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, November 28, 2014

Social Justice Activist

Title: Social Justice Activist (Get Involved!)
Author: Ellen Rodger and John Eben Field
Art Director: Rosie Gowsell-Pattison
Reading Level: Grades 3-5
Publisher: Crabtree Publishing Company

Buy this book here.

If you like this book, here is another book in the "Get Involved!" series about human rights activism.

This introductory book explores basic human rights and activists that fight to secure those rights for all people. Roger and Field introduce basic concepts like justice and equality as they describe protests spanning from North Carolina to Argentina to Mozambique.    They tackle poverty, homelessness, racism, and gender inequality in a simple yet intelligent manner. The reader becomes familiar with many influential social justice leaders, both well-known and not, and their inspiring words and actions. Lastly, readers learn about humanitarian organizations and how they are changing the world.

Element #6--Taking Social Action:
There are many opportunities in Social Justice Activist for young students to explore and apply their own inner flames towards activism.  The book challenges the reader to put themselves in the shoes of those who are homeless, poor, or face discrimination. Students will be engaged by the many photographs highlighting both young protestors and oppressed children. The authors offer many ways for students to "Get Active!" One simple way is to choose your words to respect others and stand up against hurtful speech. They advise children to become informed about an issue and get organized by forming a social justice club at school. Then, clubs and groups can write letters to politicians, hold penny raffles and bake sales, and tell the media about their plans by writing press releases.

Follow-Up Activity:
Students can pick a social justice issue from the book to learn more about and "Get Active!" There's six humanitarian organizations with contact information listed in the book, so students can look at their websites with a teacher or parent. Once the class has agreed on an issue and an organization,  they can write a press release together, create informative posters about the social justice issue, and hold a fundraiser at their school.

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