Smack Dab in the Classroom: Teaching Community Service through Books, by Dia Calhoun

Many authors for kids use their books as an opportunity to give back--by helping charities or other community service organizations. Authors Lois Brandt, Laurie Ann Thompson, Justina Chen, Lorie Ann Grover, and Janet Lee Carey come to mind as prime examples of this.

Literature teachers could use this idea as a class project. Assign or have groups of kids choose a book from a list you provide. Then have each group brainstorm a community service link to that book. 

For example, take Laurie Ann Thompson's book, Emmanuel's Dream. It's based on a true story about Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, the amazing, disabled bicyclist who road 400 miles across Ghana to show that disability is not inability. Students could find organizations that benefit the disabled, or disabled bicyclists, etc. Then they could map out an actual program to use Emmauel's Dream to help raise money or awareness for that organization. 

School's want to teach students about community service. What better way than through books?


  1. Thanks so much for the shoutout, Dia! And I totally agree... when you combine education with service, it gives it a higher purpose and makes it that much more rewarding. Books are the perfect gateway!


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