Picture Books

Resource Type:

Reading Level:

    • ¡Si, Se Puede! Yes, We Can!: Janitor Strike in L.A.

    • Book – Fiction. By Diana Cohn and illustrated by Francisco Delgado. 2008. 31 pages.
      A children’s book based on the true story of the Justice for Janitors strike.

    • Resource Types: Books: Fiction, Picture Books, Spanish/Bilingual | Time Periods: Post-Civil Rights Era: 1975 - 2000, 20th Century | Themes: Labor, Latino, Organizing | Reading Levels: Grades 3-5, Grades Pre-K-2
    • Aani and the Tree Huggers

    • Books – Fiction. By Jeannine Atkins. Illustrated by Venantius J. Pinto. 2000. 32 pages.
      Based on an event that took place in India in the 1970s, children and women in the village hug the trees to save them from being logged.

    • Resource Types: Books: Fiction, Picture Books | Themes: Environment & Food, Organizing, Women's History | Reading Levels: Grades Pre-K-2
    • The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch (Book) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch

    • Picture book. By Chris Barton. Illustrated by Don Tate. 2015. 50 pages.
      An in-depth look at the Reconstruction period through the life of one of the first African-American congressmen.

    • Resource Types: Picture Books | Time Periods: Reconstruction Period: 1865 - 1876, 18th Century | Themes: African American | Reading Levels: Grades 3-5
    • Ballots for Belva: The True Story of a Woman's Race for the Presidency

    • Book – Non-fiction. By Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen. Illustrated by Courtney E. Martin. 2008. 32 pages.
      Biography of Belva Lockwood who ran for president in 1884.

    • Resource Types: Books: Non-Fiction, Picture Books | Time Periods: Industrial Revolution: 1877 - 1899, 19th Century | Themes: Democracy & Citizenship, Women's History | Reading Levels: Grades 3-5
    • The Bobbin Girl

    • Book – Fiction. By Emily Arnold McCully. 1996. 36 pages.
      Historical fiction for upper elementary based on a true story about the Lowell textile workers.

    • Resource Types: Books: Fiction, Picture Books | Time Periods: Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, 19th Century | Themes: Labor, Organizing, Women's History | Reading Levels: Grades 3-5
    • The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth, & Harlem's Greatest Bookstore ( Book) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth, and Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore

    • Book – Fiction. By Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. 2015. 32 pages.
      Tells the story of Lewis Michaux Sr.’s Harlem bookstore that was a center of African American history, scholarship, debate, and activism, for grades 2-5.

    • Resource Types: Picture Books | Time Periods: Prosperity, Depression, & World War II: 1920 - 1944, Cold War: 1945 - 1960, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: African American | Reading Levels: Grades 3-5, Grades Pre-K-2
    • Child of the Civil Rights Movement

    • Book – Non-fiction. By Paula Young Shelton and illustrated by Raul Colon. 2009. 48 pages.
      A child’s unique perspective on the Civil Rights Movement by the daughter of Civil Rights activist Andrew Young.

    • Resource Types: Picture Books | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: Civil Rights Movements | Reading Levels: Grades Pre-K-2
    • Clic, Clac, Muu Vacas Escritoras

    • Book – Fiction. By Doreen Cronin. Illustrated by Betsy Lewin. 2001. 32 pages.
      A barnyard struggle where the cows go on strike and the farmer is forced to negotiate.

    • Resource Types: Books: Fiction, Picture Books, Spanish/Bilingual | Themes: Labor, Organizing | Reading Levels: Grades Pre-K-2
    • Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type

    • Book – Fiction. By Doreen Cronin. Illustrated by Betsy Lewin. 2000. 32 pages.
      A barnyard struggle where the cows go on strike and the farmer is forced to negotiate.

    • Resource Types: Books: Fiction, Picture Books | Themes: Labor, Organizing | Reading Levels: Grades Pre-K-2
    • Dzání Yázhí Naazbaa': Little Woman Warrior Who Came Home

    • Book – Fiction. By Evangeline Parsons Yazzie. Illustrated by Irving Toddy. 2005. 32 pages.
      Historical fiction for upper elementary about the Navajo Long Walk (forced removal by U.S. soldiers) of 1863-1864.

    • Resource Types: Books: Fiction, Picture Books | Time Periods: Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864, 19th Century | Themes: Native American | Reading Levels: Grades 3-5
    • Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins

    • Book – Fiction. By Carole Boston Weatherford. 2007. 32 pages.
      Historical fiction in an upper elementary picture book about the Greensboro sit-ins.

    • Resource Types: Books: Fiction, Picture Books | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: Civil Rights Movements, Organizing | Reading Levels: Grades 3-5
    • Freedom School, Yes!

    • Book – Fiction. By Amy Littlesugar. Illustrated by Floyd Cooper. 2001. 40 pages.
      Historical fiction about the 1964 Freedom Schools for upper elementary.

    • Resource Types: Books: Fiction, Picture Books | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Education, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity | Reading Levels: Grades 3-5
    • Grandpa's Corner Store

    • Book – Fiction. By DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan. 2000. 40 pages.
      A children’s book about the benefits of a neighborhood store versus a big box store and how a community can rally to support a local business.

