HRC Foundation Welcoming Schools’ Understanding Racism Book List and Lesson Prompts

by HRC Staff

Illustration with blue on top and text: "Welcoming Schools, Understanding Racims: New Lesson Prompts Every Month!" and book covers covering the bottom of the illustration

On the last Wednesday of every month, check back here to see brand new lesson prompts to go with one of the books on our book list.


Our kids are going back to school this fall. We must continue to foster an inclusive classroom and promote racial justice, no matter if we are virtual or face-to-face. With this in mind, HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools is launching a new resource for educators. We are providing a book list and lesson prompts that delve into education on anti-Black racism, Black history, skin color and racism experienced by Asian, Indigenous peoples and Latinx people.

On the last Wednesday of every month, check back here to see brand new lesson prompts to go with one of the books on our book list.

AUGUST LESSON PROMPT

Illustration with text on the left side that says "MONTH ONE" and books stacked together on the right, mimicking a book shelf

The Undefeated. Kwame Alexander, author and Kadir Nelson, illustrator. (K – 5) Winner of the 2020 Caldecott Medal. This poem is a love letter to black life in the United States. It highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world's greatest heroes. The poem and the illustrations are great for students of all ages.

Video: Kwame Alexander reading The Undefeated

Questions

  • What are some words that are new to you in this poem? Undeniable, Unflappable, Unafraid, Righteous, Unspeakable, Unlimited, Unbending, Unspoken, Undefeated.
  • What does the prefix un mean?
  • What illustration do you like best?
  • What do you know about slavery, Black soldiers in the Civil War or the civil rights movement? (See endnotes)

Activities

  • Select one person mentioned or pictured in the book and tell their story to another person.(See endnotes)
  • Explain five of the un words.
  • Write a poem about how you are undefeated (how you are strong and hardworking).
  • Make a drawing or collage of a person that you think is undefeated.

JULY LESSON PROMPT

Illustration with text on the left side that says "MONTH ONE" and books stacked together on the right, mimicking a book shelf

March (Trilogy).

By John Lewis. (Grade 4 and up) Winner of the 2016 National Book Award for Young People's Literature. March is a vivid first-hand account of Congressman John Lewis' lifelong struggle for civil rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation while reflecting on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement.

Questions

  • What was John Lewis’ life like as a child?
  • What things did Lewis experience during his childhood trip north that opened his eyes to the bigger picture of what the country could be like? What things were new to him?
  • What kind of protest did Lewis participate in as a college student? How was it dangerous?

Activities

  • Prepare a speech about something you like or something that is important to you. Gather objects or pets or other people in your house and deliver your speech the way Lewis preached to the chickens.
  • Make posters to advocate for something you believe in and stage a march around your house or outside in your neighborhood.