Five Books to Teach the Civil Rights Movement

If you ever have the privilege of sitting in a Preschool or Kindergarten classroom, you might see that some of the strongest advocates for equal rights are small children. Kids can spot unfairness a mile away. I dare you to pass out ice cream at a birthday party and leave someone out (speaking from experience here)!

While I have no clear explanation for my children and students about injustices, I can at least start by telling the stories. Below are five beautiful and honest books about the Civil Rights Movement. 

 Child of the Civil Rights Movement - Beautifully illustrated, this book is told from a child's perspective. The book tells the story of the march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. 

It was also named as a book of the year by a comprehensive list put out by Bank Street College of Education

Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr - A biography which incorporates quotes from his speeches. This unforgettable story is accompanied with striking and bold pictures. 

The Story of Ruby Bridges - Ruby was the first African American girl to desegregate an elementary school in New Orleans. I read this book several years in a row when teaching at an all-girls' school and it always sparked deep and moving conversations.

Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down - The story of a sit-in organized by four teenagers at Woolworth's in Greensboro, NC in the 60's. The author uses repetition and engaging language to captivate a young audience. The book is a nice reminder that we can all make a difference, regardless of age, when working together.

Separate is Never Equal - The story is one of perseverance and determination, painting a true image of slow progress and social change. The book is about how one family ended school segregation in California, ten years after the passing of Brown vs. the Board of Education. This book is great for any age to enjoy with engaging illustrations and it recently won the Texas Bluebonnet Award.