Below is an annotated list of children's literature for the elementary classroom. The books are organized by the Six Elements of Social Justice Curriculum Design (Picower, 2007). It is based on work by pre-service teachers at Montclair State University. They have read and reviewed these books and provided insights into how they can be used in K-5 settings.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Book: Martin Luther King Jr.
Author: Courtney Baker
Illustrator: Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu
Grades- 2-3

Social Justice Element 4: Social Movements and Social Change
By: Meghan Shaw

Summary of book:
This is a non-fiction book about a young African American boy named Martin Luther King Jr. He grew up in Atlanta, Georgia where he felt many people were not being treated equally. When Martin would go into the near by town, he would see signs that said “Whites Only.” This was very upsetting for Martin. These signs kept African American’s from interacting with people who were white. As Martin Luther King Jr. grew up, he learned all about racism. He wanted to change the way people viewed others who were different. He had a dream that one day everyone would be treated equal. He spoke in front of millions and spread his dream.

How this book relates to Element 4:
This book about Martin Luther King Jr. reflects the Social Movement and Social Change Element in many ways. This book, as well as this element, focuses on teaching students about everyday people who have stood together to address issues of treating people unjustly. During This book the students learn about Martin Luther King Jr. and how he was treated unfairly. They learn how Martin Luther King Jr. rose above all that he had dealt with. It informs readers that he worked with many others to achieve his dream. It shows that violence is not the answer. When people work together they can make their voices heard; change can occur. Martin Luther King Jr. took action to fight against the wrong doing of African Americans. People all over the world listened as he spoke about deserving equality. He helped to make a change.

How to use the book:
This is a great book to read for Social Movement and Social Change Element. Two of the best times to read this book are during January ( his birthday) or during February (Black History Month). After reading this book there are two simple activities teachers can engage students in. The first is to have a discussion about the student’s thoughts, opinions, and most of all feelings toward the story. The second activity would be to have students write in their journals about a dream they have that they want to come true. If teachers want, students can also draw pictures or even create their own speech.

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