Books and Curricula for Global Justice

Note: All books and curricula that are starred are available from the Teaching for Change catalog,, or 800-763-9131.


Against Empire 
Michael Parenti.
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1995.
Critical essays on U.S. foreign policy.

The Case Against The Global Economy 
edited by Jerry Mander and Edward Goldsmith. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1996.
An impressive collection of essays on all aspects of globalization from some of the most distinguished activists and scholars around.

A Citizen’s Guide to the World Trade Organization 
Steven Shrybman. Toronto: James Lorimer and Co. and Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (, 1999.
A valuable overview of the effects of the World Trade Organization and the regime of free trade.

Corporations Are Gonna Get Your Mama: Globalization and the Downsizing of the American Dream 
Kevin Danaher, ed. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 1996.
A collection of short critical essays on globalization and resistance.

Democratizing the Global Economy 
Kevin Danaher, ed. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 2001.
Short articles describe popular challenges to the policies of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Many of these could be used with students.

*Eyes of the Heart: Seeking a Path for the Poor in the Age of Globalization 
Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Monroe: ME: Common Courage Press, 2000.
A short but moving book about the plight of the poor in a time of market domination. Clear and brief chapters could be used with students.

*The Field Guide to the Global Economy 
Sarah Anderson and John Cavanagh, with Thea Lee. New York: The New Press, 1999.
Illustrated with charts, graphs, and political cartoons, this accessible and engaging guide reveals the harmful effects of corporate-driven globalization. It explainscurrent trends in the global economy, the driving forces behind globalization, and the organizations and individuals working to reverse these destructive forces.

50 Years is Enough: The Case Against the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund 
edited by Kevin Danaher. Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 1994.
A short but important book that offers a devastating overview of the negative impact of the debt crisis and “structural adjustment programs.” Lots of case studies that could be drawn on for classroom activities.

Global Ethnography: Forces, Connections, and Imaginations in a Postmodern World 
Michael Burawoy, et al., Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.
A collection of provocative ethnographies which look at the interaction between local struggles and global forces.

Global Village or Global Pillage: Economic Reconstruction from the Bottom Up 
Jeremy Brecher and Tim Costello. Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 1994.
Provides a helpful wider framework to consider the “race to the bottom,” but also focuses on grassroots responses worldwide. Good source of examples and quotes to share with students. [See also the video of the same title.]

Globalization from Below 
Jeremy Brecher, Tim Costello, and Brendan Smith. Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 2000.
A useful book to reflect on organizing choices to confront globalization from above.

Globalize This! The Battle Against the World Trade Organization and Corporate Rule 
edited by Kevin Danaher and Roger Burbach, Common Courage Press, 2000.
A valuable collection of short readings that capture the breadth of the anti-globalization movement that coalesced in Seattle in late 1999.

*Invisible Government: The World Trade Organization – Global Government for the New Millennium? 
Debi Barker and Jerry Mander. San Francisco: International Forum on Globalization, 1999.
The best short introduction to the rationale behind and the workings of the World Trade Organization. The authors provide several case studies to highlight their points.

*No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies 
Naomi Klein. New York: Picador, 1999.
A lively and wide-ranging book that takes a critical look at corporate marketing and production strategies. Klein also documents the contradictions of many of these corporate policies and how they contribute to the growth of opposition movements.

*A People’s History of the United States 
Howard Zinn. New York: HarperCollins, 1995.
The best single-volume U.S. history. Lays the groundwork for understanding the role of the United States in world affairs.

Shifting Fortunes: The Perils of the Growing American Wealth Gap 
Chuck Collins, Betsy Leondar-Wright, and Holly Sklar. Boston: United For a Fair Economy, 1999.
Very readable handbook with many charts and graphs showing the increasing wealth divide in the United States.

*Upside Down: A Primer for the Looking-Glass World Eduardo Galeano. 
New York: Henry Holt, 2000.
A funny, brilliant, wide-ranging look at the latest incarnation of globalization. Much of this book could be excerpted for classroom use.

Views from the South: The Effects of Globalization and the WTO on Third World Countries 
edited by Sarah Anderson. San Francisco: International Forum on Globalization, 1999.
Defenders of corporate globalization are fond of criticizing opponents as ex-hippies and “paid union activists,” and claim that people in the Third World are hungry for more not less globalization. Here is a book that presents essays by such prominent Third World scholar-activists as Vandana Shiva, Walden Bello, Martin Khor and Oronto Douglas that reveal the concrete effects of capitalist globalization.

