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.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Beatitudes (From Slavery to Clvil Rights)


This book is all about different African American figures in the past and present who took a stand for social justice.  This book is basically a narrative of the initative and passion inside of these people (which led them to take steps to make a significant change).  "The Beatitudes" is an empowering story of brief clips of historical figures who fought for change.

This book is a great element 4 book because it truly shows what these once 'ordinary' people did to make change for their people.  They would not have become iconic figures had they not stood up for what they believed in, and because they did, we live in the world we do today.
I would use this book during a unit or time period when we are discussing African American civil rights (at the end of a unit most likely).  I would want students to have all the information they need about what exactly these different people did (since the book is quite brief) before they read this book.  When students know what happened to the people they are reading about, and then this book presents itself, it is the perfect way to get them motivated for change.  Students can really see clearly the passion that drove these historical figures and get a deeper understanding of how it feels to make a change.

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