December is quite often the month when one thinks of holiday cheer, shopping, and family gatherings. But, did you know that December is also a time to come together and stand up for equality, justice, and the dignity of all humans?
National Human Rights Month is celebrated every December and it provides an opportunity to explain the basics of human rights to your young reader. While we know that this can be a difficult conversation to have with your young child, it is one that is needed. To help ensure a successful conversation, we searched to find some great conversation starters. Here are some great children’s books to read and discuss:
- The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles (Author) and George Ford (Illustrator): This is a story about Ruby Bridges, who is the young activist at the forefront of school desegregation in 1960 after the Brown vs. Board. This books shows her strength and tenacity in the face of tough adversity – in an effort to get a quality education.
- Whoever you Are by Mem Fox (Author) Leslie Staub (Illustrator): This colorful children’s book discusses the commonalities we ALL share regardless of color, religion, nationality, gender, or race.
- Seeds of Change by Jen Cullerton Johnson (Author) Sonia Lynn Sadler (Illustrator): This powerful children’s book discusses the life of Wangari Maathai, who become the first African woman to win a Nobel Peace prize in 2004. Maathai helped promote rights of women in Africa and beyond
- No Fear for Freedom: The Story of the Friendship 9 by Kimberly P. Johnson (Author) and Vanessa J. Thompson (Illustrator): Tells the story of The Friendship 9, a group of college students and activists in Rock Hill, South Carolina, who challenged inequality and unfair laws. This book also includes a side panel of text on each page that is educational for older children or adults.
Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family?s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh: This book outlines Sylvia Mendez’s family’s fight for equality prior to the Brown vs. Board. An American citizen of Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage who spoke and wrote English, Mendez was denied enrollment to a “Whites only” school. Her parents took action by organizing the Hispanic community and filing a lawsuit in federal district court. Their success eventually brought an end to the era of segregated education in California.
- ¡Si, Se Puede! / Yes, We Can!: Janitor Strike in L.A. by Diana Cohn (Author), Francisco Delgado (Illustrator): This book details the successful janitor strike in LA in 2000. This fictional story is told through the voice of Carlitos, whose mom works at night cleaning office buildings.
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