Children’s Literature to Develop Awareness and Advocacy for Social Justice


  • Dr. Katie Kelley Furman University
  • Dr. Lindsay Yearta Winthrop University



children's literature, social justice, diversity and inclusion


Children’s literature can enhance readers’ understandings of themselves and others in an increasingly diverse world. This article examines the need for inclusion and discussion of diverse literature in the classroom. Specifically, the authors describe a partnership between fifth graders and preservice teachers to digitally discuss the book, A Long Walk to Water (Park, 2010) using a student-friendly blog. Both groups broadened their worldview and the need for social justice through the reading and blogging about the selected literature. The authors share classroom implications and extensions to advocate for social action. Projects such as the one described in this article remind teachers and children that common bonds of humanity can build empathy, unite us all, and inspire us to take action for social justice.

Author Biographies

  • Dr. Katie Kelley, Furman University

    Dr. Katie Stover Kelly ([email protected]) is an associate professor of education at Furman University in Greenville, SC, and coauthor of From Pencils to Podcasts: Digital Tools to Transform K-6 Literacy Practices (Solution Tree, 2017) and Smuggling Writing: Strategies That Get Students to Write Every Day, in Every Content Area, Grades 3-12 (Corwin, 2016). Her new coauthored book with Lester Laminack will be published by Heinemann this fall. Find her on Twitter @ktkelly14.

  • Dr. Lindsay Yearta, Winthrop University

    Dr. Lindsay Yearta ([email protected]) is an assistant professor of literacy and educational technology at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina. She has several peer-reviewed publications on digital literacies in the k-12 classroom and has co-authored the book From Pencils to Podcasts: Digital Tools for Transforming K-6 Literacy Practices with Dr. Katie Kelly.

Literature Social Justice (Kelly & Yearta, 2018)






Research and Practitioner Articles

How to Cite

Kelley, K., & Yearta, L. (2018). Children’s Literature to Develop Awareness and Advocacy for Social Justice. Georgia Journal of Literacy, 41(1), 22-28.

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