Category Archives: Using Children’s Picture Books as a Vehicle for Critical Literacy

“As teachers of literacy, we are called to help our students understand that texts are not neutral and that there are interests and purposes behind texts.” (Hughes & Robertson, 2010)

Teaching social justice through literature can be a powerful vehicle if facilitated properly. Regularly read picture books about children whose lives are very different from the students in your class can be a good starting point for teachers who are eager to promote an inclusive classroom while shining light on multiple perspectives in a respective manner. It can be easy to incorporate this into the regular curriculum. As you read, keep social justice issues in mind and share your thoughts with the students. The point is to both show your students that some people may be very different from them on the surface in appearance or culture, but underneath, each of us experiences similar emotions and have similar needs. Some of us, very different. Encourage your students to share their own experiences that are similar to the experiences of the characters in the stories and to put themselves in someone else’s shoes.

You may also want to see the “Key Questions for Teacher’s and Students” category within this blog to further your discussions.

In this category you will find a variety of texts from Picture Books to Chapter Books that you may want to use in your classroom to promote Critical Literacy. Each title is linked to www.goodreads.com or www.scholastic.com for further reference on the text’s synopsis, author/llustrator, as well as grade/reading level (scholastic.com). Selected images are linked to corresponding publishing companies or sites where you can purchase the specific text.

Fly Away Home

How many times have we read Eve Bunting’s Fly Away Home to our class because of its message, yet neglecting to fully connect its themes (homelessness and poverty) to our own lives and that of our students?  Is the topic too … Continue reading

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Loudmouth George and the New Neighbors by Nancy Carlson

Bestselling author-illustrator Nancy Carlson has gained an international audience for her vibrantly illustrated books about Harriet (a nervous golden retriever), Loudmouth George (a very self-assured rabbit), and the indomitable Louanne Pig. One reader reviews this picture book by stating “Nancy … Continue reading

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The role of the teacher within a critical literacy classroom

Over a century ago, Dewey (1909) proposed that the role of the school in the teaching of morals was to prepare students for full participation in society. In some respects perhaps it is not wrong – perhaps it is a … Continue reading

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Banned Texts

Take a peek at these Picture Books banned from schools.  Why do you think they are banned?  Should they be? Duck, Death and the Tulip  by Wolf Erlbruch Woolvs in the Sitee by Margaret Wild

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Children’s Picture Books (categorized)

Find over 20 linked Picture and Chapter Books that can be used within a Critical Literacy Framework, here!  Each Title contains primary topics that you may want to explore with your students. Understanding Differences that Make a Difference Bunting, Eve … Continue reading

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