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.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
Title: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry 
Author: Mildred D. Taylor 
Summary: Cassie and her three brothers live in 1933 Mississippi.  They are one of few black families in their community to own the farm land they work. Many of their neighbors are sharecroppers, virtually enslaved to white landowners.  As Cassie and her brothers become increasingly aware of the discrimination and violence the black people of their community face at the hands of their white neighbors, they observe what happens when the adults in their lives attempt to fight this injustice.  
Element Three- Exploring Issues of Social Injustice: "Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry" explores the racism of the post-Civil War South.  The book shows the effects of racism on a small community, on children, and on adults.  It deals with discrimination, violence against non-white people, unequal education opportunities, poverty, and sharecropping.  An exploration of racism in the United States in the 21st century would connect the book's topics with current social injustices.
Activity: Have students explore an issue of racism found in the United State today.  For example, have them research school conditions in a variety of school districts.  Discuss why there is a difference in school quality in different areas, and whether or not race plays a part.  Other subjects that students can research are found here and here.  Discuss what can be done to change injustices that stem from racism.  After researching a subject, students can present their findings in the form of a news report or newsletter.

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