Child of the Civil Rights Movement
Written by: Paula Young Shelton
Illustrated by: Raul Colon
Grade Level: 2-4
Element 3: Social Movements and Social Change
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Child of the Civil Rights Movement is an amazing children’s book written from first hand prospective of Paula Young Shelton. Paula was only four years old when her family, who then lived in New York, decided to join in the Civil Rights Movement and March from Salem to Montgomery. In her book, Shelton recalls her memories of the people her parents planned these peaceful protests with, one being Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She is honored to have been part of such a historical time, and, as she grew older, was sure to carry on the legacy of her family.
This book is a perfect representation of Element 3, due to its factual content. This is a first-hand account of someone who was actually there while the marches were happening. She was not famous, and not everyone will know who she is if you ask them, but she was involved, and therefore, helped change the world we live in. This is a great example for a child who thinks they could never make a change, due to their size or age. Paula was just four years old when she marched, proving you can do whatever you set your mind to at any age.
Child of the Civil Rights Movement could be used in several different ways in a classroom. Since it is a first-hand account, I would love to use it for its historical facts. It speaks of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., but not just about his I Have A Dream speech. It speaks of multiple other marchers who were there, proudly marching for their cause, showing you do not have to be put into history books to make a difference in the world. The language of this book could also be an educational tool. There are multiple parts that use a great deal of adjectives, and similes, which could aid me in the development of my students’ grammar and literacy skills. I would also love to use this book as a motivation to children. I want them to know that if they do not like the way something is going, or do not approve of a rule, they have the right and the ability to change it. No matter race, religion, sexuality, size, age, or gender, anyone can start a movement for the change they want to see in the world.
Child of the Civil Rights Movement is extremely relatable because of the main character, Paula. She is a young girl who just wants what is best for her family, so she goes out and gets it. I found this book to be inspiring and motivational. I am very pleased that I bought this book and do plan on using it for a lesson in my future classroom.