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.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Brave Girl

Author: Michelle Markel

Illustrator: Melissa Sweet

Grade Level: 3-5

Can Purchase: HERE

Resources: HERE 

Summary: Brave Girl is about a young immigrant woman who traveled to America with her family, named Clara Lemlich. She quickly began working in the clothing industry, as no one would hire her father. She was surprised to see how many girls would trade in their education for working in the factories. In the factories the conditions were not great at all. All of the girls worked hard long hours, which made Clara feel like they were being treated like slaves. Thinking about how terrible of these conditions, Clara decided action needed to be taken. Clara started by leading several strikes, which led to her getting beaten and arrested. Even though it was tough, she decided to do more, and lead a city wide strike. This strike began the largest walkout of women workers in America.

Element: Brave Girl is a great example of Element Five: Raising Awareness because it promotes raising awareness on issues that might affect a child. In this book there is the example on how to stand up for what you believe in and how to do so. Clara did just this in the book, she let others know about the issue and raised awareness. 

Activities:  This book allows for a great opportunity for activities within the classroom. After reading this book, you can have a discussion with the students about different social actions today. You can work with the students to join together in something most of them feel strongly about, and come up with ideas on what they can do. They can then write about what they could do, and if possible the class can actually do something. If there is not something that the entire class could work together to accomplish, each student could write about individual things they feel strongly about and then could discuss with others in the class. I think that with either activity students can learn a lot because it really gives them the opportunity to tell other people what they feel strongly about and learn that they have a voice. 

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