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 28, 2011

This is the Dream

Author: Diane Z. Shore and Jessica Alexander

Illustrator: James Ransome

Grade Level: 2-4

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Author Information

The book, This is the Dream, shows what segregation is and how it separated black and whites in schools, lunch counters, water fountains, buses, libraries, and everyday activities in life. It gives children a friendly explanation of the racism that was occurring prior to and during the Civil Rights Movement. This is the Dream shows some prominent leaders and regular citizens that fought for "justice for all," and it allows students to see the outcome of that fight.

Element 3 Issues of Social Injustice:
This is the Dream is a story that allows children to further explore the actions of African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's. It paints an image for students to see how racism played such a large role in southern American states and how that racism changed over time. A huge theme of this book is justice for all. It is important that students understand the struggles that African Americans endured during these times and the steps that were taken to reach the outcome of equality which is portrayed towards the end of the book.

Activity: An activity that I would do after reading this story is to have students make a diversity collage of their own pictures. I would do this by asking the students to first bring in a 4x6 picture of themselves a few days prior to reading them This is the Dream. Then I would bring in a number of various magazines that the students can cut images out of. They will be given the instructions to create a collage of diversity using their own pictures and images of people from different backgrounds that they need to paste onto their own pictures. I will show them an example of one that I make of my own picture and also the ones that are in the book. They will also have to write at least one paragraph about what the important of "justice for all", and it will be attached to their collage and put on the bulletin board. The bulletin board background will be made into the United States flag and it will be titled after our book This is the Dream.
This activity will help students to see clearly how racism is cruel and it will also reinforce that the actions that were taken by various numbers of people during the Civil Rights Movement allow citizens of America today to have "justice for all."

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