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, April 7, 2014

Grandmama's Pride

Author: Becky Birtha
Illustrator: Colin Bootman
Grade Level: 2 - 5

Summary: Grandmama's Pride is a story about two northern girls that go down to the south with their mother for the summer to visit their grandmama.  The two girls are very much used to no segregation laws in the north and when they get to the south they find themselves not being able to do things.  The oldest of the two girls, Sarah, throughout the summer, learns how to read.  Towards the end of the summer when the two girls go to the store with their grandmama Sarah, being able to read now can read the signs that say whites only etc.  When they return home at the end of the summer, Sarah continues to read in the newspapers all about civil rights movements taking place in the south.  The following summer when they all return to the south they find everything to be very different.  When they finally got to see grandmama, she told the girls how they black community was able to fight back and got laws passed so that there was no longer segregation.  

Element 4:  This book is a great example of the struggle that the African - American community faced in the south in the 1950s.  It is also a great book to use in the classroom because the story is told through the eyes of a child and not of an adult.  Little does Sarah know that her grandmother by not taking the busses etc. is involved in a silent way of protesting what is happening.  This book shows that the smallest effort could make a difference.  It also shows how through newspapers, the whole country was becoming aware of what was happening in the south at that time.  

Activity: An activity that I would use in my classroom would be an activity to show my students how it feels to be mistreated.  I would assign groups based on shirt color all light colored shirts in one group and all dark colored shirts in another.  For half of the day I would show favoritism to the light colored shirts, the other half of the day I would show favoritism to the dark colored shirts.  This would give the students a small glimpse into what the African - American community struggled with every day.  At the end of the day, I would have the class make journal entries talking about how they felt when they were in the group that was being favored and how they felt when they were in the group that was not being favored and if they could make a connection to the things that Sarah witnessed on her summer vacation to the south.  

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