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Ella Baker - Civil Rights Activist

Updated: Mar 9, 2022

Lift as you Climb - The story of civil rights activist Ella Baker.

Lift as you Climb - The Story of Ella Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell and illustrated by Caldecott Honor winner R. Gregory Christ is an early elementary picture book biography, written in freeform verse. It follows the life of Ella Baker from a young girl on her grandparents' farm in North Carolina to an important activist within the Civil Rights movement. The illustrations provide vivid and emotional images of the fight against racial injustice. Author notes include a timeline of Ella Baker's life, a list of organizations that she worked with, and more detailed biographical information in paragraph form. In addition there is a bibliography of books, films, and articles. A wonderful addition is a link to interviews with Ella Baker and others. These provide primary sources for students to undertake further research.

Another gem for teachers of elementary and middle school aged children, this is a perfect read aloud book to introduce a variety of topics within black history and civil rights. This is a fabulous book to help fill the knowledge gap children have of the role women played in the civil rights movement. Ella Baker is not a household name even though she is one of the most influential female civil rights activists and was an important ally to D. Martin Luther King. The illustrations in the book are important as they provide a visual representation to students of the role women played and that they were indeed a part of the movement. Ella Baker’s contributions to the civil rights movement are immeasurable. Several of the illustrations provide vivid images of historic events that were pivotal to the movement, including the fire bombing of the Freedom Rider's bus and police intervention. This realism is important and students need to see the reality of the struggle. It puts the danger, risk, and bravery needed to fight these injustices in context. There is a comprehensive Educators' Guide produced for this book by the publishers. It has lots of curriculum linked activities for K through Grade 3, and many of these activities are appropriate for older grades with only small changes. I would highly recommend grabbing a copy either from your local library or purchasing a copy for your classroom. Publisher link to purchase options

lift as you climb curriculum guide
Download PDF • 5.94MB

Check out this video of Patricia Hruby Powell reading from Lift as You Climb. The story of Ella Baker.

Book Summary:

Illustrator: R. Gregory Christie

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (June 9, 2020)

Length: 48 pages

ISBN13: 9781534406230

Grades: P - 3

Ages: 4 - 8

Lexile ® AD730L

Fountas & Pinnell™ X

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