Curriculum Supporting Racial Justice
NEW! Building Anti-Racism into Classrooms
Najarro, Ileana. “Creator of 1619 Project Launching After-School Literacy Program.” EdWeek, 7 Sept 2021. “A new Black history-focused literacy program has launched in Iowa and will make its curriculum available nationwide as a free, open-source online tool in 2022.”
Ridgeway, Keziah. “Before We Can Have Anti-Racist Classrooms, Teacher Preparation Needs an Overhaul.” EdWeek Big Ideas blog, 23 Sep 2020. “My knowledge of African American history did not come from school—but it should have.”
Will, Madeleine. “Teachers Can Take on Anti-Racist Teaching. But Not Alone.” EdWeek Big Ideas blog, 23 Sep 2020. “Teachers need help making their classrooms more just.”
CURRICULUM for K-12
ADL. “Guidelines for Achieving Bias-Free Communication - For Educators.” Adapted from Without Bias: A Guidebook for Nondiscriminatory Communication, Second Edition with permission from John Wiley & Sons, Inc. © 1982. This content is timeless.
ADL. “Helping Students Make Sense of News Stories about Bias and Injustice.” “Rather than protect children and youth from what’s going on in the world, there are age-appropriate and constructive ways to engage them in understanding the situation. … suggestions, strategies and resources to help make those discussions rich and productive for students.”
Anderson, Jill. “Confronting Racism at an Early Age.” Harvard Graduate School of Education, 28 Aug 2017. “Drawing on lessons learned, a principal offers tips on bringing a curriculum on racism to elementary schools.”
Anti-Racism Resources for All Ages: A Project by the Augusta Baker Chair Dr. Nicole A. Cooke of the University of South Carolina "emerged out of the pain and frustration associated with the back-to-back deaths of #GeorgeFloyd, #BreonnaTaylor and #AhmaudArbery in 2020."
“Anti-slavery Manuscripts presented by the Boston Public Library.” “"We now stand on the threshold of having available—free to all—the entire contents of the Boston Public Library's extraordinary Anti-Slavery Manuscripts collection." - Peter Drummey, Stephen T. Riley Librarian, Massachusetts Historical Society.” A crowd-sourced project, now complete.
BrownBookshelf.com. 2020. The Brown Bookshelf is designed to push awareness of the myriad Black voices writing for young readers.
28 Days Later, an annual celebration during Black History
Month of “children’s or young adult author[s] and children’s
illustrator [s], looking for the best new and unnoticed works
by African-Americans. From picture books to novels, books
fresh off the presses to those that have lurked in the
background unsung for months or years.”
KidLit4BlackLives Rally on June 4, 2020, 2 hours and 15 minutes of a call to action directed to both students and their adults. Anti-Racist Resources for Children, Families and Educators
Celano, Marianne; Marietta Collins; and Ann Hazzard. Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story about Racial Injustice. Magination Press, 2018.
Center for Racial Justice in Education. Black History Month Resource Guide for Educators and Families AND Black History Month Resource #2.
Center for Racial Justice in Education. A Racial Justice Guide to Thanksgiving.
Center for Racial Justice in Education. A Racial Justice Guide to the Winter Holiday Season for Educators and Families.
Chatelaine, Dr. Marcia. “How to Talk to Students About Ferguson. Teachers’ Lounge: a blog, PBS, 29 Aug 2014. Also PBS New Hour Season 2014 Episode 3310 “How Teachers Can Talk to Students about Ferguson.” 8 minutes.
Cooke, Nicole. Anti-Racism Resources for All Ages. Padlet. A Project by the Augusta Baker Chair, University of South Carolina.
Facing History and Ourselves “People make choices. Choices make history.” This website offers Educator Resources and Professoinal Development, including A Guide for Supporting Remote book Clubs, Teaching with Current Events, and Teaching Strategies Adapted for Hybrid and Remote Learning.
Gonzales, Jennifer. A Collection of Resources for Teaching Social Justice, Cult of Pedagogy, 14 FEb 2016. “Can we explicitly teach students how to change the world? If this question has been whispering in the back of your mind, the resources in this collection will help.”
