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ERIC Number: EJ852887
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1056-0300
Denied Access: Using African American Children's Literature to Examine the Anatomy of Social Justice
Stewart, Loraine Moses; Marshall, Jacqueline
Social Studies and the Young Learner, v22 n1 p27-30 Sep-Oct 2009
Cynthia Tyson and Sung Choon Park's powerful article, "From Theory to Practice: Teaching for Social Justice," addressed many key points for educators to consider when discussing issues of social justice and injustice. They offered a variety of multicultural children's books and strategies for using them that can be helpful to educators. This article focuses on one of the many powerful statements in that article, "Justice is not conceivable without taking social injustice into account." With that statement serving as a foundation, the authors identify social injustices as depicted in several African-American children's books and offer suggestions for guiding students through a process of identifying injustices as a first step in moving toward a more just society. "Within the pages of a picture book is the potential to entice, intrigue, and motivate upper elementary and middle school readers." A single book, however, "does not provide a picture of an entire culture" or of an entire experience or situation. Having an eclectic collection--books that together give voice to and describe many different points of view--increases the chances of painting a more accurate and realistic picture in young minds. Examining a collection closely allows an educator to construct a thematic analysis that can be used to frame conversations and curricula. After conducting a thematic analysis of approximately fifty books in which the main characters were African American children, an overarching theme of "denied access" surfaced. This concept can be divided into categories. Three major categories: (1) denied access to social development; (2) denied access to education; and (3) denied access to a healthy self-image. In this article, the authors examine three books, each exemplifying one category. Co-author Jacqueline Marshall, a local fifth grade teacher who has taught at the elementary level for ten years, shares observations from her experiences with issues of injustice that have surfaced in conversations with her students about each of these books. Insights and excerpts from those reflections are discussed as they relate to each of the three categories of denied access. (Contains 7 notes.)
National Council for the Social Studies. 8555 Sixteenth Street #500, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Tel: 800-683-0812; Tel: 301-588-1800: Fax: 301-588-2049; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A