*The War on the Poor 
Randy Albelda, Nancy Folbre, and the Center for Popular Economics. New York: New Press, 1996.
A readable description of how current U.S. welfare policy harms the poor and doesn’t eliminate domestic poverty. Great graphics, classroom-friendly.


Capitalism and Slavery 
Eric Williams. University of North Carolina Press, 1994.
A look at the relationship between the rise of capitalism and the transatlantic slave trade.

The Colonizer and the Colonized 
Albert Memmi. Boston: Beacon, 1967.
A classic critical treatise on colonialism.

Discourse on Colonialism 
Aimé Césaire. New York: Monthly Review, 1972.
A succinct, angry, poetic indictment of colonialism by the Martinique scholar-activist, Césaire. Parts could be used with students.

How Europe Underdeveloped Africa 
Walter Rodney. Washington, DC: Howard University Press, 1981.
Adetailed and well-documented analysis of the impact of European colonialism on Africa.

King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa 
Adam Hochschild. New York: Mariner Books, 1998.
An in-depth look at the history of colonialism and resistance in central Africa. An excellent book to complement Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible.

No Trespassing: Squatting, Rent Strikes, and Land Struggles Worldwide 
Anders Corr. Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 1999.
A fine account of struggles throughout the world, from the homeless of New York City’s Tompkin Square to the agricultural workers on Chiquita banana plantations in Honduras. Several uplifting stories worth sharing with students. Excellent bibliography.

*Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent 
Eduardo Galeano. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1998.
The classic indictment of imperialism in the Americas.

School of Assassins 
Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1997.
Presents the case for closing the School of the Americas, which trains military officers from countries of Latin America, some of whom have been implicated in torture and suppression of people’s movements in their country.

Stolen Continents: The “New World” Through Indian Eyes Since 1492 
Ronald Wright. New York: Viking, 1992.
An examination of the “discovery,” resistance, and rebirth of five major Native nations: Aztec, Maya, Inca, Cherokee, and Iroquois.

What Do You Know About Racism? 
Pete Sanders and Steve Meyers. Copper Beach Books, 1995.
A children’s book from England that directly addresses racism with clear definitions and realistic comic strips. Gr. 4/up.


Behind the Swoosh: The Struggle of Indonesians Making Nike Shoes 
edited by Jeff Ballinger and Claes Olsson. Upsalla, Sweden: Global Publications Foundation, 1997.
A collection of articles and documents about Nike.

The Global Factory: Analysis and Action for a New Economic Era 
Rachael Kamel. Philadelphia: American Friends Service Committee, 1990.
A bit dated, but offers still-useful short examples about the effects of globe-trotting factories and the variety of ways people resist.

The Maquiladora Reader: Cross-Border Organizing Since NAFTA 
Rachael Kamel and Anya Hoffman, eds. Philadelphia: American Friends Service Committee, 1999.
A collection of articles and resources describing the heroic story of how maquiladora workers have organized.

No Sweat: Fashion, Free Trade and the Rights of Garment Workers 
Andrew Ross, ed. New York: Verso, 1997.
A creative collection of photos, writings, and statistics on the status of garment workers in the United States and abroad.

Reclaiming America: Nike, Clean Air, and the New National Activism 
Randy Shaw. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1999.
Recounts how popular activism has played a crucial role in raising awareness about sweatshop abuses around the world.

Runaway America: U.S. Jobs and Factories on the Move 
Harry Browne and Beth Sims. Albuquerque, NM: Resource Center Press, 1993.
Provides an overview of the history and economics of the phenomenon of corporations moving operations outside of the U.S. Also provides case studies of how activists, workers, and community leaders have fought against runaway shops.

The Sneaker Book: Anatomy of an Industry and an Icon 
Tom Vanderbilt. New York: New Press, 1998.
Loads of information on one of the most important clothing items for kids.

Sweatshop Warriors: Immigrant Women Workers Take on the Global Factory 
Mirriam Ching Yoon Louie. Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 2001.
A richly detailed book describing the strategies of sweatshop workers to challenge oppressive conditions. Many of these stories could be used with students or drawn upon to create engaging lessons.

With These Hands: The Hidden World of Migrant Farm Workers Today 
Daniel Rothenberg. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1998.
A readable documentation of the U.S. farm labor system through the voices of workers, growers, union organizers, farm worker families and others.


