By Louise Derman-Sparks
Children’s books continue to be an invaluable source of information and values. They reflect the attitudes in our society about diversity, power relationships, and various social identities. Read and share these guidelines for selecting books for young children that support the development of a healthy self-image. . . Read more.
The books on our booklists have each been carefully selected from a big stack of books we review each week. But we’d like to also share some of the books that we do not recommend and how critiques have led to recalls or revisions. Read more.
Over the last two years libraries and schools have faced an unprecedented number of bids to have books banned. As Jonna Perrillo writes in the Washington Post, these book bans may be even more dangerous than those of the past. Read more.
An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People is among the hundreds of books that have been challenged and banned in schools in the United States. Today (March 19th, 2022), a letter signed by 1,300 children’s and young adult authors was submitted to the U.S. Congress. Read more.
The Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) has released data on books by and about Black, Indigenous, and People of Color published for children and teens. Learn about the CCBC’s 2021 data, as well as Lee and Low’s 2019 Diversity Baseline Survey. Read more.
Teach Truth rallies, recommended LGBTQ+ and Gender Diversity books, a teacher story, and other news and information. Read more.
In honor of Women’s History Month, each day Social Justice Books is featuring a children’s book we recommend to highlight grassroots women’s history. Read more.
Not recommended: The “Little People, Big Dreams” series presents a one-dimensional, pop-cultural conception of key figures, reinforcing stereotypes and disregarding strides as being a part of a collective effort. Read more.
Our colleague Marilisa Jiménez García wrote an article for The Atlantic about the banning of books that tackle themes of racism and imperialism, including Holocaust literature and survivor testimonies. Also, a Texas law requires teachers to present opposing views about the Holocaust in their classrooms. Read more.
Dozens of educators in the 2022 Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action Curriculum Fair will receive free books. This is thanks to the generosity of publishers who donated titles related to the Black Lives Matter 13 Principles. Read more.
Teaching for Change staff member Paige Pagan and our colleague Marilisa Jiménez García wrote an article for Refinery 29 about the disproportionate number of books by authors of color being banned as part of the recent anti-history (anti-CRT) attacks. Read more.
The Zinn Education Project, coordinated by Teaching for Change and Rethinking Schools, has released a report on Reconstruction. Social Justice Books has a selection of recommended reading about Reconstruction for K – 12 and adults. Read more.
2022 marks the 100th year anniversary of Howard Zinn (August 24, 1922-January 27, 2010). Social Justice Books has a collection of Howard Zinn titles about the Civil Rights Movement, labor, the anti-war movement, critiques of prison and policing, and more, covering the stories left out of most history books. Read more.
We are pleased to share that there is a new and improved edition available of Pies from Nowhere: How Georgia Gilmore Sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The new edition include edits made by author Dee Romito, based on feedback from SNCC veteran and Eyes on the Prize series associate producer Judy Richardson. Read more.
In response to an overwhelming number of requests for recommendations of anti-bias children’s books, Teaching for Change launched the Freedom Reads: Anti-Bias Book Talk series. Beyond just sharing booklists, we want to share how we select high-quality, anti-bias books so that parents and teachers can do the same. Teaching for Change associate director Allyson Criner Brown produced. . . Read more.
Beverly Daniel Tatum, author of Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? , was a special guest on the CNN Sesame Street Town Hall “Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism” on Saturday, June 6. Tatum (featured in part 2 at 6.55 minutes ) responded to a question from a parent about how to teach young children to be anti-racist in an. . . Read more.
In this engaging six minute film, we see a group of fourth, fifth, and sixth grade children learn about issues of identity and apply that to their selection of books. This is an introductory activity for children who are embarking on a classroom library equity assessment. Read more.
Are you looking for a curated summer reading list that celebrates diversity, inclusivity and intersecting identities? The We Are Kid Lit Collective selects books by and about IPOC (Indigenous and People of Color), people with disabilities, and people from the LGBTQIA+ communities. Read more.
D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice, Communities for Just Schools Fund, and the Early Childhood Initiative at the National Museum of African American History and Culture offered a workshop on hair representation in children’s books on November 2, 2019. Read more.
The 2018 Diversity in Children’s Literature graphic is available as a 2-sided, full color 5 x 7 postcard. Request copies below to disseminate at workshops, conferences, and other public events. Note that we have been positively overwhelmed by the demand for the cards. Within 48 hours of announcing their availability, the 5,000 cards… Read more.
By Colleen Massaquoi. The third graders huddled around the photographs, their faces filled with concern. “Whoa, that’s a lot of bags,” Sam said, scooting closer to examine a picture of a goat surrounded by towering mounds of twisted, multicolored plastic bags. “Oh no!” Claire exclaimed. “It looks like that goat is going to eat the plastic.” Read more.
The Struggle Continues: How the Endings of Children’s Literature Create False Narratives of Social Movements
By Makai Kellogg. We all know what “The End” means when reading a children’s book. The story has concluded. The last sentence of a book can also indicate to a reader that there is closure. But what are the consequences of that closure when it comes to books about ongoing social movements? Isn’t there always more to the story? Read more.
Are you looking for a curated summer reading list that celebrates diversity, inclusivity and intersecting identities? The We Are Kid Lit Collective selects books by and about IPOC (Indigenous and People of Color), people with disabilities, and people from the LGBTQIA+ communities. Chosen books are thoroughly selected, discussed, and vetted… Read more.
On the last day of Black History Month, children at a predominantly African American D.C. elementary school were each given a book to keep. One of our staff members brought in the outrageous title given to her daughter If You Lived in Colonial Times (Scholastic, 1992). While the book all but erases African Americans and demonizes Native Americans… Read more.
On December 15, 2018, Teaching for Change joined an important dialogue about representation in children’s literature on-stage at the Oprah Winfrey Theater in the National Museum for African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). Read more.
It has been one year since Teaching for Change launched SocialJusticeBooks.org to identify and promote the best multicultural and social justice children’s books. We partnered with the See What We See (SWWS) coalition to create a database of critical children’s book reviews. Read more.
Earlier this month we published critical reviews of the Scholastic books for early and upper elementary students about the election of President Trump. Both books present Trump’s life and the election in a celebratory tone, as summarized by this poem in the book for first and second grade. Read more.
We are proud of the role of Teaching for Change played to make this excellent book even better. When an advance copy arrived at our office in January, we were dismayed to see that that the monster was illustrated as a black bat in an ominous sky. One more time, the message was that black is bad and scary. We quickly consulted with our colleagues… Read more.
It is hard to believe that anyone looking at the Monkey early childhood book series by Marc Brown did not see the racist stereotypes it perpetuates. But, they all missed or overlooked it. In fact, the author, illustrator, publisher, reviewers, and libraries gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up. Edith Campbell, a children’s book reviewer who is a member of the… Read more.
The new children’s book Islandbornby Junot Díaztells the story of a young girl, Lola, who learns from family and friends about the Dominican Republic where she was born. She was brought to the U.S. as a baby, so the stories help paint a picture of life on the island and the forces that led her family to leave such a wonderful place. Read more.
The See What We See (SWWS) coalition is thrilled to introduce the cover for Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott. Random House will release Dragons in a Bag in October of 2018. It is a wonderful middle grade novel, the first in a series, that will leave you clamoring for the sequel. This is the first cover reveal for SWWS and the Social Justice Books website. Read more.