I, Too, Am America by Langston Hughes, Illustrated by Bryan Collier

Recommended Grades: 6-8

In this beautiful interpretation of Langston Hughe’s poem, I, Too, Am America, Collier depicts the job of the Pullman porter. 

Lesson Idea:  


Poetry/Primary Sources/Building Background Knowledge:  Prior to reading aloud I, Too, Am America, locate primary sources on the Library of Congress website as an activator.  Ask students what they notice in the sources (either specific Pullman porter sources or sources from that same time period).  Read aloud and discuss the role of the Pullman porter during the 1920’s.  Discuss what life was like for African Americans during that time and what life is like now.

©2013 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin Alexander Ramsey

Recommended Grades: 6-8

In the 1950’s Ruth and her family took a road trip from Chicago to Alabama to visit her grandmother.  Along the way, they met with resistance from business owners who did not want to serve African Americans.  When Ruth learns about The Negro Motorist Green Book, a book created to inform African Americans of African-American friendly establishments, her family uses it to meet new friends on their way.       

Lesson Idea:  


Civil Rights/Primary Sources:  Read aloud Ruth and the Green Book during a unit on civil rights.  After reading aloud, share this NPR interview with Civil Rights Leader Julian Bond, who remembers personally using the Green Book when he was a child.  For additional information, share this New York Times article, The Open Road Wasnt Quite Open to All.  Use the Negro Motorist Green Book as a primary source in an inquiry into Civil Rights.   

 

©2012 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

America’s Presidents by Chuck Wills

February Theme:  historical/presidential picture books

With the celebration of President’s Day today, I thought I would take the month of February to review and share lessons pertaining to picture books related to history or presidents.

Recommended Grades: 3-6

Primary Sources

This book is an excellent resource to use to share primary resources as well as background information with students about the history of the United States.  Handwritten letters, speeches, speech notes, campaign posters, executive orders and more are provided in this book, dubbed, “A Museum in a Book.”

America’s Presidents: Facts, Photos, and Memorabilia from the Nation’s Chief Executives (Museum in a Book) is a great model to use to discuss various parts of American history.  When discussing Abraham Lincoln, provide a copy of the Gettysburg Address for students to analyze.  If discussing John Adams, provide a copy of a letter he wrote to his wife, Abigail Adams.

Lesson idea: Use a primary source from a time in history you are studying and model for students how to analyze documents.  Or, model for students how to “translate” Old English into current day English.  Discuss the implications of the historical documents.

©2010 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

The Journey That Saved Curious George by Louise Borden

A fantastic primary source about the efforts the Reys took to escape Paris on bicycle just before the Nazis marched into the city. . . with their Curious George manuscript.

Determine Importance
While this isn’t exactly a picture book, it is a great primary source about the series of picture books, Curious George. If the Reys had not escaped the city with their manuscript in hand, we would never have learned about that curious little monkey always looking for an adventure. Primary sources give readers a sense of history and through this book, readers learn the background of the authors, Margret and H.A. Rey. This book pops with original primary sources such as original manuscript pages, telegrams, diary entries, photographs and letters among others. Lesson Idea: Introduce primary sources to your students via this text. Read aloud pieces of the text. Discuss how the primary sources enhance the narrative. Then provide a topic of study for your students and see if they can locate primary sources in the classroom or library (you may want to do your own research ahead of time to determine if there are primary sources available) pertaining to that topic. Discuss and interpret the primary sources found. Determine the importance of a primary source and whether comprehension can be clarified through one.
For more lesson ideas, click here