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, April 10, 2011

Let Freedom Sing

Author: Vanessa Newton
Grade Level: K-3

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Summary: Using the simple lyrics, "this little light of mine," and mixing illustrations of important historical figures during the Civil Rights Movement makes this book understandable and age-appropriate for young children to learn about an important time in U.S. history. The song "This Little Light of Mine" was the anthem of the Civil Rights Movement during the 1950's and 1960's. This book provides a tribute to the unforgettable heroes during that time, such as Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., and Ruby Bridges and through song explains how they fought for change in a world filled with inequality.

Element 4: Let Freedom Sing is a terrific book to explain social movement and social change. This is because it provides examples of historical figures during the Civil Rights Movement that were able to make a difference by protesting and fighting for what was right through rejoicing by what they believed in and by song.

Activity: This book is great for a whole class read aloud. I would read the story to the children and every time it would say "this little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine" I would have the students read/sing it along with me. Since the book only provides three historical figures during that time I would provide the students with other names and information about other people who also made a difference that were able to "let their lights shine." Then I would have the students come up with ideas on how they could make a difference and be a hero, whether it is in their lives or another person's life. Then with these ideas they will make a poster of themselves making a difference or change and then at the bottom they will write out their change ending it with "this little light of mine I'm going to let it shine."

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