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, November 11, 2013

Child of the Civil Rights Movement

Title of the Book: Child of the Civil Rights Movement
Authors: Paula Young Shelton
Illustrator: Raul Colon
Reading Level: Ages 5-8
Publisher: Dragonfly Books

Purchase Child of the Civil Rights Movement online now!

* A Finalist for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work for Children.

"History comes alive in this vivid account." - School Library Journal, Starred

If you like Child of the Civil Rights Movement and would like to find more books like it, click here.

Child of the Civil Rights Movement is a children's picture book about author Paula Young Shelton, the daughter of civil rights leader Andrew Young. Paula was four years old when most of this story took place and brings you back to her childhood during the American civil rights movement. She was born in New York where there were no Jim Crow laws but her family made the choice to move back to Georgia to fight for their rights. She then grew up in the Deep South where Jim Crow laws were all around her. The goal is for readers to get a sense of the civil rights movement as seen through the eyes of a young child.

Element 4 - Social Movements and Social Change:
Once you have explored the issue of racism in Element 3, Child of the Civil Rights Movement is an essential teaching tool for Element 4. Paula shares with readers personal experiences of segregation and the events that were going on around her during the American civil rights movement. She ties in "Uncle Martin" (Martin Luther King Jr.) and the rest of the "Civil Rights Family" to her story. This book incorporates both iconic and everyday people who stand together to address the issue of racism in America, which is a crucial part of teaching Element 4. Most importantly, Child of the Civil Rights Movement can inspire students to take a stand. It highlights how ordinary people can unite and create change! In addition, it is relatable to students because it was written from a young child's point of view.

Follow-up Activity:
It is important as teachers to follow-up a reading on social movements and social change with an activity. A follow-up activity that I would recommend for this book would be an in class protest. Have students choose a topic of injustice that they see around them and is of importance to them - in the school, in their neighborhood or community, in their homes, or even in the country as a whole. You can incorporate a number of activities into this protest. Have students write a letter or create a speech to present to those creating the issue of social injustice. This allows them to address the issue and explore future steps and resolutions. You may also want to have students create a poster illustrating a key phrase or message. For example, the front cover of the book shows Paula holding a flag that reads EQUALITY. Lastly, conduct an in class protest where students are able to use their posters, speeches, etc. in action. As a result, students should experience the courage and determination that Paula and her family exhibit as a civil rights family.

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