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.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Child of the Civil Rights Movement

Title: Child of the Civil Rights Movement
Author: Paula Young Shelton 
Illustrator: Raul Colon 
Grade Level: 2-4


Paula was only four years old when her family began to take action in the civil rights movement. They resided  in New York where it was freed from the Jim Crow Laws. Then one night her parents decided to go to the "Deep South" to make a difference in the civil rights movement. Shelton came across important people such as Dorothy Cotton and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr in her life time where the essence of the civil rights movement was occurring. Shelton discovers the legacy her family has left her as being an activist in the civil rights movement most importantly continuing in their foot steps towards equality for all people. 

Element 4

I believed that this book was a good representation of element 4: social movement and social change. This book definitely exemplifies how the civil rights movement impacted the people around the nation. During the era of the Jim Crow laws where the blacks and the whites were separated for public transportation and public places such as restaurants. Paula Shelton demonstrates her curiosity as a four year old in how she views her family being a part of the civil rights movement. Towards the end of the book, Shelton demonstrates the importance to carry on the legacy of her family and understand how one person can have an impact on the entire world not just the nation. It promotes social change and enhances how the students perceive the civil rights movement. In which everyone who participate counted no matter how young or old. It gives the students hope that they too can make change in the world or in their community.


I would read this book to the class first and ask if anything in the book resonated with them. What were some of the things that came to mind when we were reading the book? How did you feel about it? Can anyone make a difference in the world? These would be good prompt questions for the students to formulate their own thinking process. I can have the students work in groups of 4 in where they can tackle social issues that are predominately a problem in their community or anywhere in general. Each group will discuss how people are affected by these social issues and the way that they can protect the equality for all man kind. Ultimately have the students decide on one social issue that everyone can agree on. Afterwards, students will begin their own investigation and look for organizations that protect the equality for the specific social issue.  

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