Our picks for books, videos, websites, and other social justice resources 18.2

Check out these valuable resources, reviewed by Rethinking Schools editors and Teaching for Change colleagues.

Curriculum Resources

Authors in the Classroom: A Transformative Education Process
By Alma Flora Ada and F. Isabel Campoy (Pearson, 2003).
272 pp. $35.

An amazing book, packed with enough teaching ideas to fill years of writers’ workshops from early elementary grades through high school. The authors’ premise is that teachers, students, and parents can all benefit from writing books in the classroom. Using the notion of transformative education in which students value and reflect on their own lives and discuss how their lives connect to others in their community and world, Ada and Campoy suggest dozens of stories, books, and writing activities that strengthen self-identity, build community, and encourage empathy.

Children’s Fears of War and Terrorism: A Resource for Teachers and Parents
By Lisa Moses, Jerry Aldridge, Anarella Cellitti, and Gwenyth McCorquodale (Association for Childhood Education International, 2003).
64 pp. $18.50.

A short, well-researched booklet by early childhood educators who examine children’s fears related to armed conflict and terrorism. The book examines the background and history of children’s fear, the impact of context on fears, the influence of a child’s temperament, age-appropriate issues, and ways to deal with students’ fears through discussion, literature, and art. Available at www.acei.org.

History in the Present Tense
By Douglas Selwyn and Jan Maher (Heinemann, 2003).
182 pp. $19.50.

The authors describe seven detailed lesson/project ideas that use the present concerns of students to enliven the teaching of history in middle and high school. Topics include media, product research, and photo documentaries.

*Soy Bilingue: Language, Culture, and Young Latino Children
By Sharon Cronin and Carmen Sosa Masso (Center for Cultural and Linguistic Democracy, 2003).
170 pp. $30.

Drawing deeply from their personal lives and cultural backgrounds, these authors offer bilingual, bicultural, and biliterate early childhood educators a rich and illuminating discussion to help teach, love, and live among young Latino children.

Policy Matters

Final Test: The Battle for Adequacy in America’s Schools
By Peter Schrag (New Press, 2003). 308 pp. $25.95 (hardback).

A detailed and passionate plea that schools in the United States be adequately funded. While calls for equality still are heard 50 years after Brown v. Board of Education, Schrag argues that the struggle for adequate funding is the key educational issue of our time. He analyzes the history of that struggle in eight key states and answers the question “Does money matter?”

*City Schools and the American Dream: Reclaiming the Promise of Public Education
By Pedro Noguera (Teachers College Press, 2003). 224 pp. $19.95.

What will it take for urban schools to achieve the kind of academic performance required by new state and national educational standards? How can classroom teachers in city schools help to close the achievement gap? What can restore public confidence in public schools? Drawing on extensive research done in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and Richmond, Noguera demonstrates how social forces influence school and student achievement.

Are Prisons Obsolete?
By Angela Davis (Seven Stories Press, 2003). 128 pp. $8.95.

With the growing “Education Not Incarceration” movement in parts of the country, this book offers a convincing argument that the U.S. practice of super-incarceration must end. The well-researched book by long-time activist Davis provides students and teachers with important information and resources to study and debate this topic.

The First Amendment in Schools
By the First Amendment Center (AIDC and the First Amendment Center, 2003). 207 pp. $25.95.

At a time of controversy surrounding civil liberties and the Patriot Act, this book explains why we need to teach about the First Amendment in our classrooms and also how the amendment applies to school life. A chronological discussion of 50 key legal cases involving First Amendment issues in public schools is particularly useful.

Teacher Quality: Understanding the Effectiveness of Teacher Attributes
By Jennifer King Rice (Economic Policy Institute, 2003). 64 pp. $11.50.

A concise summary of the debate and research on teacher quality, including issues of preparation programs, certification, and testing. One of the key findings is that course content and teaching methods are equally important in teacher training, a perspective that counters NCLB’s emphasis on content over teaching technique.

Picture Books

The Treasure on Gold Street/El tesoro en la calle oro
By Lee Merrill Byrd, illustrated by Antonio Castro L. (Cinco Puntos Press, 2003). 37 pp. $16.95 (hardback).

A bilingual story about inter-generational friendship between a young child and
an adult neighbor who is cognitively disabled. The colorful illustrations and realistic dialogue are useful conversation starters about friends, families, and people who differ from the norm. Appropriate for first grade and up.

My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers: Growing Up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

By Christine King Farris, illustrated by Chris Soentpiet (Simon & Schuster, 2003).
40 pp. $17.95 (hardback).

Beautifully illustrated, this large picture book shares short anecdotes from the older sister of Dr. King. She quotes Martin as saying, “One day I’m going turn this world upside down.” Appropriate for kindergarten and up.

Young Adult Fiction

By Francine Prose (HarperCollins, 2003). 330 pp. $16.99 (hardback).

A fter a Columbine-style incident occurs at a nearby high school, a grief counselor shows up at Central High, student rights disappear, and non-conformist students start to “disappear.” This suspenseful and dystopian fantasy will hold students’ interest and engender discussions of rights and responsibilities. Appropriate for middle school and high school.

The Traitor
By Laurence Yep (HarperCollins, 2003). 310 pp. $16.99 (hardback).

The sequel to Dragon’s Gate, which vividly described the life of Chinese immigrants who worked on the transcontinental railroad. In this book, set in 1885, the father and son have moved to Wyoming Territory where many immigrants work in coal mines. The Chinese immigrant son and an Anglo boy of the same age narrate the story in alternating chapters. Issues of cultural identity, friendship, and racism are interwoven into a backdrop of one of the worst race riots in American history. A superb contribution to further students’ and teachers’ understanding of a long-neglected chapter in U.S. history. Appropriate for middle school and high school.

Global Issues Resources

Lines in the Sand
Edited by Mary Hoffman and Rhiannon Lassiter (The Disinformation Company, Ltd., 2003). 288 pp. $8.95.

More than 150 poems, stories, and line drawings about issues of war and peace, ranging from the Crusades to modern times. Several deal with the ongoing war in Iraq. The drawings alone make it a worthwhile classroom resource. All proceeds go to UNICEF. Appropriate for third grade and up.

Culture and Resistance, Conversations with Edward W. Said
Interviews by David Barsamian (South End Press, 2003). 225 pp. $16.

A very readable set of interviews with the late Edward Said on topics of Palestine, Israel, terrorism, and the war in Iraq. The 13 maps at the end of the book are invaluable in understanding the current conflict in Israel and Palestine. Appropri-ate for high school and up.

A People’s History of the Vietnam War
By Jonathan Neale (New Press, 2003). 309 pp. $24.95 (hardback).

A comprehensive and class-conscious reappraisal of the Vietnam War and its aftermath. This readable, detailed history draws on first-person accounts from the Vietnamese people, U.S. soldiers, and anti-war activists. A must read for people who want to understand the horrific consequences of U.S. foreign policy in Southeast Asia. A definitive rebuttal to the claim that U.S. foreign policy is based on humanitarian or democratic ideals. Appropriate for high school and up.


Palestine Is Still the Issue
By John Pilger

(Available from Bullfrogfilms.com, 2002.)
53 minutes. $250, regular; $39 for activists.

Australian journalist and filmmaker tells the history of the Palestinian people and their struggle for justice through a riveting set of stories and film footage that include interviews with the families of suicide bombers and their victims. Excellent classroom tool for studying this issue. A 20-page study/discussion guide by the same title accompanies the video. Appropriate for middle and high school and up.

Resources compiled and reviewed by Bob Peterson.

*Items available in the Teaching for Change catalog.