Children’s literature can play a powerful role in young children’s lives to learn, inspire and transform. The images and words convey a compelling story and message that has the potential to leave lasting impressions. In recent years, there’s been an explosion of children’s books that go beyond social and emotional learning. Books for young children about historical topics like enslavement, the Holocaust, Japanese-American internment, voting rights, segregation, and genocide are presenting them with both sensitivity and insight. When it comes to current event topics there are many excellent books about immigration and the refugee crisis, racial justice, transgender rights, marriage equality and activism among others. These books can be used to kick off a social studies unit, provide the groundwork for both historical and literary analysis, and identify questions for further research.
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