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, March 24, 2015

Freedom on the Menu
Author: Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrator: Jerome Lagarrigue
Grade level: K-4
Blog post by: Adriana Rivero

Buy it Here!

About this book:

This book offers readers a child's point of view of the events occurring during the Civil Rights Movement.  Connie, the main character, always respected her place in society.  She knew to drink from the "colored" water fountain and not sit by the counter when eating food downtown.  After watching four insanely courageous teenagers of color sit by the counter downtown of the snack-bar, Connie's family became involved in the movement for equality.  Connie used to watch the young American girls sit by the counter and twirl in the chairs as they ate their banana splits.  This made her realize how badly she also wanted to help her family in order to be able to freely do the same.  The sisters and brothers began making signs and risk everything they had for a chance to be viewed as worthy as any other American.  After many attempts to establish a community of equal rights, being sent to jail in protest, and listening to Martin Luther King speak within a Chapel, Connie and her family gained the rights they so courageously worked for.  At the end of the book, Connie and her family visited the downtown snack-bar, where they were able to sit on the counter and enjoy a banana split-- with a cherry on top!

Element 4: Social Movement and Social Change 

In order for student's to understand what it means to succeed in making a social change, they must first understand how important it is to work collaboratively.  Freedom on the Menu does a great job on showing how people of color went from nothing to everything, by joining their forces and working together for a greater cause.  This book also helps students to engage with one another to find common ground on what they believe in.  The essence of this book, being so straight forward, will assist students in understanding how their own voice can create change within their own community. Your voice matters!

Follow-up Activities: 
Since Freedom on the Menu demonstrates a successful way collaboration makes a social change, perhaps a follow up activity can include creating a change within your student's own community.  Breaking students up into groups and letting them discuss one aspect of their school community that they would like to change or work together to change-- for instance becoming a more recyclable energy school, a change in school lunch options to aid in health, or even a cultural movement and become more aware and accepting of different cultures that may not be present in your school community (make sure to use an idea YOU know can work and possibly discuss with Principle). Work together with students to find ways to create this change.  Build posters with them and hang them within the school hallways. This can demonstrate to students the power of their voices, both individually, and collaboratively.  Another way would be to discuss heroes in general. What do your students consider a hero? Why? Do they help make a change? Is this change a positive or a negative one?

Extra Resources!

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