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.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

One MIllion Men And Me

Author: Kelly Starling Lyons

Illustrator: Peter Ambush

Grade Level: K-8

Buy it here!

About the Author

Fun Activities for Kids

One Million Men and Me is a picture book that vividly recounts the historic Million Man March.  The movement took place at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. on October 16, 1995. The author retells the events of this day from the perspective of a young girl who accompanies her father.  The epic story, that the young girl shares, is filled with heroic and inspiring black men.  The book portrays colorful and lifelike illustrations of black men from all walks of life (different ages, religious beliefs, cultural and economic backgrounds) who marched, stood shoulder to shoulder, and joined hands for peace and unity.  The author’s purpose is twofold.  First, the book celebrates the special relationship between an African American father and his daughter. Secondly, book commemorates an important and historic day for Black America.

Element 4: Social Movements and Social Change
One Million Men and Me, as well as this element, teaches students about a movement of iconic and everyday people who unite to address issues of social injustice.  The Million Man March brought together Black men who were committed to empower themselves and each other to make positive and lasting changes within their families and communities.  The activists were inspired by speakers such as Min. Louis Farrakhan, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Mrs. Rosa Parks, and Dr. Maya Angelou who gave powerful voices to this movement.  People around the nation and world supported this widely televised movement.  According to Lyons, after the movement, black men registered to vote in record numbers, there was a spike in applications to adopt black children, some men started new businesses and organizations, and others volunteered.  The black men worked to make their communities safer and economically sound, to be better fathers, husbands, role models, community leaders, and activists.  

  • According to Lyons, there are many young people that have never heard of the Million Man March.  The author hopes that this picture book will help to change that.  Teachers can use this book as an example of another historic movement since the Civil Rights Movement. 
  • On Million Men and Me can also be used to address current issues of injustice and racism towards of black men and boys like in the case of Trayvon Martin.  This book highlights the power everyday people have to mobilize and collectively impact and change the image and quality of life for black men and boys in America.  
  • After reading this book, have your students create and share artistic responses to the Million Man March.   Example:  (Teacher explains) You have seen pictures of people holding a protest for the Civil Rights Movement.  Now, I want you to create a sign with your own words in favor of the Million Man March. Have your students create a sign with bight and bold letters and/or catchy slogan. 
  • Students will use their signs to participate in a mock student-led public march in the classroom or during lunch to demand equity and justice for black men and boys.
  • As a larger activity, have your students plan a new march (either as a class or in small groups) that would appeal to correct an existing injustice in society. Questions to guide the planning may include:
    • What is the specific nature of the injustice? (Cultural racism, institutional sexism or racism, governmental policies aimed at minors, environmental destruction, etc.)
    • To whom would you be appealing for change? (Congress, the White House, the general population, etc.)
    • What are your specific demands, and how should they be addressed? (Reform of existing laws, monetary compensation, acknowledgment of the problem, etc.)
    • Who would speak at your march and why? (Certain entertainers, politicians, activists, etc.)
    • How would you communicate the message of your march? (Internet, social media & networks, news, mailings, grassroots campaigns, radio, etc.)
    • What groups do you think might counter-protest your march?
    • What other obstacles do you foresee in both the process of planning as well as the march itself?
    • Source: Social Studies Lesson Plans from PBS TeacherSource

Other Resources:

Million Man March Pledge


  1. Thanks so much for featuring my picture book, One Million Men and Me. I'm honored that you're recommending it as a resource for elementary school social justice education. Here's a link to some fun printables for kids that go along with the book: Keep up the wonderful work. Thanks again for including One Million Men and Me.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Hi Kelly,

    Thanks for the comment. Thank you for telling this story!