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, October 5, 2015

Child of the Civil Rights Movement by Paula Young Shelton & Raul Colon

Child of the Civil Rights Movement
Author: Paula Young Shelton
Illustrator: Raul Colon
Grade Level: P-3

The story is about the childhood of Paula Young Shelton, the daughter of civil rights activitist, Andrew Young. The book first gave late to the segregated and marginalized lifestyle of African Americans, where Jim Crow Laws ran rampant in southern states. Paula was born in New York, where these laws were not enforced. After the Freedom Riders protest, where white and black students rode on a bus to the south was set on fire in attempt protest the segregation laws in the south, Paula’s family went back to Georgia to face this inequity. The story is mainly about the protagonist’s first protest, where her father, Andrew Young was working alongside with Ralph Abernathy, Randolph Blackwell, Dorothy Cotton, James Orange, Hosea Williams, and Martin Luther King Jr. An incident occurred in a supposedly white and black inclusive restraint, where her and her family was denied seating. Her parents fought for their rights and were still denied, which lead to her family joining the American civil rights movement group to a 50 mile, 4 day march in Montgomery, Alabama. The results from this was when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the 1965 Voting Acts Right, where Martin Luther King Jr. were on television signifying a rift in civil rights. The story ends with Paula explaining how after her parents were to grow old, it would be her duty as a child, alongside with others, to continue the march for the civil rights movement. 

Element 3 Exploring Issues of Social Injustice:
Element Three was outlined in this book when discussing the racist past of the United States of America. The story gives a firsthand perspective of an African American child who faced oppression during her childhood. The book mentioned many examples of Jim Crow laws, which segregated blacks and African Americans from most public settings and constructs. The rewarding aspect of this book covered the activism against the inequity and injustices towards black people. With the detailed and captivating illustrations, as well as the descriptions in the book, introducing all the members of the civil rights movement group, the book gives much leeway for teachers to make a unit researching other activists. It gives light to other famous figures that were major contributors to the civil rights movement. What made this book unique and relevant to the theme of social injustice was how it was told by the author who was a child during the 1960s. 

As a follow-up activity, I would break the class up into groups and assign each group with a specific figure named in the book. This could include using computers, or using books from the school library. Each group is required to make a poster and present information to the class to give light to these brave social activists, during a time of horrible and unjust society in the United States. The poster can include illustrations, quotes, printed pictures, and facts about their assigned agent of social change. This could work in inclusive classrooms, as it would be appropriate to give students with IEPs and disabilities Martin Luther King Jr., the most popular figure named in this book, and would give them an opportunity to reinforce their knowledge on him. Other classes can explore figures they may not be familiar with, showing the class about other people who were involved to contribute in our current strides to become a more equal society.  

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