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.

Friday, November 8, 2013

This Is The Dream - SJE 4: Social Movements and Social Change

Written By: Diane Z. Shore & Jessica Alexander
Illustrated by: James Ransome
Grade Level: 3-5
Purchase It Here!"This Is The Dream" celebrates social change and social movement through vivid imagery, as well as the use of poetry. The illustrations on the front cover invite children of all diversities to open the book and learn something new. Because the book is written in poetic verse, there is a sort of flow to each page. I also think the poetry in the book allows for using the book in more than just a social science context. It can be brought to life during a Language Arts lesson where students are learning the different forms of poetry. The poetic stanzas can be broken apart and analyzed by their historic content. I find that this book fits well when blending subjects. Needless to say, it can fit perfectly into a scripted curriculum, as well.
"This Is The Dream" illustrates scenes of segregation in various forms - in restaurants, at the water fountain, in schools, on the bus, etc. This is what the first half of the book is dedicated to. The second half is dedicated to showing the changes that have occurred because of social movement and change. My favorite thing about this book would be that it has many children throughout; it emphasizes that children too were affected by segregation, and they can also be a part of the integration and social change. In this quick read, social change is addressed, but that is not to say the book can stand alone as a teaching point.
The book will work well in conjunction with a p
articular social movement. It can emphasize points that may be unclear to students, as well as just providing something great for students to become involved with. In terms of specific lessons, this book can be used as an opener to a social science lesson. This can give students a friendly, interesting preview of what they will be learning. They are presented with the segregation and the conclusion of what came from social change and movements. Enjoy it!

Two Resources that can work with "This Is The Dream" 
& other Social Change & Movement Unit Plans: 
Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad

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