Cheap Raw Materials: How the Youngest Workers are Exploited and Abused 
Milton Meltzer. New York: Viking, 1994.
A fine history of child labor in the United States and how the problem persists today. Gr. 5/up.

Child Labor: A Selection of Materials on Children in the Workplace 
compiled by the American Federation of Teachers, International Affairs Dept., 555 New Jersey Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20001-2079 ( (single copy, $1).
Includes a number of articles that could be useful with students, e.g., “Child Labor in Pakistan,” by Jonathan Silvers; and “Six Cents an Hour,” by Sydney Schanberg.

Child Labor: A World History Companion 
Sandy Hobbs, Jim McKechnie, and Michael Lavalette. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 1999.
A one-volume encyclopedia on child labor organized alphabetically. Good library resource.

Child Labor in America 
Juliet Mofford, ed. Carlisle, MA: Discovery Enterprises, Ltd. 1997.
A short collection of first person and primary source material on child labor. 4th grade and up.

A Children’s Chorus: Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of the Child 
by UNICEF. [See “Picture Books.”]

Exploitation of Children 
Judith Ennew. Austin, TX: Raintree Steck-Vaughn, 1997.
An internationalist perspective that describes both the conditions and types of child exploitation along with efforts by people organizing against it.

Iqbal Masih and the Crusaders Against Child Slavery 
Susan Kuklin. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1998.
An excellent biography that sets the short life of Iqbal Masih in the context of the historic struggle against child labor. Gr. 5/up.

Kids at Work: Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child Labor 
Russell Freedman. New York: Clarion Books, 1994.
An impressive collection of Hine’s photos and an accessible description of his life work. Students will be amazed by his photographs.

Listen to Us: The World’s Working Children 
Jane Springer. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 1997.
A beautifully done book with impressive photos that clearly lays out the story of child labor in the world and how people are fighting against it.

Mother Jones and the March of the Mill Children 
Penny Colman. Brookfield, CN: Millbrook Press, 1994.
A story book with quality photos that tells of the historic march against child labor in 1903.

One Day We Had to Run 
Sybella Wilkes. Brookfield, CN: Millbrook Press, 1994.
Child refugees from Sudan, Somalia, and Ethiopia tell their stories in words and paintings.

Stolen Dreams: Portraits of Working Children 
David Parker. Minneapolis, MN: Learner Publications Co., 1998.
Striking black and white photos of children working throughout the world. Accompanying text includes many primary sources with children describing their working conditions, struggles and dreams.

Voices from the Fields: Children of Migrant Farm Workers Tell Their Stories 
S. Beth Atkin. Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1993.
Interviews and photographs that describe the reality of child labor in American fields.

We Have Marched Together: The Working Children’s Crusade 
Stephen Currie. Minneapolis, MN: Learner Publications, 1997.
A description of the 1903 march against child labor led by Mother Jones in which children marched from from Kensington, PA to Oyster Bay, New York. Quality photos and inspirational quotes from Mother Jones. Gr. 5/up.

We the Children
UNICEF. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1990.
Photographs by the world’s leading photojournalists show diverse children at play, school, work, and rest.


Against the Grain:
Biotechnology and the Corporate Takeover of Your Food
Marc Lappé and Britt Bailey. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 1998.
This book focuses especially on Monsanto to evaluate the corporate claims for the benefits of genetically engineered food.

Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh
Helena Norberg-Hodge. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1991.
Tells the story of Ladakh in northern India to highlight the way in which development is destroying ecologically viable indigenous cultures. See also the video Ancient Futures, an important classroom resource.

The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge
Vandana Shiva. Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 1997.
A passionate but scholarly denunciation of the West’s plunder of Third World biodiversity.

The Fate of the Forest:
Developers, Destroyers and Defenders of the Amazon
Susanna Hecht and Alexander Cockburn. New York: Harper Perennial, 1994.
An important overview of the social and ecological dynamics of rainforest destruction and resistance. Helpful appendices – interviews, manifestos, truths and myths, etc. – that could be excerpted for students.

A Green History of the World:
The Environment and the Collapse of Great Civilizations
Clive Ponting. New York: Penguin, 1991.
A history book that pays especially close attention to the effects of colonialism and neo-colonialism on the earth and the indigenous people who depend on it.

