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, November 10, 2015


Author: Nikki Giovanni
Illustrator: Bryan Collier
Grade: 3rd
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Rosa Parks was an African American woman who worked as a seamstress and lived in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955. One day on Rosa’s bus ride home from work, she sat in the neutral side of the bus (where Blacks and Whites could sit) because the Black side was filled. When the bus driver told her to move, she refused and was then arrested. Some local women heard what happened and came together to create signs to boycott the buses. Blacks boycotted the buses for almost a year with the help of Martin Luther King Jr. who gathered support for the cause. On November 13, 1956, the United States Supreme Court ruled segregation on buses, like school was unconstitutional. Separate was not equal.

Element 4:

This book relates to element 4 Social Movements and Social Change because it tells the story of a woman who made a decision in a single moment that helped raise awareness of much larger issues at play. She refused to move to the Black section of the bus, the Blacks boycotted the bus system for almost a year and then the Supreme Court declared segregation on buses as unconstitutional. In a simple act of courage and strength, Rosa Parks made her mark and added to the Civil Rights Movement. In addition, the story tells of an ordinary person and a group of ordinary people who all worked together to create change.


Have students write in their journal one thing they would like to see change in their world and a simple act they could do to help start a movement of their own. Then have the students come together as a class and discuss their different ideas. To take the activity another step further, the students could construct their own signs or write letters protesting what they believe is unfair. The class could then present their constructions/written work to the class.

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