Grant-Thomas, Andrew and Melissa Giraud. “Supporting Kids Of Color In the Wake Of Racialized Violence.” Embrace Race podcast, 14 July 2016.
GrassROOTS Community Foundation. “1000 Black Girl Books Resource Guide.” A resource guide created from the #1000blackgirlbooks campaign led by Marley Dias [beginning in 2015]. Not only is this a remarkable compilation, but Marley was 11 years old when she started, making her an excellent example of student activism.
Harvey, Jennifer. Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America. Abingdon, 2018. “Raising White Kids is a book for families, churches, educators, and communities who want to equip their children to be active and able allies in a society that is becoming one of the most racially diverse in the world while remaining full of racial tensions.”
Holmes, Margaret. A Terrible Thing Happened: A Story for Children Who Have Witnessed Violence or Trauma. Magination Press, 2000. “Sherman Smith saw the most terrible thing happen. At first he tried to forget about it, but soon something inside him started to bother him. He felt nervous for no reason. Sometimes his stomach hurt. He had bad dreams. And he started to feel angry and do mean things, which got him in trouble. Then he met Ms. Maple, who helped him talk about the terrible thing that he had tried to forget. Now Sherman is feeling much better.”
International Literacy Association. “How to Raise and Teach Anti-Racist Kids.” A Town Hall, 18 June 2020. Hosted by Kwame Alexander. A nearly 2 hour recording.
Lawrence, Ian. “2020 Curriculum Resource Guide.” GoogleDrive. Lawrence is a Toronto teacher who curated this extensive list of resources on anti-racism and the Black Lives matter movement for all K-12 levels, sorted by age and including multilingual choices.
Lincoln, Margaret. “Ending Racism: Teaching Difficult Topics in 2020.” PBWiki. “The resources provided here will hopefully make possible a deeper exploration of the history and legacies of racial oppression and enslavement in America’s past.”
Major, Amielle. “How to Develop Culturally Responsive Teaching for Distance Learning.” MindShift, KQED, 20 May 2020. “At its core, culturally responsive instruction is about helping students become independent learners. Culturally responsive instruction should:
--Focus on improving the learning capacity of students who
have been marginalized educationally because of
historical inequities in our school systems.
--Center around both the affective and cognitive aspects of
teaching and learning.
--Build cognitive capacity and academic mindset by pushing
back on dominant narratives about people of color.
Manji, Irshad. www.MoralCourage.com - “Moral courage means doing the right thing in the face of your fears.” “[M]oral courage [is] the skill to turn disagreement into engagement and, ultimately, into shared action. Yes, it’s a skill that can be taught.” This site offers teacher training, community mentors, and stories to illustrate the ideas. Founded by Irshad Manji, recipient of the first Oprah award for “boldness.”
Media Smarts. “Talking to Kids about Racial Stereotypes – Tip Sheet.” Canada’s Centre for Digital and Media Literacy.
Michael, Ali and Eleonora Bartoli. “What White Children Need to Know about Race.” Independent School Magazine (NAIS), Summer 2014.
Mylnek, Alex. “How to Talk About Racism: An age-by-age guide” Today’s Parent, 9 Feb 2017.
National Museum of African American History and Culture. Talking About Race. For Educators, Parents & Caregivers, and Individuals.
Parsons, Julie and Dr. Kimberly Ridley. “Identity, Affinity, Reality.” Independent School Magazine (NAIS), Winter 2012. “...issues of race often lie just below the surface of children’s daily experiences. In the relative security of an affinity group, these realities come to life. Affinity groups are places where students build connections and process “ouch” moments from their classes.”
PBS. Lesson Plan: Discuss 22-year-old Amanda Gorman’s Inaugural Poem “The Hill We Climb”. Jan 2021. In this lesson, students examine the poetry of Amanda Gorman, who was chosen to read her poem “The Hill We Climb” at President Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021. Gorman’s poem complemented Biden’s inaugural address and was written to reflect on “the history that we stand on, and the future that we stand for.”