In the Absence of the Sacred:
The Failure of Technology and the Survival of the Indian Nations
Jerry Mander. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1991.
Mander is director of the International Forum on Globalization. In this book, he offers a powerful critique of cultures based on modern technologies, and argues that these technologies are not politically neutral. Mander explores the negative consequences when these imperialistic cultures collide with indigenous cultures.

The No-Nonsense Guide to Climate Change
Dinyar Godrej, ed. Toronto: New Internationalist, 2001.
A short, readable summary of the causes and consequences of global warming, focusing on human health, farming, and wildlife.

Power Politics
Arundhati Roy. Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 2001.
Arundhati Roy writes passionately about a range of issues in this book of essays, but especially about the politics of dams in India – which Roy sees as metaphor for the consequences of “development” worldwide.

Redesigning Life? The Worldwide Challenge to Genetic Engineering
Brian Tokar, ed. New York: Zed, 2001.
Perhaps the best critical overview to the genetic engineering debates, featuring the most prominent scholar- activists.

Resource Rebels:
Native Challenges to Mining and Oil Corporations
Al Gedicks. Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 2001.
Gedicks chronicles transnational indigenous movements that oppose mining and oil company exploitation. These are some of the most important struggles on the planet.

Joe Kane. New York: Vintage Books, 1996.
A fast-paced account of the invasion of the Oriente rainforest in eastern Ecuador by U.S.-based oil companies and the resistance of Huaorani Indians. Much of it is suitable for high school use.

Save My Rainforest
Monica Zak. Wonderful illustrations by Bengt-Arne Runnerström. (Available also in Spanish and Swedish). 1992.
True story of a young boy who leads a mass march to save the rainforest of his country.

*Stolen Harvest:
The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply
Vandana Shiva. Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 1999.
Details the impact of the increasing corporate control over the world’s food supply. An important and devastating critique.

World Hunger:
Twelve Myths
Francis Moore Lappé, Joseph Collins and Peter Rosset. New York: Food First/Grove, 1998.
This book marches through the most widely held myths about why people are hungry around the world, and punctures them one by one. The authors argue that overpopulation, lack of technology, or failure to apply modern farming techniques, are not to blame for hunger. The issue is how land is owned and controlled – too much marketplace, not enough democracy.

The World is Not for Sale:
Farmers Against Junk Food
José Bové and François Dufour. New York: Verso, 2001.
Interviews with French farmer José Bové, a prominent activist against corporate-driven globalization of food, and François Dufour, General Secretary of the French Farmers’ Confederation.


*The A to Z of World Development
edited by Andy Crump and Wayne Ellwood. The New Internationalist, 1998.
A valuable reference book for student research. It includes over 600 entries on key terms and concepts for understanding global issues.

*Beyond Heroes and Holidays
edited by Deborah Menkart, Enid Lee, Margo Okazawa-Rey. Washington DC: NECA, 1998.
A compilation of teaching and staff development activities that emphasize anti-racist, social justice approaches.

*Caribbean Connections
edited by Catherine Sunshine. Washington, D.C: Network of Educators on the Americas/EPICA, 1991.
Stories, interviews, songs, drama, and oral histories, accompanied by lesson plans for secondary language arts and social studies. Separate volumes on Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Regional Overview, and Moving North.

*Child Labor is Not Cheap
Amy Sanders and Meredith Sommers. Minneapolis: Resource Center of the Americas, 1997.
A three-lesson unit for grades 8-12 on the 250 million children throughout the world who spend most of their day on the job.

*Colonialism in the Americas:
A Critical Look and Colonialism in Asia: A Critical Look
Susan Gage. Victoria, British Columbia: VIDEA, 1991.
Accurate descriptions of colonialism in an easy to read, comic book format. Through dialogue and cartoons, each booklet traces the development of colonialism and its legacy. Teaching ideas are included in each volume.

*Finding Solutions to Hunger:
Kids Can Make a Difference
Stephanie Kempf. New York: World Hunger Year, 1997.
Engaging, interactive and challenging lessons for middle school, high school and adult education on the roots of, and solutions to domestic and global hunger. Examines colonialism, the media, famine vs. chronic hunger, the working poor and more.

Human Rights for Children
The Human Rights for Children Committee of Amnesty International USA. Alameda, CA: Hunter House, 1992.
A curriculum for teaching human rights to children ages 3 to 12.

