The Classroom Bookshelf
Inside The Classroom Bookshelf

Love in Action: Children’s Literature to Promote Hope and Counter Fear


TheJourney_coverFeatureCongressman John Lewis uses the phrase “love in action” when speaking about the nonviolent revolution of the 1960s. When faced with systemic oppression, Congressman Lewis and fellow civil rights marchers led with love. Today, we are faced once again as a nation with divisive, harmful rhetoric and actions that threaten the values of civil liberties this country is founded upon. Yet, millions of Americans and people around the world are countering these actions by demonstrating “love in action”. At The Classroom Bookshelf, we believe that our classrooms should always be places fueled by hope, inclusivity, understanding, and most of all, love. We also believe that classrooms are spaces where all children should find connection and a sense of belonging. Books can help us get there. Books transmit values and let young people know they are not alone. Books are our ally if we want to promote hope and counter fear.

To support your work in fostering classroom conversations that build compassion and empathy and work toward activism, we have curated the following resources.


Building Sociocultural Understandings Through Children’s Literature

Resources for Locating Children’s Books with Muslim Characters

Kitaab World: Countering Islamaphobia Through Stories

The Horn Book: Refugees Welcome Here

Lee & Low: Picture Books About Muslim or Middle Eastern Characters

Middle East Book Award

School Library Journal: Islam in the Classroom

Millikin University: Arab / Arab American Children’s Literature


Resources on the Refugee Experience

The Child as Refugee, The Classroom Bookshelf

The Refugee Experience: Books for Children, Colorin’ Colorado

How Do You Explain the Refugee Crisis to Children? New Picture Books Can Help

The Refugee Experience: Books for Children, The New York Public Library


Resources for Locating Diverse Books

We Need Diverse Books

International Board on Books for Young People

Notable Books for a Global Society

USBBY Outstanding International Books

Charlotte Huck Award for Outstanding Fiction for Children

The Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction

The International Children’s Digital Library

Multicultural Children’s Book Day


Resources for Teachers

Teaching Tolerance

After Election Day, The Trump Effect: The Impact of the 2016 Presidential Election on Our Nation’s Schools


Classroom Bookshelf Entries:

The Red Pencil

Malala: A Brave Girl/Iqbal: A Brave Boy

Same Sun Here

Same Same But Different

Each Kindness

“Courage, Compassion, Connection: Building Community Through Powerful Characters”


Katie Cunningham About Katie Cunningham

Katie is a Professor of Literacy and English Education at Manhattanville College. There she is also the Director of the Advanced Certificate Program in Social and Emotional Learning and Whole Child Education. Her work focuses on children’s literature, joyful literacy methods, and literacy leadership. Katie is the author of Story: Still the Heart of Literacy Learning and co-author of Literacy Leadership in Changing Schools. Her book Start with Joy: Designing Literacy Learning for Student Happiness will be released September 2019. She is passionate about the power of stories to transform lives.