Perkins, Dave. “Enduring And Sustainable Anti-Racism.” The TeachThought Podcast Ep. 213 With Irshad Manji, Director for Courage, Curiosity, and Character at Let Grow, about the ways in which we can implement enduring anti-racist measures.
Pitts, Jamilah. “Teaching as Activism, Teaching as Care.” Teaching Tolerance, 15 May 2020.
Racial Equity Education. “The connection between systemic racism and inequality is no longer deniable, and it’s time for our school districts to shuffle themselves over to the right side of history and address both in a profound and effective way.” This effort is contacting school districts across the US with both a demand for change and a compilation of K-12 curriculum resources for implementation.
“Racial Justice Resources: Justice for Black Lives.” NEA EdJustice.
Raising Race Conscious Children. “100 race conscious things you can say to advance Racial Justice.” 2 June 2016. “In honor of Raising Race Conscious Children’s 100th post, … modeling language that has actually been used in a conversation with a child regarding race (and other identity-markers such as gender and class).”
Silenzi, Andrea. “How to Not (Accidentally) Raise a Racist,” The Longest Shortest Time (podcast), 8 March 2017.
Solly, Meilan. “158 Resources to Understand Racism in America.” Smithsonian Magazine, 4 June 2020. “These articles, videos, podcasts and websites from the Smithsonian chronicle the history of anti-black violence and inequality in the United States.”
“What the Words Say: Many kids struggle with reading – and children of color are far less likely to get the help they need.” APM Reports, 6 Aug 2020. “A false assumption about what it takes to be a skilled reader has created deep inequalities among U.S. children, putting many on a difficult path in life.”
NOTE: CURRICULUM BY AGE LEVEL offers age-focused resources.
Also scroll down on this page for
SELECTING ANTI-BIAS, ANTI-RACIST, MULTICULTURAL
and BIPOC RESOURCES
NOTE 2: 2019 and 2020 titles are noted in PURPLE. Newer is not always better, but it may be important in this context.
Suggestions for additional curricular materials may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Auletta, Kate. “So Your Favorite Children's Books Didn't Age Well. Here's What You Can Do About It.” Huff Post, 29 Oct 2020.
Jensen, Karen. “Diversity Auditing 101: How to Evaluate Your Collection.” SLJ, 22 Oct 2018. “A diversity audit takes inventory and determines what's in a collection and what areas need to be better developed. It yields concrete data. This type of audit helps put the science in library science. In doing a diversity audit of my collection, my goal was to learn what percentage reflected something other than the experiences of straight, white, and non-disabled males, and to fill the gaps. I wanted to verify that I was doing a good job of transcending my worldview and internalized biases. I was not.”
Joseph, Christina. “Move Over, Melvil! Momentum Grows to Eliminate Bias and Racism in the 145-year-old Dewey Decimal System.” School Library Journal, 18 Aug 2021. “But a growing number of school and youth librarians are moving to dismantle the Dewey Decimal Classification system—the worldwide cataloging and organizational system for libraries devised by pioneer Melvil Dewey in 1873 and first published in 1876. Not only is the Dewey Decimal System outdated, they say, but many of Dewey’s approaches to categorizing books were racist and sexist. For instance, Black history is not part of American history; “women’s work” is a separate category from jobs; non-Christian religious holidays are situated with mythology and religion; and LGBTQ+ works were once shelved under “perversion” or “neurological disorders” before landing in the “sexual orientation” category.”
Krishnaswami, Uma. “Why Stop at Windows and Mirrors?: Children’s Book Prisms.” The Horn Book, 17 Jan 2021. “A window lets you look into a space other than the one you occupy; but (as Reese implies) what does it do to me to be the object of your gaze? In contrast, a mirror reflects my own image back to me. If I can see myself in a text, that text is of interest to me; but why should someone unlike me care? Sliding glass doors allow us to enter a story, but the nature of our engagement with it remains undefined. Surely diverse texts, like glass, are capable of operating in complex ways. What if, in addition to mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors, some books worked like prisms?”