Human Rights Here and Now:
Celebrating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
a publication of The Human Rights Educators’ Network of Amnesty International USA, Human Rights USA, and the Stanley Foundation, 1998. (To order contact: Human Rights USA Resource Center, 888-HREDUC8 or; website:
A collection of background articles and lesson activities for teaching kindergarten through high school students about human rights. Don’t be discouraged by the labored rationale for human rights education; many of the activities and resources are excellent.

*Open Minds to Equality:
A Sourcebook of Learning Activities to Affirm Diversity and Promote Equity (second edition)
Nancy Schniedewind and Ellen Davidson. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1998.
This resource inspires teachers to teach for justice and provides classroom-ready ideas that work. The lessons integrate various curricular areas and are presented in a sequential fashion. Includes an excellent resource bibliography.

*Peters Projection World Map
New York: Friendship Press.
This is a map, not a curriculum, but it comes with a teaching guide. It presents all countries according to their true size. Traditional Mercator projection maps distort sizes, making Europe appear much larger than it actually is.

*The Power in Our Hands:
A Curriculum on the History of Work and Workers in the United States
Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. New York: Monthly Review, 1988.
Awidely used curriculum on labor history. Role plays, simulations, first-person readings, and writing activities help students explore issues of work and
social change.

*Resistance in Paradise:
Rethinking 100 Years of U.S. Involvement in the Caribbean and the Pacific
edited by Deborah Wei and Rachael Kamel. Philadelphia: American Friends Service Committee, 1998.
In 1898, the United States annexed the Pacific Islands of Guam, Hawai’i, and Samoa, as well as Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. These major events
in U.S. history are barely mentioned in school textbooks. Resistance in Paradise fills the gap with over 50 lesson plans, role plays and readings for grades 9-12.

*Rethinking Columbus:
The Next 500 Years
edited by Bill Bigelow and Bob Peterson. Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools, 1998.
A collection of over 80 essays, poems, short stories, interviews and lesson plans that re-evaluate the legacy of Columbus.

*Rethinking Globalization:
Teaching for Justice in an Unjust World
edited by Bill Bigelow and Bob Peterson, Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools, 2002.
The most comprehensive volume of background readings, from-the-classroom articles, role plays, lesson plans, poetry, interviews, and resources, on teaching about globalization.

*Rethinking Our Classrooms, Volume 1:
Teaching for Equity and Justice
edited by Bill Bigelow, Linda Christensen, Stan Karp, Barbara Miner, and Bob Peterson. Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools, 1994.
A collection of lessons, reflections, poems, and resources for social justice teaching.

*Rethinking Our Classrooms, Volume 2:
Teaching for Equity and Justice
edited by Bill Bigelow, Brenda Harvey, Stan Karp, and Larry Miller. Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools, 2001.
Extends and deepens many of the themes introduced in Rethinking Our Classrooms, Volume 1, which has sold more than 100,000 copies. Practical from-the classroom stories from teachers about how they teach for social justice.

*Seeing Through Maps:
The Power of Images to Shape Our World View
Ward Kaiser and Denis Wood. Amherst, MA: ODT, 2001.
Aprovocative book to get students thinking critically about the politics of how the world is represented in maps.

Development in an Increasingly Unequal World
edited by Colm Regan Birmingham, England: The Development Education Centre. [Gillett Centre, 998 Bristol Road, Selly Oak, Birmingham, England B29 6LE.], 1996.
Contains many lessons that examine inequalities between the global North and the South.

Sweatshop Series
Susan Gage, Richard Morrow and Stacey Toews. Victoria, British Columbia: VIDEA, 2001.
This series includes three short booklets – Sweatshops: Clothes; Barbie’s Trip Around the World; and Behind the Swoosh: Facts about Nike – along with a 44-page teaching guide for the entire series. This is a valuable resource, with lots of helpful teaching ideas.

*Teaching Economics As If People Mattered:
A High School Curriculum Guide to the New Economy
Tamara Sober Giecek. United for a Fair Economy, 2000.
Field-tested by high school teachers, this innovative economics curriculum looks at the human implications of economic policies.

*That’s Not Fair:
A Teacher’s Guide to Activism with Young Children
Ann Pelo and Fran Davidson. St. Paul, MN: Redleaf Press, 2000.
Children have a sense of what’s fair and what’s not. This book helps teachers learn to use this characteristic to develop children’s belief that they can change the world for the better. Includes real-life stories of activist children, combined with teachers’ experiences and reflections. Original songs for children and a resource list for both adults and children.

