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.

Monday, October 14, 2013

If A Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks

Title: "If A Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks"
Author: Faith Ringgold 
Illustrated By: Faith Ringgold 
Publisher: First Aladdin Paperbacks 
Interest Level: PreK-3

Go Purchase  "If A Bus Could Talk" NOW and share it with your little ones! 

If you enjoyed this one, here is another picture book about Rosa Parks!

To learn more about the author and illustrator, CLICK HERE

       In "If A Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks", a young girl named Marcie believes that she is taking a normal bus ride to school, but soon learns that this ride is everything but normal!  With no driver present, the bus begins to speak to her and tells her that she is actually on the Cleveland Avenue Bus.  While on this bus ride, she begins to learn the story of young Rosa Parks and how she became known as the mother of the Civil Rights Movement.  Parks earned this title because when she was asked to give up her seat on the bus for a Caucasian man, she refused.  This led to her arrest and sparked controversy with the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People).  As a result of this, the Montgomery Bus Boycott developed to show that segregated buses needed to end. Was the action of Parks and other African American's enough to spark a change? You will have to read on to find out! 

Element #3: Exploring Issues of Social Injustice:  
Faith Ringgold’s “If A Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks” is a prime example of element three because it emphasizes the role that racism and segregation played in the 1950s.  Through learning about the life of Rosa Parks, students are able to recognize the oppression those of color faced in every day situations such as fighting for a seat on a segregated bus, and attending school.  This book raises children’s awareness as it teaches them that individuals from different backgrounds have various struggles that can affect his/her community.  Ultimately, this book teaches children to look past the color of one’s skin and value each individual for who they are as a person.  Furthermore, it is also exemplifies the notion of respect and treating others the way one would want to be treated. 

Follow-Up Activity: 
In order to reinforce the concept of diversity negatively impacting different communities, there are several different follow-up activities that can be conducted.  However, these activities depend upon the age in which the book is read.  For students in first and second grade, I would conduct a read aloud stopping at various points to ask questions and have students make predictions.  I would also discuss what it means to have “rights” and ask my students what rights they have as citizens of the United States.  For those who are in third grade, I would turn this story into a biography report.   After discussing what made Rosa Parks a hero, students would select an individual who took a stand and fought for what is important.  This includes Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln, and Susan B. Anthony just to name a few.  Students would be asked to provide a biography of his/her life as well as write why this person is considered to be a hero.  Upon completion, students will share their findings with the class.

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