Newhouse, Kara. “Diversifying Your Classroom Book Collections? Avoid these 7 Pitfalls.” KQED Mind/Shift, 3 Dec 2020. “There’s no excuse in 2020 for the books in your classroom and the books in your library not to be reflective of the population in the U.S. That needs to be a goal,” said Michelle H. Martin, the Beverly Cleary Professor for Children and Youth Services at the University of Washington Information School. … “If you only ever read books by people who look like you and who live like you, that’s intellectual poverty because you don’t ever see into the life of someone else from their perspective,” she said.
Project READY: Reimagining Equity & Access for Diverse Youth. This site hosts a series of free, online professional development modules for school and public youth services librarians, library administrators, and others interested in improving their knowledge about race and racism, racial equity, and culturally sustaining pedagogy. The primary focus of the Project READY curriculum is on improving relationships with, services to, and resources for youth of color and Native youth.
Seasholes, Craig, “True Equity and Diversity in the School Library: Preparing for a New School Year.” Follett Community, 4 Aug 2021. Recording. Is your library truly diverse? Reading and literacy experiences that open “sliding glass doors” to new perspectives and possibilities are essential. Our experts will share ways to take an unflinching look at your library to ensure diversity and equity.
Social Justice Graphic Novels. ALA Carnegie Whitney Grant Project.
Sturge, Jennifer. “School Libraries and Antiracism.” KQ, AASL, 3 June 2020. “As a collective group of school librarians, we need to come together and ensure that our libraries are places where antiracism prevails. I’ve written (along with Marianne Fitzgerald, Donna Mignardi, and Sandy Walker) about utilizing the social justice standards from Teaching Tolerance in school libraries, and I’m going to write about it again here–because we can and we MUST do better for the young generation who is watching this violence against people of color unfold around them on social media and in the news.”
Social Justice Graphic Novels. ALA Carnegie Whitney Grant Project.
ASLC. 2021 ALSC Charlemae Rollins President's Programs, Pt. I and Pt. II. 22 July 2021
“Black Girls and School Discipline: Four Researchers Unpack K-12's Racial Bias.” Education Week Commentary, 2 June 2016. Adrienne D. Dixon (U Ilinois Champaign/Urbana), Shaun R. Harper (UPenn), Bettina Love (UGeorgia), and Terri N. Watson (City College of Y) offer comments in one minutes videos. Useful despite the 2016 date.
Lange, Joan. “Building Perspectives.” AISL Independent Ideas blog, 17 July 2020. “Explore[s] the Building Perspectives learning module on the Smithsonian Learning Lab website” with a focus on Ruby Bridges, Rosa Parks and John Lewis.
Muhammead, Gholdy. Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy (Scholastic, 2019) This book is an essential tool for teachers, principals, counselors, and anyone who strives to teach literacy better, particularly to students of color. While outlining a four-part framework for teaching, Muhammad provides culturally and historically responsive sample plans and text sets.
--“Race Talk: Engaging Young People in Conversations
about Race and Racism.” ADL.
-- “Education Glossary Terms.” ADL.
--“Creating an Anti-Bias Learning Environment.” ADL.
--Duncan-Andrade, Jeffrey M. R. “Note to Educators: Hope
Required When Growing Roses in Concrete.” “In this essay,
Jeff Duncan-Andrade explores the concept of hope, which
was central to the Obama campaign, as essential for
nurturing urban youth. He first identifies three forms of
“false hope”—hokey hope, mythical hope, and hope
deferred—pervasive in and peddled by many urban
schools. Discussion of these false hopes then gives way to
Duncan-Andrade’s conception of “critical hope,” explained
through the description of three necessary elements of
educational practice that produce and sustain true hope.
Through the voices of young people and their teachers,
and the invocation of powerful metaphor and imagery,
Duncan-Andrade proclaims critical hope’s significance for
an education that relieves undeserved suffering in
BOOKLISTS for K-12
Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) 2020 Best of the Best Booklist. 50 titles for PK-4th grade; 25 titles for Middle School; 25 titles for High school; 25 Adult Books for High School.
To borrow from Booklist Magazine: “[T]hese books—and these systemic problems: white supremacy, police brutality, centuries of violence against Black people, carried out time and again by white people—have been here. And we’d be naïve to believe that by reading books alone we might somehow upend that reality. We cannot rely on the books to do the work for us, but in the hopes they might serve as catalysts for the self-reflection and group discussion that often preface effective antiracist action, we have developed a list of our own. For those committed to this journey—the reading and the subsequent action—below is a start.”
