Teaching Civics with Children’s Literature: Rosa

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Introduction
Civil rights is an important aspect of American History. There are many important people that helped create  a desegregated America. Even though some of these individuals may have done small things to help achieve desegragation, they made important impacts on the Civil Rights movement. One such contribution was done by Rosa Parks. Rosa by Nikki Giovanni tells the story of Rosa Parks and the important contriubtion that she had on the civil rights movement. In addition, this book relates other important aspects that occured during the Civil Rights Movement.

Summary
Rosa begins as a story introducing the audience to the normal life that Rosa lead up to her courageous act. It tells of the job that Rosa held and the thoughts that her community members had about the job that she would do. As the story develops further on, we learn of what Rosa went through that particular day and come to realize that she too was getting tired of the separation taking place. After Rosa arrest for sitting in the white section, the story continues on narrating what other people did that day. We see that her community banded together in support of Rosa and her couragious act. We come to see that the Supreme Court ruled that separate was not equal. In addition to learning about the Supreme Court decision, the story mentions what happened in Mississippi to a boy name Emmett Till. After this took place, there was a big meeting between the Women’s Political Council, the NAACP, and all the surrounding churches. We see the march that Dr. Martin Luther King lead and the book finishes with the ruling that segregation on buses was illegal; Segregation was wrong.

Curriculum Connections
After introducing Rosa Parks and going over her contributions to the Civil Rights Movement this book could be used to end the lesson. It could help students see that Rosa Parks was just a normal citizen like they are. It would help students see that if you feel something is wrong, have courage and stand up for what you believe. It could help 3.11b)reiterate the the basic principles that form a republic foundation by identifying the contribution that Rosa Parks had on the civil rights movement. In addition, this book could used to introduce Rosa Parks at the beginning of a lesson. After reading the book, could go into more detail of the life of Rosa Parks.

Additional Resources

  • For background information on Rosa Parks and additional information on that faithful bus day try visiting Rosa Parks Biography.
  • For videos that could show in class on important historical information related to the Civil Rights Movements and Rosa Parks try visiting They Changed the World.
  • Civil Rights Movement provides specific information on the Montgomery Bus Boycott. It details what events lead up to the bus boycott, including Rosa Park’s refusal. In addition, it provides information on what happened after the boycott was held.

Book: Rosa
Author: Nikki Giovanni
Illustrator: Bryan Collier
Publisher: Square Fish
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 1-24
Grade Range: 1-3
ISBN: 0312376022