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.

Saturday, March 30, 2013


Author: Nikki Giovanni

Illustrator: Bryan Collier

Grade Level: 3-5

Buy it here!


      Rosa tells the story of Rosa Parks, an African American woman working as a seamstress in Montgomery, who was living in a time that segregation and racism against African Americans dominated the United States.  One day Rosa had just left work and boarded the bus she took home.  When she sat on the bus the bus driver told her to move to the "colored" section, after Rosa refuses, the bus driver has her arrested.  This event sparks a chain reaction for the civil rights movement and encourages African American men and woman to join Rosa Parks in the fight for equality.  This book also shows the marches and other examples of people coming together to ignite change and demolish segregation in the United States. Rosa is a Caldecott Honor Book as well as a winner of the Coretta Scott King Award.

Element 4:
       Rosa is an excellent example of Element 4: Social Movements and Social Change because it allows children of all races to learn about the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.  Rosa Park's story shows children how people came together to fight for equality and change.  Rosa also shows children the injustice that African American's faced in the United States, and the struggle they had to go through in order to have equal rights.  This story allows for students to read and understand that one person can make a difference and that no voice is ever too small to be heard.

        Rosa allows for many in class activities that are centered around the Civil Rights Movement and the fight for change. Race can be a difficult topic for teachers to talk about in a classroom, especially the topic of slavery and segregation.  This topic does not have to be difficult if the teacher is able to explain clearly to the students the events that occurred and the steps that were taken to change the way of life African Americans were being forced to live.  An activity that would be beneficial to the class after reading this book would be to have the students write a letter to Rosa Parks.  The students would be able to write about what they thought of Rosa (did you think she was brave?...), what they think about the Civil Rights Movement (the marchers in Washington D.C.), and what they would have done if they were in Rosa Park's position.  This activity will allow for more discussion on both the book and element four.

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