The Classroom Bookshelf
Inside The Classroom Bookshelf

Teaching for Change and Social Justice

Welcome to the 2014-2015 school year! As we think about our goals for our students, we embrace the fact that we are not just teachers of academic content. We also want to support our students to be productive, responsible, and thoughtful citizens.

Here at The Classroom Bookshelf, one of our goals is to feature selections of children’s literature that promote visions of a better world as well as selections that provoke conversations about issues of social justice and what we can do to enact change.

This school year begins as the country struggles with the loss of another young life, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. We believe that issues of power, perspective, and positioning are central to these events and that children’s and young adult literature provide a pathway for discussing these issues today and everyday.

Sharing stories that represent our diverse society throughout the year is a goal that many of us share. When we read aloud and discuss stories where characters authentically represent different cultural backgrounds and social positions, we inspire students to think about themselves, others, and the world in new ways. We guide students to consider their own roles, responsibilities, and identities. We support them as they begin to question the inequities of our society.

The links below represent recommendations from across the fields of education and library services that support critical conversations and teaching towards social justice. We hope that you, our readers, will use the comment feature to share other helpful resources that you use to engage students as thoughtful, empathetic, and active citizens.

School Library Journal Recommendations for Understanding Ferguson:

School Library Journal story on the Ferguson, Missouri Public Library

The Cooperative Children’s Book Center Bibliography: 50 Books About Peace and Social Justice

The Cooperative Children’s Book Center Bibliography: 50 Multicultural Books Every Child Should Know

The Talk, a poem inspired by Ferguson, Missouri by Jabiri Asim

Teaching for Change Bookstore Recommendations by Theme:

Collaborative for Equity in Literacy Learning: A More Diverse Appendix B Recommendations:

Lee and Low Books Blog Post “Where Can I Find Great Diverse Books?”

Rethinking Schools’ Recommendations for New Teachers to Support Social Justice Teaching

We Need Diverse Books Official Campaign Site

Scholastic Joins the #weneeddiversebooks Movement

Project Mirrors and Windows

The Pirate Tree Blog

Grace Enriquez About Grace Enriquez

Grace is an associate professor of language and literacy at Lesley University. A former English Language Arts teacher, reading specialist, and literacy consultant, she teaches and writes about children’s literature, critical literacies, and literacies and embodiment. Grace is co-author of The Reading Turn-Around and co-editor of Literacies, Learning, and the Body.


  1. Thanks for addressing this topic, Grace. Very important and timely!

  2. Thank you for this, in thinking about it but also for compiling this list.

  3. You're welcome! But I can't take sole credit, as it was a group effort. Mary Ann, Erika, Katie, and I collaborated to compile this list. Glad it's helpful!