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Field Notes: Loud in the Library: Creating Social Activists at School

The library after school is a place for families. Photo: Liz Phipps Soeiro.

I am the librarian in an elementary school in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It’s a city of socioeconomic extremes, but dedicated to the mission of equity in public education; every classroom in each of the twelve public elementary schools maintains a 60/40 ratio between paid and free lunch students. In addition to being the home of Harvard […]


activism_bass_seeds of freedom

Bass, Hester  Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama Gr. K–3      32 pp.     Candlewick Illustrated by E. B. Lewis. In this welcome story of nonviolent protests in the early 1960s, Jim Crow–era South, black residents of Huntsville, Alabama, organize Blue Jean Sunday — a boycott of shops that sell traditional expensive Easter outfits; […]

Social justice

freedman_because they marched

Civil rights, global warming, and crime and punishment: these complex social issues receive accessible, clear treatment in four new nonfiction books for teens. In Because They Marched: The People’s Campaign for Voting Rights That Changed America, Russell Freedman documents the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery march, including the horrific Bloody Sunday confrontation between marchers and Alabama state troopers. […]

Review of Strike! The Farm Workers’ 
Fight for Their Rights


Strike! The Farm Workers’ 
Fight for Their Rights by Larry Dane Brimner Intermediate, Middle School    Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills    172 pp. 10/14    978-1-59078-997-1    $16.95 Brimner turns his attention from one part of the 1960s — the civil rights movement in the South (Black & White) — to another, a parallel movement among migrant farm workers in […]

Applying Martin’s big words

Martin's Big Words

With the advent of the Common Core I have worked tirelessly this year to reboot my nonfiction units from something that was once a simple overview of headings, captions, and text features to an integrated understanding and application of nonfiction texts. I feel often, however, that I have come up short, particularly in asking my […]