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.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Child of the Civil Rights Movement

Child of the Civil Rights Movement

By: Paula Young Shelton & Raul Colon

This story is about the Civil Rights Movement. It is told through a child's perspective, where her family relocates from New York to southern America to help fellow black people fight for their rights. Interestingly, the author, Paula Young Shelton, was the daughter of a former Civil Rights activist, Andrew Young. The character talked about her first protest, her family's opinions, as well as the discrimination they had experienced on their trip to the south. She called her family, "The Civil Rights Family." Her family included famous Civil Rights Movement leaders such as; Randolph Blackwell, Hosea Williams, Andrew Young, James Orange, Ralph Abernathy, Dorothy Cotton, Jean Childs Young, and Martin Luther King Jr. Throughout the story, the author used historical facts to create and emphasize the perspective of an African- American child during the Civil Rights Movement.

Element Four: 
This book can be used as an example for Element Four: Social Movements and Change. It takes place during the time period when African Americans were fighting for their rights. People were being discriminated against, abused, and disrespected because of the color of their skin. The Civil Rights Movement was a time when people gathered and fought for a change. Because the author was the daughter of an actual Civil Rights Movement leader, it gave the book a more valid description of a child's perspective and experience during this history-changing time period.

After reading this book, students can depict a famous Civil Rights Movement activists' experiences by telling them as if they were their children. This can be an opportunity for them to do conduct research and gather information on the Civil Rights Movement leaders' lives. Like the author, students can retell history through a child's perspective. They can use real facts to enhance their stories. After writing their stories, we can gather together as a class and share our narratives. This is a perfect activity for students to learn how to conduct research, write stories, and share what they learned with their classmates. 

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