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.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

We Shall Overcome- The Story of a Song

Title: We Shall Overcome- The Story of a Song
Author: Debbie Levy
Illustrator: Vanessa Brantley-Newton
Age Range: 5- 8 years old

But it here !



This book is about the history of "We Shall Overcome" which is a very inspiring song to African Americans during the time of slavery and civil rights movement. The author takes the reader throughout the struggles of what it was like to be African American where freedom and equality did not exist for African Americans; however that this song was the shimmer of hope that African Americans needed to overcome obstacles in history. This book does not just touch upon the struggles of African Americans however it is applied to everyone around the world who is fighting to have a better life and future. It extends to the point where it brings you to present day era where it demonstrates that change is possible and that indeed  "we can overcome" not just racial injustices however poverty, the fight for freedom and equality overall.

Element 3:  Exploring Issues of Social Injustice

I think that this book exemplifies element three well because it addresses important social injustices that have occurred throughout history. It gives the reader an outline of African American history in which they struggled in overcoming racial injustices such as not being equal to white people and establishing themselves. It demonstrates how cruel people can be to their own people despite of the color of their skin. Not only does this book explore this issue but it reveals to the reader that standing up together as a whole promotes change to these social injustices.


Before I would start reading the book, I would ask all of the students to hold hands around in a circle. Have them in a circle formation in which they are able to see all of their classmates. One of the instructions I would give is to ask the students to  pay attention for a word that they feel has touched them while I was reading. Then afterwards have every one go around in a circle saying the one word they felt that touched them and describe how they felt when they heard it. With this activity, as a teacher I hope that they have felt that strong sense of unity within a whole as one class.

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