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.

Friday, November 30, 2018

You Are Mighty: A Guide to Changing the World

Author: Caroline Paul
Illustrated: Lauren Tamaki
Grade Levels: 4-6 (ages 10-12) 


Summary: Age should never be a barrier for standing up to what you believe in, especially for children.  This book guides children to show them of many ways they can change the world, such as through volunteering to help the homeless or writing a letter to the president. It includes real life stories of child activists who have stood up for their beliefs by following similar steps, such as Malala Yousafzai, who at such an early age fought for the rights of girls. Workbook pages in the end of each chapter, help children think more concretely about their issues, expand their research, ask for help from others, collaborate with others, and use creativity to find solutions for those issues.

Element 6: You are mighty: A guide to changing the world shares multiple steps and methods that children can take to make a social change. It includes stories of young activists who were able to stand up for their right despite their age. Through these stories, it explains the methods they used to have their voices heard such as making a video on social media, writing a book, or making a protest sign. For all these methods, it includes step by step instructions on how students can create similar opportunities as others before them.

Activities: You are mighty: A guide to changing the world includes various activities that teachers can use in the classroom. It includes instructions on writing a letter, making a protest sign, creating a petition, and becoming allies with others. One activity I thought about while book is to have students think of or research a concerning topic that resonates with them. This could be pollution in their community, violence in the streets, or the school serving bad lunch food. From these topics I would ask students to write a letter to the person in charge of the community, school, or maybe country. Each chapter ends with a workbook page that includes directions and tips of how to create a powerful effect. The workbook page after the Write a Letter chapter, is explicit on the proper way to write a letter to get you voice heard. I would have students follow those tips in order to create a letter that their engagement in social action.

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