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, November 7, 2013

Heart on Fire: Susan B. Anthony Votes for President

Author: Ann Malaspina
Illustrator: Steve James

Purchase the book here!

Heart on Fire depicts the uphill struggle that Susan B. Anthony faced in order to gain the right to vote.  When the time to register came, Susan B. Anthony quickly made her way to town hall because under the Constitution, “All persons born in the United States have the same rights, as citizen" and she felt this also applied to women and the right to vote.  Her registration was eventually granted, and on voting day Susan B. Anthony cast her vote along with several women.  However, several days later all of the women were arrested for voting illegally. Before her trial she toured the country trying to gain support for women’s rights and gained a great deal of encouragement.  Unfortunately, on the day of her trial she was found guilty; however, she believed so strongly in her rights that she refused to pay her court fine or go to jail.  Instead, she continued to advocate for women for years to come until June 4, 1919, when the Nineteenth Amendment would eventually be passed, giving women the right to vote. 

Element IV: Social Movements and Social Change
This book is a wonderful depiction of Element IV because it clearly discusses the social injustice against women, but focuses on the pride women, such as Susan B. Anthony, had and the efforts they made to end this social injustice.  This is a story of encouragement and helps to showcase the ability that one person has to make a difference.  While it took many people to eventually pass the Nineteenth Amendment, it started with the persistent voice of several women who believed very strongly in something and wanted to make a difference.  Just like our students, Susan B. Anthony was just an ordinary woman, and yet, she helped to change the world in a more positive way.   This book teaches all students, not just females, that they should stand up for the things that they believe in and they too have the power to make a change. 

Classroom Activity:
Class Vote: The teacher will facilitate a classroom vote for a topic of her choosing and allow both the boys and the girls in the classroom the opportunity to cast their vote.  The teacher will then review the results and determine what the outcome is when both parties get to vote.  Following that, the teacher should take away all of the girl’s votes and see if that changes the results.  For the sake of the lesson, the teacher could then reverse the roles/situation and take away the boy’s votes (leaving the girl’s votes) and see if that alters the results.  Depending on whether or not the outcome changes, the discussion may vary, but the teacher can facilitate a follow up discussion asking the girls and boys how they felt knowing their vote would not count.   This can be tied into the importance of having a democratic classroom today and why each of the students are allowed to have a voice and share their thoughts and opinions with the class.  

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