Children’s Literature and Guided Questions


Picture Book K-3

You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer by Shana Corey, illustrated by Chesley Mclaren (Scholastic Press, March 2000)

Summary:  Newpaperwoman Amelia Bloomer refuses to be “proper” and dress like a lady.  Her resistance to be proper leads to change…and more resistance.  Yet she persists.


1.       Looking at the pictures of the story,  what do think about what Amelia’s decision to wear bloomers?

2.       How else might Amelia have tried to make changes?  Do you think they would have worked?

3.       Who else was affected by Amelia’s decision?  How do you think you would have had to have dressed if you lived as a child in Amelia’s time?

4.       Are there some ways in which you have to be like others that you wish you didn’t?

5.       Are women and girls still treated differently from men and boys? If so, how?

For Grades 4-7


Passage to Freedom: The Sugihari Story  by Ken Mochizuki  (Lee and Low Books, September 2003)

Summary:  A Japanese diplomat uses his power against his countries wishes to help Jews escape the Holocaust.  Chiune Sugihari was imprisoned and his family was disgraced by these actions.

1.       What is the Holocaust? Why did it happen? 

2.       Why are people prejudiced? 

3.       Why is it so hard to do the right and compassionate thing at times?

4.       Can you think of a time when you or someone you know did something you felt was right that was hard that people thought you shouldn’t do?

5.       Why was Sugihari able to help so many people?

Other worthy books:

Grades K-3:  Click Clack Moo: Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin. Illustrated by Betsy Lewin (Simon and Schuster, 2000)   A duck organizes the rest of the farm animals to obtain better conditions from the farmer.

Grades K-3: Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-ins by Carole Boston Weatherford illustrated by Jerome Laguerrigue  The story of the struggle for civil rights and those who refused the order to not sit at department store lunch counter and how they resisted oppression.

Grade 3-up: Harry Potter (any)—JK Rowling (Scholastic)  Any of the books could be used as an example of resistance to evil.   

Grade K-3: Shingebiss: An Ojibwe Legend by Nancy Van Laan, illustrated by Betsy Bowen (HMH Books for Young Readers, 1997) The legend of a Duck who resisted the bullying tactics of the North Wind

Grade 5-Up: Warriors Don’t Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock’s Central High School by Melba Patillo Beals (Washington Square Books, 1994)  How 9 African-American students integrated the Sout, told from the viewpoint of one the nine.

Grades 4-7: Joan of Arc by Demi (Two Lions, 2011) The stunningly illustrated biography of a Catholic woman’s resistance to the French throne. 

Grades K-5: Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight For Desegregation (Harry N. Abrams, 2014)  How a Mexican family desegregated the California school system in 1944.

Grades K-3: Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsberg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Reader, 2016) Beginning with her resistance to being made with her right hand, the biography of the Supreme Court Justice who resisted inequality all of her life)

Grades K-3: Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss (Random House, 1954)  Horton hears what no one else hears, resists the suggestions from others,  and saves a community.

Grades 4-7: The Grand Mosque of Paris: A Story of How Muslims Rescued Jews During the Holocaust by Karen Gray Ruelle, illustrated by Deborah Durland DeSaix (Holiday House, 2010) How a mosque worked to save Jews during World War II.

Grade 5 and Up: Rad Women Worldwide: Artists and Athletes, Pirates and Punks, and Other Revolutionaries who Shaped History by Kate Schatz and Miriam Klein Stall (Ten Speed Press, 2016) The short biographies of 40 women across time from around the world and how they resisted the status quo.

Grades 2-6 Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Yuyi Morales (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2003) The biography and story of the migrant farmer who organized the march for better working conditions for migrant farmers in California

Grade 5-8: Winona LaDuke: Restoring Land and Culture in Native America by Michael Silverstone (The Feminist Press, 2001)  Biography of the Native American activist who spoke before the United Nations at 17, and has worked tirelessly on the rights of Native Americans and environmental issues

Grades 5 and up: The Hunger Games—Suzanne Collins (Scholastic, 2008) Katniss Everdeen takes on an evil government in a dystopian future of the USA.