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, October 25, 2011

Sit In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down

Author: Andrea Davis Pinkney
Illustrator: Brian Pinkney
Grade Level: 3rd

Summary: Four friends sat down at the Woolworth's lunch counter on February 1st, 1960, hungry for a doughnut and coffee. Everyone else was served and they were ignored. The sign on the door said, "WHITES ONLY," and David, Joseph, Franklin, and Ezell were not white: they were African-American. The men came back every day, each day as peaceful as the day before, and everyday they stayed hungry. The four men inspired sit-ins across the country until thousands of hungry African-Americans were using Dr. Martin Luther King's peaceful ways as inspiration. Find out how everyday people used peace and perseverance to satisfy an entire culture's appetite!

Element 4: Sit In relates to Social Movements and Social Change because it tells the true story of everyday people acting against social injustice. While Dr. Martin Luther King provides inspiration to the people, the book highlights how it was students who took social action. Also, the book stresses the importance of peaceful demonstrations rather than violence. It shows how sitting, normally seen as a passive activity, can be more aggressive and effective than any punch, insult, or weapon.

Activity: Because the book has a running theme of food, ingredients, and recipes, I would have the students made their own recipe for an injustice they would like the change. Students can model their recipes from the one on the last page of the story. Ideas might range from ending bullying, treating others with respect, and embracing other cultures. More ambitious topics might be legalizing gay marriage or changing immigration laws. Students will come up with 8-10 steps for their "recipe," decorate, and display!

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