Social Justice in Books and Schools

Sold, Rickshaw Girl and Inside Out and Back Again were beautiful and heartbreaking stories. They are wonderful examples of Social Justice in books and I think they would be great additions to any library collection. I agree that William Ayers said it best when it comes to teaching social justice, “Teaching for social justice is teaching that arouses students, engages them in a quest to identify obstacles to their full humanity, to their freedom, and then to drive, to move against those obstacles.”  As a student I couldn’t think of a better way to learn than to see different aspects and be asked to think critically about the issues people face here in America but also around the world. As a future librarian I would want that for the students who came to my library. I would want them to see beyond their small corner of the world to what else is out there and perhaps find their passion along the way. Critical thinking is such an important part of learning and gives students a drive to learn more and participate more in the class because they want to share their points of view.

“Adolescent Literature and Reader Response: ‘It’s about Global Awareness and Social Justice!’ ” was such an amazing read. There were so many points that I agreed on both as a student and as a guide for how I would like to run my library one day. Global awareness and social justice are such important topics for all ages but bringing it into schools allows children to begin critical thinking and understanding the world they live in at an early age. “Literature has the power to transform our thinking,” is spot on what we read can change how we think and how we perceive life around us. If we want to teach children that they can be and do anything they put their mind to we need to broaden what we teach them so the options are as endless as we say they are. There are many obstacles that may pop up along the way but they are simply that, obstacles. Reading the stories of those who have overcome their obstacles and even those who didn’t are important for children and all ages really to see the many possibilities and paths that life offers. Rickshaw girl I was rooting for Naima and all of her ideas because while she was told a daughter is no good she found a way to help. Lakshmi, in Sold, was so brave to give up everything she knew to work in the city and bring money for her family. She didn’t want to go but she was brave for her mother and later when she goes to the American hoping for a better life for her. The formats for Inside Out and Back Again as well as Sold were so different and interesting. They were almost like poems but also like diary entries. The reader is drawn in like they are a part of the story too.

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