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, April 8, 2014

Child of the Civil Rights Movement

Title: Child of the Civil Rights Movement
Author: Paula Young Shelton
Illustrated by: Raul Colon
Reading level: Grades K-5
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade Books


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Summary:
Child of the Civil Rights Movement is a true story based on the author, Paul Young Shelton's memory as she grew up in the deep South, where there was segregation among blacks and whites. There were many things that blacks could not do that whites could do. Even as a young child, she still remembers some things that she could not do, such as not being able to eat at a restaurant or her father not being able to vote. On a Sunday morning, Paula went to Holiday Inn restaurant after church to have brunch with her family. However, the restaurant did not let them in even when there were empty tables available for them. This is where Paula had her first protest. She cried on top of her lungs, because she was hungry and was upset that she could not eat like others (whites). Her parents did not stop her; instead, Paula's parents just sat her on the floor, and left her to cry for others to see. As you can see, Paula's family had to go through many hardships and difficulties, simply because of their color. Since it was hard for the African Americans to go to a restaurant to eat food, the families took turns and prepared dinner for others to come and eat. One night, when it was Paula's family to serve food, just like any other days, Uncle Ralph, Aunt Juanita, Uncle Martin, and Aunt Coretta came over to have dinner. As Paula was hearing the adults talk she knew her dad will not be by her side for a while, because he was going away to march with other uncles. Paula also knew that marching meant getting beaten, or even going to jail. Nevertheless, that was not going to stop her dad nor any other African Americans, because they were going to bring change! Luckily, after many hard works and difficulties, African Americans hard work had paid off. On sixth of August, 1965 President Johnson had signed the bill to make sure all people, blacks and whites, could vote.

Element #4- Social Movements and Social change
Child of the Civil Rights Movement is an excellent book for young children to learn about social movements and social change. What I especially liked about this book was that, the social change of allowing both blacks and whites to vote came from an ordinary person, Paula's father and her neighbors. This will encourage other students to make or to bring a change. Often, we think that change only comes from people who have power, and from those who are superior than us, like presidents. As we have read and learned from the book Child of the Civil Rights Movement, it does not always take a superhero to change our world. Once we put our thoughts and power together, we can bring change as well. In addition, change does not always have to be "big," as changing a law. Change can also be small, as small as changing something from your local community for the better. Change can occur anywhere, from your own family to a law. What we have to keep in mind is that change is all valuable, no change can be overlooked at.

Follow-Up Activity:
I would reinforce the lesson of creating change, and that change can come from ordinary people just like you and me. First, I will hold group discussions on things that they would like to change whether it is something from school or from their community. I will give students some time to discuss in groups. Then, we will create list of things that the students want to change as a class. From the list, students can vote on 2 things and try to change them. For example, it can be as simple as writing a letter to the custodian to change the light bulb in the hall way, because one of the light bulbs have ran out and is dark. Students will form two big groups and come up with different strategies to work on this change. I would want the students ending this lesson feeling proud, that they have brought change and realize how ordinary people can bring change if they work together.

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