Date of Award

Winter 12-12-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

First Advisor

Sal Vascellaro


This thesis examines the significance of picture book biographies of activists as accessible entry points to teach social movement history and embolden readers to lead courageous lives that confront injustice. The first section is grounded in lessons learned from 19 authors doing outstanding work in the field today: Andrea Davis Pinkney, Carole Boston Weatherford, Cynthia Chin-Lee, David Adler, Debbie Levy, Donna Jo Napoli, Doreen Rappaport, Duncan Tonatiuh, Emily Arnold McCully, Icy Smith, Jabari Asim, Jen Cullerton Johnson, John Hendrix, Kate Schatz, Matt Tavares, Michelle Markel, Richard Michelson, Sarah Warren, and Tanya Lee Stone. I identify and explore ten themes across the interviews I conducted: write from your gut, embrace heartless revision, let go of the superfluous, refuse to condescend, fully live your values, honor the obscure, read unceasingly, tirelessly dedicate yourself to the craft, recognize history as alive, and endure. In the second section I put these lessons into practice, concluding with original biographies of Emma Goldman and Rachel Corrie.


Early Childhood and Childhood General Education