*A Very Popular Economic Education Sampler
The Highlander Research and Education Cente,. 1997.
Skits, role plays, group-building activities and methods for identifying and analyzing issues.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
An Adaptation for Children
Ruth Rocha and Otavio Roth. New York: United Nations, 1995.
A concise description of both the origins and content of the Declaration. Simple yet well-illustrated.

*The World Guide:
An Alternative Reference to the Countries of Our Planet
compiled by the Third World Institute. The New Internationalist, 2000.
Profiles the countries of the world, but in addition to including standard information about history and politics, it also addresses the environment, women’s roles, human rights, militarism, etc.


All Souls Rising
Madison Smartt Bell. New York: NY Penguin Books, 1995.
A powerful novel of the 1790s Haitian slave rebellion which explores issues of class, color, and freedom.

Buru Quartet
Pramoedya Ananta Toer. New York: Penguin, 1996.
(A four book set: This Earth of Mankind, Child of All Nations, Footsteps, and House of Glass.) Sections of each could be used with high school students. The four books chronicle the effects – economic, cultural, psychological – of Dutch colonial rule in the then-Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), and the
growing anti-colonial movements that grew up in response.

Chain of Fire
Beverley Naidoo. New York: HarperTrophy. 1993.
Fifteen-year-old Naledi fights against resettlement of her village under the apartheid South African government. (Sequel to Journey to Jo’Burg.) Gr. 6/up.

Charlie Pippin
Candy Dawson Boyd. New York: Puffin, 1988.
Charlie, an African-American 11-year-old girl, gets in trouble for setting up an illegal store in her school. But her real trouble revolves around understanding her Vietnam War veteran father. When she sets up a “war and peace” committee in school she begins to understand a lot. Gr. 5/up.

*Color of My Words
Lynn Joseph. New York: HarperCollins, 2000.
A beautifully written book from the perspective of Ana Rosa Hernandez, a poor 12-year old girl in the Domincan Republic, who loves to write but must
steal paper to be able to do so. When the government threatens to bulldoze her village to expand the tourist trade, Ana’s family and her community must come together for a life-threatening struggle. Gr. 5/up.

David Copperfield
Charles Dickens. (various imprints), 1850.
The classic novel on child labor in industrial England.

Eating Fire, Drinking Water
Arlene Chai. New York: Ballantine, 1998.
Set in the Philippines at the time of the fall of the Marcos regime, a reporter investigates a student demonstration in which the army killed an unarmed man. She discovers much – not only about the unfolding revolution, but of her own personal past. A multi-layered, powerful work.

The Farming of Bones
Edwidge Danticat. New York: Penguin, 1998.
Haitian writer describes the events in the Dominican Republic of 1937, when a nationalist uprising on the part of Haitian workers resulted in a little-known massacre.

Grab Hands and Run
Frances Temple. New York: HarperTrophy, 1992.
Set during the civil war in El Salvador, a family flees north to escape the government soldiers. Gr. 4/up.

A Hand Full of Stars
Rafik Schami. New York: Puffin, 1990,
A first-person account of a teenage boy who keeps a journal and becomes increasingly angry with the repressive Syrian government, which arrests and tortures his father. The boy embarks on a dangerous mission of publishing an underground newspaper. Gr. 6/up.

Journey to Jo’Burg
Beverley Naidoo. New York: HarperTrophy, 1986.
When her sister becomes ill, Naledi and her younger brother travel to Johannesburg, looking for their mother. Through people they meet, they discover the painful reality of apartheid. Gr. 4/up.

Katherine Paterson. New York: Puffin, 1994.
Set in an east coast mill town in the 1880s. A Vermont farm girl confronts family problems and horrible working conditions. Inspiring historical fiction. Gr. 5/up.

Memory of Fire
Eduardo Galeano. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1998. (A trilogy: Genesis, Faces and Masks, and Century of the Wind.)
A brilliant and poignant overview of European colonialism, neo-colonialism, and indigenous resistance. Because Galeano uses short vignettes to illustrate different episodes, sections of the books are especially well-suited to classroom use.

