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.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Ron's Big Mission

Ron's Big Mission
By: Rose Blue and Corinne J.  Naden
Illustrated by: Don Tate
Buy it here!
Additional Resources

Ron's Big Mission is a children's book based on the real story of Ron McNair. In this book, Ron is a nine-year old boy who dreams of being a pilot. He is a regular at his local library where he spends most days of his summer vacation reading books about airplanes. However, in the town of Lake City, South Carolina during the early 1950s, only white people can check out books from the library. This made Ron angry. Ron stood up for himself and all of the other African Americans in town by causing a scene and standing up for his beliefs. Ron was able to desegregate his local library while earning himself his very own library card.

Element 3: Exploring Issues of Social Injustice:
Ron's Big Mission is a story about a boy who feels passionately about checking out his own books. Many white people in the library offer to check out the books for him, but that is not the point. Ron feels so strongly about having the right to check out his own books. He is courageous and stands up for himself. This book is related to Element 3 because the author tells the history of segregation in a way relatable for children. Children are used to celebrating diversity, whereas, this book will help them explore diversity and the unfair treatment different groups of people had to encounter.

Follow-up Activity:
Ron's Big Mission could be an awesome book to read to your class during February, Black History Month. This book could be taught at grade levels K-2. Before reading this book, teachers could ask students if they have a library card to the local public library.  Depending on the results, this could be an amazing opportunity for a field trip to the local library to either sign your students up for library cards or to go and explore everything the library has to offer.
Ron McNair is a real hero who actually become an astronaut. Unfortunately, Ron McNair passed away when his space shuttle, Challenger, exploded in 1986. Today, the Lake City Public Library is dedicated to astronaut McNair. There is so much information on Ron McNair, that this could lead to a lesson on creating an autobiography. Often during the month of February, educators tend to focus on Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King Jr. and their contributions. They definitely are amazing people and we need to learn about them. However, there are many other people who made a difference who are worth learning about, like Ron McNair.

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