Bassett, Katherine et al, eds. NNSTOY Social Justice Book List. Nat’l Network of State Teachers of the Year with University of Phoenix College of Education, 2017. Despite the 2017 date, this is a useful compilation for K-12.
Books to Teach White Children and Teens How to Undo Racism and White Supremacy.” Charis Books & More, Atlanta GA. A useful list for K-12.
Center for the Study of Multicultural Children's Literature. Lists of Best Multicultural Books of the Year, 2013 - present. “Our mission is to preserve the richness of the many cultures in the field of children’s and young adult literature. Further, our mission is to provide children, teachers, parents, educators, students, and librarians access to multicultural children’s books with high literary and artistic standards.” K-12.
EMIERT, Coretta Scott King Book Award Winners: books for children and young adults. Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table of the ALA. The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are given annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values. The award commemorates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and honors his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood.
Chaudhri, Amina. “Classroom Connections: Collaboration and Resilience.” Booklist, Jan 2020. “Recent publications for young readers counter the message of individualism by underscoring the collective influences that make us who we are. Authors are wrapping their protagonists in communities, suggesting quite clearly that we are stronger when we connect with others. These stories are particularly salient in their recognition that communities of color have always maintained a degree of collectivism across cultures and histories, whether through personal or public struggle.” This list covers grades K-12.
Goldstein, Susannah. “Addressing Authority Bias in Research Instruction.” SLJ, 25 Aug 2020. While considering research material, students need to talk about whose voices are not at the table and think critically about how sources came to be.
Henderson, Leah. “5 Picture Books About Civil Rights,” New York Times, Dec. 22, 2020. “From “the father of the Underground Railroad” to the first woman vice president, these Black action figures are poetry in motion.”
Khuri, Ronnie. “Classroom Connections: #OwnVoices Anthologies.” Booklist, Sept. 2019. “Easily shareable in segments or in their entirety, these anthologies and short story collections from creators in marginalized communities tackle tough and necessary topics. … [T]here are so many important conversations to be had with young people today—on race, gender, sexuality, mental health, climate change, gun violence, bullying, war, religion, and so on. … [T]he recent surge in #OwnVoices literature has brought along a number of anthologies on a wide variety of social subjects.” This bibliography includes various genres and covers grades 4-12.
Leeper, Angela. “Classroom Connections: Speak Up, Speak Out, March On.” Booklist, Jan 2019. “Equip kids with the tools they need to learn about and engage in peaceful resistance with these fiction and nonfiction books about protests. … The books covered here not only validate children and teens’ feelings and experiences but also give them the tools to speak up, resist, protest, and ultimately make a difference in issues that matter to them—all in peaceful ways. From historical backgrounds on protest movements and practical tips for today’s marches to inspirational stories and profiles of influential protesters, …” Covers grades K-12.
Lewis, Cicely. “Build AntiRacist and Culturally Responsive Teaching Practices.” SLJ, 29 Jan 2021.
Lewis, Cicely. “My Top 20 Books of 2020 | Read Woke,” School Library Journal, Nov. 5, 2020.
Looking for Excellent Diverse Books for children: Start here! EmbraceRace.org. A how-to and compilation of resources for parents and teachers.
MISelf in Books is an annual list of diverse books for Michigan learners. The list was selected by a committee of certified school librarians who are members of Michigan Association for Media in Education (MAME). These recommendations are based on books that they see learners reading and enjoying in their libraries. The books are all published in the last two years and written by #ownvoice authors and will include books for all grade levels: PreK-1, 2-3, 4-5, 6-8, and 9-12.
Reading for Change: Booklist-Recommended Antiracism Titles for All Ages Via BookList and the American Library Association. “[T]hese books—and these systemic problems: white supremacy, police brutality, centuries of violence against Black people, carried out time and again by white people—have been here. And we’d be naïve to believe that by reading books alone we might somehow upend that reality. We cannot rely on the books to do the work for us, but in the hopes they might serve as catalysts for the self-reflection and group discussion that often preface effective antiracist action, we have developed a list of our own. For those committed to this journey—the reading and the subsequent action—below is a start.”
