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.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Dream of Martin Luther King

Author: Faith Ringgold


"My Dream of Martin Luther King" is an excellent example of an Element 5 book.  This book by Faith Ringgold is about a young girl who watches a program on television about Martin Luther King Jr.  She falls asleep and dreams about King's life in detail.  She sees him as a six year old child during protests and violence, she sees his family, she sees the abuse, she describes the horrible ways African Americans were treated, etc.  King grows into a man in her dream, and she describes how his dream of equal rights enfolded.  She tells the readers of his passion, the steps he took to make his dream a reality, and the way in which he never gave up hope.  She speaks of Rosa Parks and Mahatma Ghandi and how they influenced King.

This book is extremely motivating, inspiring, and real.  After students read this, they will understand from a child's perspective what an amazing person Martin Luther King Jr. was and how much he impacted the way of society is today.  This book will open students eyes to what a perseverance and passion can do.  Reading this will raise their awareness about this sensitive and moving piece of history and show them that they, too, can raise awareness about issues of the past AND present. 

I would use this book as a pre-cursor for an activity about equal rights and awareness of what happened in our country's history.  By reading this, children will understand how far some people went to make the world we live in an equal and safe place.  Children will be motivated and knowledgeable about this topic and feel that they too have the power to keep others aware and make change.

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