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, October 5, 2015

Ruby Bridges Goes To School: My True Story

Title: Ruby Bridges Goes To School: My True Story
Author: Ruby Bridges
Photograph Compilation Copyright: Ruby Bridges
Reading Level: Guided Reading Level - Kindergarten, Developing Reader - Grades 1-2
Publisher: Scholastic Inc

Find out more information on the book and purchase here!

Summary: This is the true story of Ruby Bridges who was the first African American child to go to a white elementary school. The parents of the white children didn't want a black child in the school so they pulled their children from the school and Ruby was alone with the teacher for many months. The children eventually came back and Ruby was able to be friends and enjoy school with them. Now white and black children can go to school together. Ruby grew up and got married; she is now a very well-known historical figure.

Element #3 Exploring Issues of Social Injustice:

This element is about diving into the historical aspects of racism, sexism, classic, homophobia, religious intolerance, etc and how they changed the way the world works today. It talks about how historical events changed different communities for better or worse. This book is very good for this element because it talks about the racial injustice issues in 1960 regarding segregation in schools. The photos in the book are also a fantastic view back in time to see how things really were back then. It is filled with real pictures of people with picket signs, pictures of Ruby, her teacher, her class-mates and more. It explains what the issue of the segregation was, what happened and then how the problem was solved. I believe this book is a great gateway to the historical issues of segregation for younger kids to understand this element in an easy, simple way. Ruby is now a civil rights activist, but you can learn even more about her here!

Ideally, this book should be used during Black History Month around the time they learn about Martin Luther King Jr. and segregation. It would be used as a Read Aloud lesson, where we would pause and talk about things they might not understand. We would really be stressing to pay attention to the pictures, because the follow up activity after reading the book would be for them to make their own picket signs to support desegregation, as if they lived back in this time when Ruby was not wanted in the school with the white children.

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