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.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Kid's Guide to Social Action

Author: Barbara A. Lewis 
For ages 8 and up, though the social action suggested within the book could be adapted for younger children.

Buy it here!

The Kid's Guide to Social Action is an amazing book-- perfect for Element 6, and for a kid or teacher who wants to make a difference. The book, which contains inspirational quotes within the chapters, not only has step-by-step instructions for kids to do everything from making a PSA to lobbying for change.

 The book is split into five parts: 
Part One: Life Beyond the Classroom
  • Examples of kids who have made big changes through social action
  • Brainstorming tricks
  • Tips for writing evaluations about what has been learned
Part Two: Power Skills
  • More examples of kids who have made big changes
  • Telephone tips and skills
  • Letter writing etiquette and advice (which differs if you are writing to, say, an editor, as opposed to a public official)
  • How to successfully use the internet for research
  • Interviewing tips and tricks
  • How to make a successful survey
  • Proposal, proclamations, and petition writing tips
  • How to gain representation on councils and boards
  • Media coverage and advertising (including "Attention getting tips" and how to write a press release)
  • How to make a successful PSA 
  • The importance of voter registration
  • Organizing a group
Part Three: Working With Government
  • Even more examples of kids in action, changing the world
  • Learning about local and state governments
  • How to change local and state law
  • Amending state constitution
  • Lobbying (how to, tips, many ways to lobby)
  • Resolutions (how to write one, as well as tips)
  • Learning about national law
  • Learning about the court systems
Part Four: Resources
  • State legislature contacts
  • Government offices
  • Contact groups for information, networking, and programs
  • Awards and recognition for kids
Part Five: Tools
  • More tips for brainstorming- coming up with ideas and choosing your main idea
  • Various blank templates to use (including phone, letter, and fax forms)
  • Filled in templates to demonstrate how to write everything from a survey to a proclamation
  • A grant application checklist
  • Voter registration (door-to-door campaign)
  • Student court chart
While I know it seems as if I have listed everything that could possibly be in this book, I have not! This book is chock full of great information, interesting stories, and hands-on, accessible ways for kids to make a huge difference.
Relation to Element 6:
 When I was assigned Element 6, I set out on a search for books for kids that did not have to do with recycling, since Dr. Picower had asked that such texts be avoided, since there are so many out there. I found the search for a book fitting Element 6 difficult, until I found The Kid's Guide to Social Action. What I love the most about this book is that it does not suggest just one problem in the world, and then give the reader a step-by-step list of how to "fix" what is broken. Instead, it gives the reader a chance to consider problems that matter to them, and gives the reader the toolkit needed to take action and begin to make a change. I think that this open-ended approach to social action gives kids the ability to stand up for something that they believe in, rather than having a book dictate what they should be trying to change.

There are so many suggested within the book! Have your students brainstorm issues relating to a lesson. Maybe you are learning about pollution, and the kids notice the lack of garbage cans on the street. Use the book to help the kids contact officials, run a letter writing campaign, advertise, write a press release, and get some garbage cans put onto the street! There are so many options and ideas in this book that I think it is a useful reference tool to keep in your desk at all times, especially as a teacher!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this review! I'm eager to read and review the book for my blog Kid Lit About Politics.