The Education Library has made a list of all of the must-have social justice resources for students in grades 7 – 12. If you need a story that deals with a difficult topic, your way in is here.
There are plays that deal with racism, mental illness, violence, and bullying; graphic novels that deal with gender, sexuality, war, and race; short story anthologies; social justice novel websites; and a slew of young adult novels that address everything from indigenous life, to body image, to sexuality, to homelessness.
Each resource has a brief synopsis of what it is about – allowing you to judge for yourself which ones are the perfect resources for you to use in the classroom, at home, or for your own interest. Here are a few of my favourites:
The Outside Circle by Patti LaBoucane-Benson; illustrated by Kelly Mellings
A gripping story about indigenous life and the strength of healing after a life on the street. It is set in Edmonton at the Stan Daniels Healing Centre with both author and illustrator hailing from Alberta. https://www.library.ualberta.ca/catalog/7048536
Lumberjanes by Grace Ellis and Shannon Watters
Five best friends spend the summer together and encounter supernatural beings at camp. This is not about to stop them from having the best summer ever. Themes include: gender, gender identity, friendship, magic, and monsters. https://www.library.ualberta.ca/catalog/7033687
Young Adult Novels
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
A fabulous, heart-wrenching, cynical love story. Themes: race, parents, love, immigration. https://www.library.ualberta.ca/catalog/7605822
The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline
One of the finalists for Canada Reads Shortlist 2018. Although set in a dystopian future, parallels can be drawn to the world today. Themes: Dystopian future, Indigenous peoples, survival, race, family. https://www.library.ualberta.ca/catalog/8049270
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
A long-time classic about a teen who experiences trauma she will not talk about. No one at school understands why she was once so outgoing and popular, to becoming a pariah, who no one talks to. Themes: sexual violence, peer pressure, relationships, high school. Also found in graphic novel form. https://www.library.ualberta.ca/catalog/2351097