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, October 24, 2011

Title: March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the Word
Author: Christine King Farris
Illustrated by: London Ladd
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc
Reading Level: ages 9-12

Summary: This book, written by Martin Luther King Jr.'s very own sister Christine King Farris, illuminates his infamous march and movement that changed our country forever. Farris highlights Martin's upbringing and how that had an affect on his modest personality. She describes, in detail, how his march began and progressed as individuals of all creeds, races, and backgrounds from around the country came together to follow Dr. King's movement. She describes how Martin put his all into his speeches and was well aware of how crucial his words were in order to get the right message across to his listeners. Farris touches on Martin's efforts to connect with other leaders that shared his same passion for civil rights. The illustrations and powerful words, including actual dialogue that occurred the day of the march. create a realistic image of what actually took place on that day, the day Martin Luther King Jr. made his infamous "I Have a Dream" speech.

Element Four: The story of Martin Luther King Jr. is the perfect example of element four: social movements and social change. This particular individual envisioned a dream that, at the time, seemed impossible to accomplish. However, with his courageous attitude he set out to start a movement that would change American's lives forever. He was one man with a large dream; he set out to address an issue of social injustice by uniting a group of people to create change. He inspired a countless number of Americans to join the civil rights movement by organizing a march and delivering a speech, that would eventually become one of the most famous speeches ever heard.

Activity: This story would be most appropriately read during black history month, or specifically on Martin Luther King Jr day. This story is a great way to inspire children to make their own change in our society. After a read aloud of this story, students (ages 9-12) will write a reaction piece as two why and how Dr. King made a social change in America. Questions that could be addressed could involve, but are not limited to, if you were alive during the civil rights movement would you have been an activist of the movement? How would you have been involved and what would have inspired you the most to do so? Do you think you would have been a social-change icon like Martin was or would you be a supporter (marcher) of the movement? Why?

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