Social Justice Books (A Teaching for Change project). Here are more than 60 carefully selected lists of multicultural and social justice books for children, young adults, and educators.
We Are KidLit Collective Summer Reading Lists. The We Are Kid Lit Collective works to create materials and opportunities to recognize the humanity of Indigenous and People of Color (IPOC) in youth literature. K-12.
SELECTING ANTI-BIAS, ANTI-RACIST, MULTICULTURAL and BIPOC RESOURCES
Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature. “[O]ur mission is to provide children, teachers, parents, educators, students, and librarians access to multicultural children’s books with high literary and artistic standards. The primary objectives include: a) to foster an interest in multicultural children’s literature for young people; b) to promote awareness of the Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature (CSMCL); and c) to generate excitement in the study of multicultural literature.”
Derman Sparks, Louise. “Guide for Selecting Anti-Bias Children’s Books.” Useful to parents, teachers and librarians.
Diverse Bookfinder “The Diverse BookFinder is a comprehensive collection of children's picture books featuring Black and Indigenous people and People of Color (BIPOC). We've cataloged and analyzed trade picture books fitting this criteria, published since 2002…”
Grassroots Community Foundation. 1000 Black Girl Books Resource Guide. A resource guide created from the #1000blackgirlbooks campaign led by Marley Dias.
WeNeedDiverseBooks. “Imagine a world in which all children can see themselves in the pages of a book.”
Kelley-Mudie, Sara. “Who Has History? And Who Has Issues?” AISL Independent Ideas, 6 Oct 2021. “… There are two issues here: what’s being collected, and what’s being curated. I’m guessing that there is a fair amount of overlap in terms of sources between these two databases, but the way they are organized is very different. And that framing matters. It’s similar to having a diverse print collection, but only displaying and promoting books with cis, hetero, white protagonists. However, I also suspect that the collection of resources that Gale is pulling from to curate these Topics could stand to be significantly more diverse in any number of ways. It’s hard to curate materials you don’t collect. …”
Stivers, Julie and Sandra Hughes-Hassell. “#act4teens: The Inclusive Library: More than a Diverse Collection: Part 1.” YALSA Blog, 7 March 2015. “The growing conversation surrounding the need for diversity in teen literature is wonderful—it is essential, it is long overdue, but it is only a starting point. Wait, what? Yes, a starting point. If we are not using those diverse collections in our library promotions, programming, and reader’s advisory with all students, we are diluting their influence. Furthermore, if diverse collections are housed in libraries that are not inclusive and welcoming to all youth, then we are negating the power of those collections.”
.... “#act4teens: The Inclusive Library: More than a Diverse Collection: Part 2.” YALSA Blog, 21 March 2015. “Paramount to our goal of creating inclusive libraries is removing barriers that prevent diverse youth from feeling welcome. In her research, Kafi Kumasi (2012) found that many youth of color feel like outsiders in library spaces, describing the school library as the sole “property” of the librarian. Kumasi argues that ‘these feelings of disconnect and exclusion should be attended to by school librarians, if they want to make all of their students feel welcome.’”
Smith, Daniella. “Teaching Within Context.” KQ blog, 27 Sept 2021. “…the censored Dr. Suess books could be used as teaching materials. However, my comments must be placed within context to understand my reasoning. There is a difference between leaving them as freely accessible materials on the shelves and securing them to use selectively for teaching purposes.”
Washington Post Staff. “Nine black artists reflect on the question: ‘Is America at a point of reckoning?’” Washington Post, 3 July 2020.
We Are Kid Lit Collective. Our work is premised upon the principles of social justice, equity, and inclusion and centers IPOC voices in children’s literature in order to identify, challenge and dismantle white supremacy and both internalized and systematic racism. Our intended audience includes educators, librarians, caregivers and young people. We look for ways to improve the literacies of IPOC children, promote books written by and about IPOC, and to encourage gatekeepers to bring a lens of critical literacy to their work.