2012 Social Justice in Children’s/YA Reading List

LIS 7963 (40296) Social Justice and Children’s/YA Literature
SYLLABUS | 2012 Summer | MLIS Program | St. Catherine University

Catalog Description

In this course, students will learn how to select, evaluate and analyze depictions and aspects of social justice and injustice in children’s and young adult literature. We will consider topics such as power, racism, diversity, violence, perspective, publishing trends, authorship, illustrations, and ideology. We will also consider how these texts may be used in library programming.

Reading List

  • Ballard, Robert L. Pieces of Me: Who Do I Want to Be? Voices for and by Adopted Teens
  • Barakat, Ibtisam. Tasting the Sky
  • Bausam, Ann. Denied, Detained, Deported
  • Boyne, John. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
  • Brannen, Sarah S. Uncle Bobby’s Wedding
  • Cali, Davide and Serge Bloch. The Enemy
  • Campbell, Nicola A. Shi-Shi-Etko
  • Cha, Dia. Dia’s Story Cloth
  • Choi, Yangsook. The Name Jar
  • Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games
  • Cottin, Menana. The Black Book of Colors
  • Curtis, Christopher Paul. Elijah of Buxton
  • de la Peña, Matt. Mexican White Boy
  • Edwardson, D.D. My Name is not Easy
  • Elliott, Zetta. A Wish After Midnight
  • Ellis, Deborah. Off to War: Voices of Soldier’s Children
  • Fradin, Dennis Brindell and Judith Bloom Fradin. Jane Addams: Champion of Democracy
  • Hoose, Phillip M. Claudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice
  • Lowry, Lois. The Giver
  • Mickenberg, Julia M and Philip Nel (eds). Tales for Little Rebels: A Collection of Radical Children’s Literature
  • Mochizuki, Ken. Baseball Saved Us
  • Myers, Walter Dean. Monster
  • Naidoo, Beverly. Burn My Heart
  • Nivola, Claire A. Planting the Trees of Kenya
  • Park, Linda Sue. When My Name Was Keoko
  • Perkins, Mitali. First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover
  • Rhuday-Perkovich, Olugbemisola. Eighth-Grade Superzero
  • Russell, Ching Yeung. Tofu Quilt
  • Sanchez, Alex. Rainbow Boys
  • Senzai, N.H. Shooting Kabul
  • Stork, Francisco X. Marcelo in the Real World
  • Weatherford, Carole Boston. Moses
  • Williams, Karen Lynn. My Name Is Sangoel
  • Wilson, Janet. One Peace: True Stories of Young Activists
  • Yep, Laurence. The Traitor


Required Readings

Mickenberg, Julia M. and Philip Nel, eds. (2008). Tales for Little Rebels: A Collection of Radical Children’s Literature. New York University.

Optional Readings

Nodelman, Perry and Mavis Reimer. The Pleasures of Children’s Literature, 2nd Edition.
Cart, Michael. From Romance to Realism.


WEEK 1 | Mon June 4 | Introduction

  • Tales for Little Rebels, Forward, Acknowledgments, Introduction and Part I: “R is for Rebel”
  • Nodelman, Perry. “The Other: Orientalism, Colonialism, and Children’s Literature.” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 17.1, 1992.
  • Larrick, Nancy. “The All-White World of Children’s Books.” Saturday Review, Sep. 11, 1965.
  • Derman-Sparks, Louise. “10 Quick Ways to Analyze Children’s Books for Racism and Sexism.” From Anti-Bias Curriculum: Tools for Empowering Young Children. Washington, DC: NAEYC, 1980. [Google search for the PDF from UNCC]

Youth Literature

  • Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games
  • Wilson, Janet. One Peace: True Stories of Young Activists
  • Bring to class a children’s or YA book that you think speaks to a social justice issue. Be prepared to explain.

WEEK 1 | Wed June 6 | Slavery, Colonizing the Body & Publishing

Youth Literature

  • Weatherford, Carole Boston. Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom
  • Elliott, Zetta. A Wish After Midnight
  • Curtis, Christopher Paul. Elijah of Buxton