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, February 24, 2014

Freedom on the Menu

Author: Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrator: Jerome Lagarrigue
Grade Level: Preschool and Up

Summary: Connie, an eight year old African American girl living in North Carolina does not understand why she needs to listen to signs posted all over town telling her where she can and cannot go.  She becomes hopeful of her future when she sees four male college students stand up for their rights by sitting at Woolworth's lunch counter and refusing to leave until they are served.  This sit in gets Connie's town on board to make a difference and even though Connie is young she still contributes by helping her older brother and sister make signs.  Connie and her family are excited for the change that is to come.

Element 3:  I feel this book would be great for teaching about issues of social injustice.  This story would teach children about the history of racism through a child's eyes.  I like that it is from the perspective of a child, I think it makes the story more relatable to younger kids and shows them that even though they are young there are still ways they can contribute and make a difference.  Through this story the students get to see how African Americans were treated during this time and one of the ways they stood up for equal rights.

Activity: Although this book is for preschool students and up I would most likely use this for a 3rd grade class.  I think it would be important to define some of the vocabulary and discuss some of the historical events going on at this time to give a better understanding.  I would give students a worksheet set up to look like a menu with important vocabulary and the historical events I would be talking about. We would define the words together and then they could use the sheet as a reference throughout the story.  I would leave a lot of time for questions throughout the reading as well as time for discussion after.  I think it is very important for the students to understand what was really happening and discuss what they might be feeling and why they feel that way.  Afterwards the students can write about a time they stood up for something they felt strongly for or something they would like to change in the future.

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