By now, teachers are familiar with the importance of incorporating social issues into their curriculum. Whether it be current events, monthly celebrations, or historical events, having these conversations is really important for your students. What better way to use books about social issues?
Using Book to Discuss Social Issues
Using books to talk about social issues is one of the most powerful ways you can do so. When we use books, we are helping our students step into the shoes of another person. Through this, they might be introduced to a new perspective or they may see themselves in the story(or a mix of both).
Research also tells us that books help us build empathy. For students especially, they are often in a stage of development where they struggle to think beyond their own life and experiences. Through books, we can help them build empathy for others and develop greater emotional intelligence.
Books for Teaching Social Issues
There are tons of books out there about social issues. I want to share some chapter books and children’s books you can use to talk about various social issues.
- Oney Judge by Emily Arnold McCully
- Rosa by Nikki Giovanni
- Anne Frank by Anne Frank
- The Tree in the Courtyard by Jeff Gottesfeld (discusses Anne Frank)
- Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine
- Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles
- Survivor Tree by Marcie Colleen (discusses the events of 9/11)
- Born Ready by Jodie Patterson (discusses identity and acceptance)
- Teacup by Rebecca Young (discuss immigration to a new place)
Want a complete social issues unit? I have a done-for-you Social Issues Read Aloud Unit perfect for 4th and 5th grade. It includes various books about social issues, and helps students build literacy skills through eye-opening stories.
There are twenty mini-lessons in total, discussing topics from overcoming obstacles to comparing perspectives of stories. All of the mini-lessons, interactive read aloud plans, whole group questions, reading response, notebook templates, and more are done for you! Just print and teach.
- Brown Girl Dreaming by Brown Girl Dreaming (discusses a Black girl in the 1960’s)
- Refugee by Alan Gratz
- Blended by sharon Draper (discusses finding your identity as an interracial person)
- The Only Road by Alexandra Diaz (discusses immigration)
- The Watsons Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis (discusses 1960’s south)
- Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (discusses the Holocaust)
These books can have a big impact on both your students’ emotional and literacy skills! Try incorporating these novels in First Chapter Fridays, read aloud, morning meetings, and more. You can also book talk these novels, and encourage your students to pick it up on their own!
Tired of spending hours searching for the right picture book?
Make all 5 components of reading lessons fun and engaging.
This picture book pack will help with your planning and creating thematic units. Download the entire week of Iggy Peck, Architect.