    • Resource Types: Picture Books | Themes: Economics, Organizing | Reading Levels: Grades Pre-K-2
    • Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)43Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)43Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)150Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)150 Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat (Book) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat

    • Book – Fiction. Edited by Nikki Giovanni. 2008. 80 pages and CD.
      A celebration of poetry with a beat. Includes CD with selected recordings of poems and historical background.

    • Resource Types: Books: Fiction, Picture Books | Time Periods: Post-Civil Rights Era: 1975 - 2000, 20th Century | Themes: Art & Music | Reading Levels: Grades 3-5, Grades Pre-K-2
    • I and I: Bob Marley

    • Book – Non-fiction. By Tony Medina. Illustrations by Jesse Joshua Watson. 48 pages. 2009.
      The life of Bob Marley told through poems and illustrations.

    • Resource Types: Books: Non-Fiction, Picture Books | Themes: Art & Music | Reading Levels: Grades 3-5
    • I See the Rhythm

    • Book – Non-fiction. By Toyomi Igus and Michele Wood. 2005. 32 pages.
      A lyrical voyage through 500 years of African American music, from its roots in Africa to contemporary hip-hop for ages 6+.

    • Resource Types: Books: Non-Fiction, Picture Books | Themes: Art & Music | Reading Levels: Grades Pre-K-2
    • John Lewis in the Lead: A Story of the Civil Rights Movement

    • Book – Non-fiction. By Jim Haskins and Kathleen Benson. Illustrated by Benny Andrews. 2006. 32 pages.
      The life of Civil Rights Movement activist and now Congressman, John Lewis.

    • Resource Types: Books: Non-Fiction, Picture Books | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements | Reading Levels: Grades 3-5
    • Kid Blink Beats the World

    • Book – Non-fiction. By Don Brown. 2004. 32 pages.
      The story of the 1899 strike by the children who sold newspapers on the street for grades K-4.

    • Resource Types: Books: Non-Fiction, Picture Books | Time Periods: Industrial Revolution: 1877 - 1899, 19th Century | Themes: Labor, Organizing | Reading Levels: Grades 3-5
    • Mississippi Morning

    • Book – Fiction. By Ruth Vander Zee. Illustrated by Floyd Cooper. 2004. 32 pages.
      A thought-provoking story of one boy’s loss of naivete in the face of racism and harsh historical realities.

    • Resource Types: Picture Books | Time Periods: Prosperity, Depression, & World War II: 1920 - 1944, 20th Century | Themes: Racism & Racial Identity | Reading Levels: Grades 3-5
    • Mumbet’s Declaration of Independence

    • Book – Non-fiction. By Gretchen Woelfle. Illustrated by Alix Delinois. 2014. 32 pages.
      Picture book about true story of Elizabeth Freeman, a woman who challenged the legality of her enslavement.

    • Resource Types: Picture Books | Time Periods: Revolution & Constitution: 1765 - 1799 | Themes: African American, Democracy & Citizenship, Slavery, Women's History | Reading Levels: Grades 3-5
    • Murals: Walls That Sing

    • Book – Non-fiction. By George Ancona. 2003. 48 pages.
      Beautiful photo-essay of murals from all over the United States, primarily in Latino communities.

    • Resource Types: Books: Non-Fiction, Picture Books | Themes: Art & Music, Latino | Reading Levels: Grades 3-5, Grades Pre-K-2
    • Nadarín

    • Book – Fiction. By Leo Lionni. 1973 (Spanish translation 2005). 24 pages.
      A classic tale for young children about the power of organizing. Also in English.

    • Resource Types: Picture Books, Spanish/Bilingual | Themes: Organizing | Reading Levels: Grades Pre-K-2
    • No More! Stories and Songs of Slave Resistance

    • Book – Non-fiction. By Doreen Rappaport. Illustrated by Shane W. Evans. 2005. 64 pages. Picture book for upper elementary/middle school on the many forms of resistance to slavery.

    • Resource Types: Books: Non-Fiction, Picture Books | Time Periods: 18th Century | Themes: Art & Music, Organizing, Slavery | Reading Levels: Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8
    • Nobody Gonna Turn Me 'Round: Stories and Songs of the Civil Rights Movement

    • Book – Non-fiction. By Doreen Rappaport. Illustrated by Shane W. Evans. 2008. 64 pages.
      Stories and songs for upper elementary from the Civil Rights Movement from 1955 to 1965.

    • Resource Types: Books: Non-Fiction, Picture Books | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: African American, Art & Music, Civil Rights Movements, Organizing | Reading Levels: Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8
    • Patrol: An American Soldier in Vietnam

    • Book – Fiction. By Walter Dean Myers. 2005. 40 pages.
      Sophisticated picture book on one soldier’s patrol in Vietnam, for upper elementary.

    • Resource Types: Books: Fiction, Picture Books | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: Wars & Related Anti-War Movements | Reading Levels: Grades 3-5
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