My Name is Maria Isabel
Alma Flor Ada. New York: Atheneum, 1993.
For Maria Isabel Salazar Lopez, the hardest thing about being the new girl in school is that the teacher doesn’t call her by her real name. Named for her Papa’s mother and for Chabela, her beloved Puerto Rican grandmother, Maria Isabel must find a way to make her teacher understand that if she loses her name, she’s lost an important part of herself. Gr. 3/up.

My Name is Not Angelica
Scott O’Dell. New York: Dell Publishing, 1989.
A fictionalized account of an enslaved 16-year-old who risks her life for others. Set in the context of the 1733 slave rebellion on St. John Island in the Caribbean. Gr. 5/up.

My Year of Meats
Ruth L. Ozeki. New York: Penguin Books, 1998.
A humorous but biting tale about two women – one Japanese, one Japanese-American – and the production of a TV series about meat in the United States. In a cross-cultural way, the novel addresses issues of the role of media, the impact of a meat culture on health and environment, and gender bias. Mature high school students.

Naming the Spirits
Lawrence Thornton. New York: Doubleday, 1995.
A lyrical story told through the eyes of a survivor of a massacre of the Argentina military junta. Hgh school.

Nectar in a Sieve
Kamala Markandaya. New York: New American Library, 1990.
The story of Rukmani, a peasant in an Indian village who is forced to marry at age 12. Her village suffers from hunger, pollution, and other ills of industrialization. Though hunger and despair dominate much of village life, Rukmani’s struggle for survival generates hope. Gr. 9/up.

*The Other Side of Truth
Beverley Naidoo. New York: HarperCollins, 2001.
Set in Lagos, Nigeria, after the execution of environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa. Twelve-year-old Sade must flee with her younger brother. Her mother is murdered by the military dicatorship and her journalist father is being persecuted. Sade and her fifth grade brother arrive in London and face the double difficulties of being refugees and dealing with their father’s imprisonment. Gr. 6/up.

Petals of Blood
Ngugi Wa Thiong’o. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1978.
An anti neo-colonial novel about the erosion of traditional life in Kenya after “independence.” Skilled high school readers.

The Poisonwood Bible
Barbara Kingsolver. New York: Harper Perennial, 1998.
Set against the arrival of independence in the former Belgian Congo, this novel follows the story of missionary parents and their four daughters who try to “convert the natives” of an African village. An elegantly written critique of colonialism in its many incarnations. High school.

A Small Place
Jamaica Kincaid. New York: New American Library, 1985.
An angry and beautifully written denunciation of colonialism and its corrupt aftermath in a Caribbean island nation. (See p. 54.) High school.

*Taste of Salt: A Story of Modern Haiti
Frances Temple. New York: Harper Trophy, 1992.
A gripping novel about politics in contemporary Haiti as told through the voices of an injured member of Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s election team and a young man assigned to record his story. Gr. 6/up.

Things Fall Apart
Chinua Achebe. New York: Prentice-Hall, 1994.
The classic tale of Nigerian tribal life before and after European colonialism. A short, powerful tragedy that examines the impact of European economic and cultural domination on traditional life in Nigeria. High school.

Tonight, by Sea
Frances Temple. New York: HarperTrophy, 1997.
Set in Haiti in 1993 after the military coup that ousted President Aristide. Young Paulie and her uncle and grandmother make preparations to leave their homeland by boat. They must deal with the macoutes – government thugs – who come with guns and knives and try to stop them. A stirring account of an escape to freedom. Gr. 4/up.

Ariel Dorfman. New York: Penguin, 1983.
A moving tale of how widows, mothers, daughters and lovers mourn the loss of their “disappeared” loved ones. High school.

America is Her Name
Luis Rodriguez. San Francisco: Curbstone Press, 1998.
A young Latina immigrant in Chicago searches for a place of belonging. (Available in Spanish, La Llaman America.)

A Children’s Chorus:
Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of the Child
UNICEF. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1989.
Beautifully illustrated picture book summarizes the 1959 Declaration of the Rights of the Child which speaks to issues of nutrition, housing, recreation, and medical services as well as freedom from discrimination, special attention for the handicapped, and the right to be treated equally regardless of income.

The Composition
Antonio Skarmeta. Groundwood Books, 2000.
This picture book views a Latin American dictatorship through the eyes of a nine-year old boy. He has to confront issues of living in a police state.

A Country Far Away
Nigel Gray and Philippe Dupasquier. New York: Orchard Books, 1988.
A double set of stylized drawings contrasts the daily life of an agricultural African village and a white suburb in the United States.

