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, October 17, 2018

Hey Black Child

Image result for hey black child book             Hey Black Child
                                                                              by Useni Eugene Perkins

Illustrated by: Bryan Collier

Grade Level: Pre-K to Grade 3

Buy It Here!

Additional Resources:
Have students watch some recitations performed by children

4th Grade Presentation with Comments by Michelle Obama

This book adaption of Useni Euguene Perkin's 1974 poem of the same name brings this motivational piece to life for today's child. To accompany the renowned poem, Bryan Collier provides moving collages of present-day children, beautifully depicting a blend of their rich legacy and potential. His layered imagery brilliantly complements the repetition and pure rhythm of Perkin's words. The text is easy to read, repetitious and powerful in its simplicity. Readers will develop a sense of self esteem and pride in their people and history. Perkin's inspirational message of pride juxtaposed with Collier's empowering imagery lays a perfect groundwork for the work of self love to happen.

Element 1: Self Love and Knowledge Hey Black Child keeps self-love at the
 forefront of the poem and images and avoids a deficit lens. Useni Eugene Perkin’s 
words coupled with Bryan Collier’s powerful collages encourage pride in the 
rich history of black children as well as confidence and empowerment towards 
a bright future. Educators looking to facilitate the work of self-love and
knowledge in the classroom can use this powerful poem and imagery symbolizing 
the rich history,present and potential of black children to help readers develop
that sense of self-esteem and self-love through a beautiful understanding of their 
own legacy and potential.

An ELA class using Hey Black Child as an anchor text can examine the powerful tool of  repetition as a literary, rhetorical and poetic device. Students can begin by underlining/highlighting repeating words and phrases during independent or whole group instruction and discussing the purpose and effectiveness of repetition. Videos of other children performing recitations of the poem can be used to provide examples of the power of repetition and rhythm as a rhetorical device.
 There is a lovely interview with illustrator Bryan Collier in which he walks through the process and purpose of collage-making in his books. This interview would serve as a great supplement to a lesson which includes this book. Students can watch the video here and then create collages which reflect the uniqueness and beauty of themselves with this poem (or one of their own writing). Students can also prepare their own rehearsed recitation of those poems for the class or other assembly.


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