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.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Grandad Mandela

Grandad Mandela by Ambassador Zindzi MandelaZazi Mandela (age 8) and Ziwele Mandela (age 6) 

Illustrated by: Sean Qualls 

Grade level: Pre-K to Grade 2

Order it Here from Strand Books NYC 

Summary:  This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of Freedom Fighter, political prisoner, and President of South Africa Nelson Mandela as told by his daughter and her grandchildren. Many examples of Element 3: Issues of Social Injustice are found within the story of Mandela and his family, but also tells of the larger reality of the Apartheid Era for South Africa.  Element 3 states that 'students will learn about the history of racism...and how forms of oppression have affected different communities.'  The book addresses how racist policy and violence were enacted on black people and people of color in South Africa, and how this oppression manifested in their lives through segregation, police brutality, and imprisonment.  The book also states the influence of colonization ideology and how it created a violent, oppressive, and hierarchical society for the people of South Africa. 
The book gives children the details of life for Black South Africans under White rule and the oppressive regime Mandela stood against.  It gives children an understanding of the historical events taking place at that time, but also a personalized version of how these events effected the women and children of the Mandela family.  It allows readers to experience Mandela as a public political figure, but also as a son, husband, grandfather, and great grandfather,  allowing for reader's to see his humanity.     

Activity: This book could be used in a Read a Loud, explaining to students that the authors of this book are real children who wrote about their Great Grandfather.  Students could then be asked to interview an older member of their own family (or community) about a time they stood up for something they believed was right or  an important experience in their life.  Students could then create a book with their drawings, pictures, and recordings and present it to the class, allowing for them to be child authors like Zazi and Ziwele.

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