5th Grade Social Justice Project

What is social justice?

Social justice means moving towards a society where all hungry are fed, all sick are cared for, the environment is treasured, and we treat each other with love and compassion. Not an easy goal, for sure, but certainly one worth giving our lives for! – Medea Benjamin, co-founder Global Exchange and Code Pink

Social justice means complete and genuine equality of all people.  – Paul George, executive director Pennisula Peace and Justice Center

It means different things to many people, but a commonly accepted definition is that social justice establishes equality for all people.  It is an absence of prejudicial actions, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or social class. -Holly Caseof Pumpernickel Parents

There are many artists that have used art to bring attention to issues they think the world should pay attention to.  Some people don’t know about injustices in the world and art is a way to bring awareness to those issues.

Ricardo Levins Morales

5th graders will be starting a linoleum cut project where we will be discussing social justice after winter break.  I’ve asked 5th graders to think about an issue they are passionate about that they would like to bring attention to.

5th graders, if you are having trouble thinking of an issue I recommend books from the book list below.  I have not read all of them.  The books are from a CCBC book list.  There are recommended ages listed with each book.  If you are younger than the recommended age, I recommend you discuss the book with your parents before reading it.

The Heart of a Chief by Bruchac, Joseph Ages 10 – 13

Samir and Yonatan by Carmi, Daniella Age 12 and older

Seedfolks by Fleischman, Paul Ages 9 – 13

Talking Peace: A Vision for the Next Generation by Carter, Jimmy Age 11 and older

Neve Shalom/Wahat Al-Salaam: Oasis of Peace by Dolphin, Laurie Photographed by Ben Dolphin. Scholastic Ages 7 – 10

On the Wings of Peace: Writers and Illustrators Speak Out for Peace, in Memory of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Age 8 and older

Oh, Freedom! Kids Talk About the Civil Rights Movement with the People Who Made It Happen by King, Casey and Linda Barrett Osborne Ages 8 – 14

Irrepressible Spirit: Conversations with Human Rights Activists by Kuklin, Susan Age 12 and older

Hana’s Suitcase: A True Story by Levine, Karen Ages 9-14

The Kid’s Guide to Social Action: How to Solve the Social Problems You Choose — and Turn Creative Thinking into Positive Action by Lewis, Barbara AAge 8 and older

In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer by Opdyke, Irene Gut and Jennifer Armstrong Age 12 and older

Getting Away with Murder: The True Story of the Emmett Till Case by Crowe, Chris 12 and olderRed Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution by Jiang, Ji-Li Age 12 and older

Witnesses to War: Eight True-Life Stories of Nazi Persecution by Leapman, Michael Age 11 and older

A Fence Away from Freedom: Japanese Americans and World War II by Levine, Ellen  Age 12 and older

The Jane Addams Children’s Book Award is an award for children books on social justice.

Social Justice Literature for the Elementary Classroom blog also has some great books.

I’m giving you this list for a few reasons.  One, if you are anything like me, I get bored about two days into break and need some new books to read!  Two, these are books that will give you some background information on many social justice issues.

Parents, if you would like to begin a conversation about social justice with your children this website has some great pointers!

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About Ms. Walsh

I teach 3rd through 5th grade art in Madison, WI. I love sharing my passion for art with my wonderfully, creative students! This is my fifth year as a teacher in Madison.

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