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, September 8, 2008

If You Lived When There was Slavery in America

If You Lived When There Was Slavery in America

If You Lived When There Was Slavery in America by Anne Kamma, describes the intense moments of hardship that slaves faced, and their dedication and determination to be free. This book addresses more than fifty questions about the life conditions of a slave in America. Were all slaves brought over from Africa? What did slaves wear? Did slaves go to school? How would slaves find out the latest news? Could you be made a slave even if you were free? The answers to the questions are honest, straightforward, and simplified for students in the 4th - 5th grade to understand what occurred during the years of slavery.
I was interested in this book because it addressed numerous questions I had as a child, as well as questions my 5th grade students wondered about when they learned about people who fought against slavery, such as Harriet Tubman and Fredrick Douglass. I would use this book to motivate students to think of questions they have about slavery (small group activity) and discuss where they will find the information. What book, magazine, and website address their questions. This activity will encourage students to critically think, ask questions, and explore resources.
This book could be used effectively to address the five social justice education. Students will learn about traditions, values, and ways they can take social action

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