ask me to tell her about it.  To her surprise, I’m writing and illustrating a book about civil rights leaders, geared towards children. She asked me to write a little bit about the project.


Possible Cover Photo

Every year, every decade, and every era contain problems and issues, including the rights of individuals. However, with this difficulty comes people who bravely stand up for the voices of the downtrodden. In this book, I hope to showcase a variety of activists during time periods when people were working to promote political freedom and expand personal civil liberties.  The individuals profiled will represent diversity in color, race, and gender.




Malala Yousafzai, Before: I used a small black marker to draw the person and make the background designs, and then colored them in using prismacolor markers. After: I used Photoshop to color the background.

What is it?

The book tells the true stories of famous civil rights leaders, and how their actions touched the lives of many people. Accompanied with a series of bright illustrations, the biography demonstrates how anyone, no matter their background, ethnicity, or even age, can change society for the better.


Who will it feature?

Prominent figures, such as Malala Yousafzai, Mahatma Gandhi, Gloria Steinem, Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez, Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges, Lena Horne, Joan Baez, Medgar Evers, Audre Lorde, Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Harriet Tubman, and James Baldwin will be featured in the book.

Why is it important to me?

Many families, including mine, immigrated to America from another country. In the 1960s, my grandparents came from a small village in Gujarat, India in search for better opportunities and education. After graduating from college, my grandfather began searching for a job. With a strong background in mathematics, engineering, and business, he soon became successful. He patented many inventions and played important roles in different companies, including as CEO. However, many obstacles speckled his path. As a minority, he faced discrimination, where at times others judged him based more so on skin color and ethnicity than merit. Furthermore, listening to my grandfather’s story and the lives of many others showed me the importance of working hard to overcome inequality and prejudice.

What is my process?

The illustrations are made with prismacolor markers, and the background is edited with Photoshop. First, I drew the outline of the person and made the background designs. Then, I moved over to the computer to finish the background. The writing will incorporate a researched paragraph spread on who the individual is, their origins, and how and why they chose to take action.

As both the writer and illustrator, I hope to help readers understand why people fight for civil rights, how they accomplish their goals, and inspire the audience to become leaders in their own communities.


Keep a lookout for the book, coming to Amazon soon (fingers crossed I find a publisher)!
By Anisa Patel

Senior at The Bolles School

Future plans: I hope to incorporate business, finance, and economics with technology and design.



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