For Every Child:
The U.N. Convention on Rights of the Child in Words and Pictures
Caroline Castle (text adaptation), forward by Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu. New York: Phyllis Fogelman Books, 2001.
A beautifully illustrated description of the key components of the U.N. Convention.

From Slave Ship to Freedom Road,
Julius Lester, paintings by Rod Brown. New York: Puffin Books, 1998.
A beautifully illustrated book that presents the slave experience – from auction block to emancipation.

*The Long March:
A Famine Gift for Ireland,
Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick and Gary WhiteDeer. Hillsboro, OR: Beyond Words Publishing, 1998.
Based on a true story of solidarity, this picture book for all ages tells of the Choctaws in 1847 who collected $170 from their meager savings for the people of Ireland during the Potato Famine. The story’s protagonist, Choona, a young Choctaw, grapples with
whether he is willing to extend help to a group of Europeans after the pain his own family has experienced.

The Middle Passage,
Tom Feelings. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 1995.
A dramatic set of drawings depicting the horror of the Middle Passage and the resistance of enslaved Africans.

The People Shall Continue,
Simon Ortíz, illustrated by Sharol Graves. Emeryville, CA: Children’s Book Press, 1987.
An epic story of Native American peoples extending from the creation to modern times. A “teaching story” of destruction, fightback, and survival.

The People Who Hugged Trees,
adapted by Deborah Lee Rose, illustrated by Birgitta Säflund. Niwott, CO: Roberts Rinehart, 1990.
An environmental folk tale based on the legend from India in which Amrita Devi and several hundred villagers gave up their lives while protecting the forest. This struggle continues today in the form of the Chipko “Hug the Tree” Movement whose members support nonviolent resistance to tree cutting.

*The Red Comb,
Fernando Pic, illustrated by María Antonia Ordez. Ri Piedras, Puerto Rico: Ediciones Huracán, 1991. (Also available in Spanish.)
In a story set in Puerto Rico, two women conspire to save a young woman from a slave catcher. Based on historical documents, this beautifully illustrated book brings to children another aspect of the struggle against slavery in the Americas.

Rose Blanche,
Christopher and Roberto Innocenti.Translated from Italian by Martha Coventry and Richard Graglia. Mankato, MN: Creative Education, 1985.
During World War II a young girl shows courage in the face of injustice when she takes food to the prisoners of a concentration camp.

The Sad Night:
The Story of an Aztec Victory and a Spanish Loss,
Sally Schofer Mathews. Boston: Clarion Books, 1994.
A vivid description of “La Noche Triste” – June 30, 1520 – when the Aztecs fought off the invading Spaniards in their great city of Tenochtitlán. An afterword explains how a year later Cortés laid seige to the city and finally defeated the Aztecs.

Save My Rainforest,
Monica Zak. Illustrations by Bengt-Arne Runnerström. (Also available in Spanish and Swedish.) Volcano, CA: Volcano Press, 1992.
True story of a young boy who leads a mass march to save the rainforest in Chiapas, Mexico. Wonderful illustrations.

Stolen Spirit,
Peter Hays and Beti Rozen, illustrated by Graça Lima. Fort Lee, NJ: Sem Fronteiras Press, 2001.
One interpretation of how a Native boy might have reacted to the first encounter in 1500 with Portuguese explorers who chop down trees that the boys’ people think are sacred. Beautifully illustrated.

*The Streets Are Free (La calle es libre),
Kurusa. Scarsborough, Ontario: Firefly Books, 1981.
A delightful story about how a group of children in a Caracas, Venezuela slum struggle to get a park.

*Talking Walls: The Stories Continue,
Margy B. Knight and Anne S. O’Brien. Gardiner, ME: Tilbury House, 1996.
Illustrations and text tell the stories of walls, and the people they divide, throughout the world. Includes the stories of Chinese detainees who wrote poetry on the walls of Angel Island, children who wrote poetry on the fence around the home of Pablo Neruda in Chile, children who created a garden in Philadelphia from an abandoned lot and painted a mural on the surrounding wall, children in Belfast who are divided by a wall constructed by the army in the 1970s, and more.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
An Adaptation for Children
Ruth Rocha and Otavio Roth. New York: United Nations, 1995.
A concise description of both the origins and content of the Declaration. Simple yet well-illustrated.

Last Updated Spring 2002