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.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Kid's Guide to Social Action

The Kid's Guide to Social Action
Author: Barbara A. Lewis
Grade Level:4-8

Summary: This book is a guide to students on how to get involved in their communities and take social action. The author provides a step-by-step guide for students on how to solve problems in their communities. The book teaches students to go around their communities, see a problem they care about, and try to come up with a solution to solve it. The author makes sure to make students aware that to solve a problem in a community, you can't work alone, but will need to rally a group of people to support and help you with your cause. The book also gives student's pointers on how to do research on their problems, how to reach out to city officials through letters or on the phone, and take a survey and make a petition. The book even goes into detail on how to give a "power speech" to inform or persuade people on your cause. What is great about this book is that it offers stories of real kids and the actions they took to better their communities, making the idea of social action not just an abstract idea, but a concrete one.

Element 6: This book fits exactly into this element because it encourages kids to get up and do something about the problems in their communities. Kids learn that they are never too young to care about the world around them, and they can actually do something about it if they try. It's important for students to learn from a young age to get involved in their communities and try to help in any way that they can. This book lets students know that even at a young age, they still have a vice that should be heard, and they should do everything they can to let that voice be heard.

Activity: One of the activities described in the book is to have a scavenger hunt doing research on the cause of your choice. With a group of people, the students will go out and try to gather as much information on their problem as they can. Different things you do will get you more points, like actually talking to a city official or business, or making an appointment to talk about the issue, or actually getting a promise from someone that they will help with the cause. In class, you can simply have students talk about problems they see in their communities and how they think they can be fixed. This book is about doing social action outside the classroom to affect the community, so the main activities would not be done in the classroom. We want this to be not just a lesson for the students, but for it to become part of their lives.