Teaching about racism and the civil rights movement can be a daunting task. Books are one excellent way parents can introduce children to the topic.
"I maintain that the more you read about people, the more you realize how much we’re alike," said Candace Clark, a youth services librarian at the Scottsdale Public Library. "The more educated and informed you are, the less prejudiced you are going to be." Biographies of famous civil rights activists are especially good for children, she said, because they help to develop empathy.
A Dream of Freedom: The Civil Rights
Movement from 1954 to 1968
By Diane McWhorter For: Grades 5-9 Recommended by: Sharon Ewers and Marcia Loman, Arcadia High School librarians "It’s nonfiction, but it’s what we call accessible. You don’t have to have a history degree to read it," Ewers said. It also contains powerful photography, which makes the lessons memorable.
I’ve Seen the Promised
Land: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
By Walter Dean Myers For: Grades 1-4 Recommended by: Mary Ellen Roche, librarian at Cochise Elementary School "(The book) frames King’s political efforts and his belief in nonviolent demonstration for change with information about the personal consequences to the man and his family." — School Library Journal
The Power of One:
Daisy Bates and the
Little Rock Nine
By Dennis Brindell Fradin and Judith Bloom Fradin For: Grades 6-9 Recommended by: Sharon Ewers and Marcia Lowman, Arcadia High School librarians "Outstanding and passionate biography of a civil rights leader who gained prominence as the mentor of the nine African-American students who integrated Central High School in Little Rock in 1957." — School Library Journal
The Patchwork Path: A Quilt Map to Freedom
By Bettye Stroud For: Ages 4-8 Recommended by: Candace Clark, Scottsdale Public Library "It’s a brand-new book that introduces the idea of how the slaves used quilts to give messages to each other in the Underground Railroad," Clark said.