Civics and civic engagement are crucial to education and the preservation of our democracy. The key concepts of understanding how government works, engaging in and appreciating discourse and different beliefs, learning about the voting process, and working with the community are critical to students’ academic success and wellbeing. The state of civics education is in great need: students need to learn about all aspects of civics to be effective members of society.
In order to showcase our extensive collection of civics titles, Lee & Low Books is proud to announce the launch of our new Diversity in Civics Book List. The list is organized by the following categories: leadership, youth and community activism, productive and respectful debate and conversations, initiating awareness and change, principles of governments; global citizenship; and America past & present to fit all of your civics curricular needs.
We’ve highlighted a few titles per category below. You can find all of the titles in our newly designed list here.
Meet fifteen remarkable athletes who use adaptive equipment in this beautiful and truth-telling picture book.
The Protest (Grades PreK–2)
In this book in the popular Confetti Kids series, Lily and her friends organize a protest in order to save their neighborhood public garden from being demolished. Also available in Spanish.
Youth and Community Activism
In this American Indian Youth Literature Award-winning story of cross-cultural friendship, a family of enslaved people and a Choctaw tribe work together on a daring escape.
I Am Alfonso Jones (Grades 6–8)
This is an unflinching graphic novel about the afterlife of a young man killed by an off-duty police officer, co-illustrated by New York Times bestselling artist John Jennings.
Productive and Respectful Debate and Conversations
Sparkle Boy (Grades PreK–2)
Casey loves sparkly things! But his older sister Jessie does not approve—until an encounter with bullies helps her learn to accept and respect Casey for who he is.
Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh (Grades 6–8)
While her parents and neighbors are struggling through World War II, working for India’s independence, and trying to stay on their farmland, nine-year-old Maria Singh learns to play softball just like her heroes in the All-American Girls’ League.
Initiating Awareness and Change
How We Can Live: Principles of Black Lives Matter (Grades 3–5)
The first children’s book to feature material from the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, this beautiful picture book will engage hearts and minds as it introduces children to the guiding principles of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Strong as Fire, Fierce as Flame (Grades 6–8)
In 1857 India, 13-year-old Meera escapes a life she has no say in–and certain death on her husband’s funeral pyre–only to end up a servant to a British general in the East India Company. When a rebellion against British colonizers spreads, she must choose between relative safety in a British household or standing up for herself and her people.
Principles of Governments
Indian No More (Grades 5–8)
In this powerful middle-grade novel, Regina and her family must relocate from the Umpqua reservation in Oregon to Los Angeles after their tribal rights are terminated. Also available in Spanish.
Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story (Grades 3–5)
As a Japanese diplomat in Lithuania in the 1940s, Chiune Sugihara had a chance to help thousands of Jews escape the Holocaust, but to do so would go against his government’s orders. When his five-year-old son asked, “If we don’t help them, won’t they die?” Sugihara decided to assist the refugees. Also available in Spanish.
Water Rolls Water Rises/El agua rueda, el agua sube (Grades PreK–2)
In a series of poetic verses in both English and Spanish, readers learn about the movement and moods of water around the world and the ways in which water affects different landscapes and cultures.
Happy New Year. . . in July! This versatile collection of engaging original poems showcases New Year celebrations throughout the year and around the world.
America Past and Present
I Remember: Poems and Pictures of Heritage (Grades 3–5)
An outstanding celebration of diversity and family: fourteen poets and sixteen illustrators of diverse backgrounds share memorable childhood experiences and reflect upon their different heritages, traditions, and beliefs.
I Can Be…Me! (Grades PreK–2)
From bestselling author Lesléa Newman — a joyful picture book celebration of individuality, uniqueness, and children’s freedom to express themselves while engaging in whatever kinds of play they choose.
For more information on how to incorporate civics education into your school, consult the following resources and organizations:
- Civics Roadmap in 7 Themes by Educating for American Democracy (EAD)
- The Rendell Center
- CivXNow, a project of iCivics
- Center for Civic Education
- Facing History & Ourselves Civics Resources
- College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards from the National Council for the Social Studies
- History and Civics Materials for the nation’s 250th anniversary from Edsitement, a project of the National Endowment for the Humanities
- “The need for civic education in 21st-century schools”
- “Reconstructing Citizenship” from the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
- Teaching Civics Through History by The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
- The Missing Infrastructure for Elementary (K–5) Social Studies Instruction: Findings from the 2022 American Instructional Resources Survey by RAND
- NAEP Report Card: U.S. History and NAEP Report Card: Civics
To learn more about the Diversity in Civics Book List or to build an extensive collection for your school, reach out to Katie Potter, Senior Literacy Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.