In a 2021 Carnegie Corporation article titled “What We Owe Our Children,” U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor warned, “Civic duties and behaviors are learned, not inherited. If the seeds of lifelong, prepared, and engaged participation are not planted… they will never grow.” How, then, do we plant the seeds of citizenship in young children?
This thematic guide and the books included in it focus on the concept of civic engagement by addressing the following line of inquiry: What does it mean to be a citizen in the twenty-first century? What role can I play? Students will learn about democracy through a study of elections and the people who have changed their communities for the better. Teachers can choose one or any combination of books and strategies to use with whole-class instruction, reading circles, or independent reading as they teach young students how to make a difference, accept differences, and be an engaged citizen in today’s world.