Picture Books, Civic Voices, and Tools of Empowerment

How might I use children's books in the classroom to teach the tools of empowerment?

Photo of Jessica Lura
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I remember reading an article written by a man whose daughter came home from school one day and was talking about an issue she was facing. In the course of the conversation, the father realized that his daughter didn't know how to raise her voice for change; she didn't have the tools to necessary to protest, to be empowered, and to be civically engaged. 

Most students need to be taught how to be civically engaged--to learn the histories of those who were successful (and unsuccessful) in changing the status quo and the tools that one uses to be civically active. Picture books, whether about famous people (such as Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez) or about ways that people (or animals) speak up for what is meaningful to them (such as Click Clack Moo) can prompt meaningful conversations. 

What other books are there that we could use to support our students in developing and flexing their civic engagement muscles? How might these books be used a springboards for action? 

[Optional] Synthesize a little! What's one take away or insight to leave people with?

Most students need to be taught how to be civically engaged.


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Photo of Donna Teuber

Hi Jess, You're so right about needing to provide students with stories about people who used their unique voice. The books you mentioned would be great discussion starters. 

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