Best of 2012: 11 Resources For Teaching a People’s History Best of 2012: 11 Resources For Teaching a People’s History

Best of 2012: 11 Resources For Teaching a People’s History

by Deborah Menkart

January 11, 2013

Do you remember anything about your history textbook other than how heavy it was? If so, it might be a few names of famous people who singlehandedly made history, and dates of glorified wars. As historian Ray Raphael explains, "In textbooks students learn that a handful of celebrated personalities make things happen, the rest only tag along; a few write the scripts, the rest just deliver their lines."

10. A Different Mirror for Young People: A History of Multicultural America by Ronald Takaki, adapted by Rebecca Stefoff. Ronald Takaki was one of the foremost scholars of U.S. ethnic history and diversity. A classic of multicultural studies, A Different Mirror, reflected history of oppression and exploitation, but also struggle, solidarity, and community. This version for young people was adapted by Rebecca Stefoff who helped produce A Young People’s History of the United States. This is a great introduction to Takaki’s path-breaking scholarship.

11. Rethinking Elementary Education, edited by Linda Christensen, Mark Hansen, Bob Peterson, Elizabeth Schlessman, Dyan Watson. Practical and powerful, this new book, from Zinn Education Project partner Rethinking Schools, gives real-world examples and encouragement of how to integrate teaching with a social justice lens in the elementary classroom. As author and educator Alma Flor Ada explains, "Both clear and profound, this honest book provides inspiration, invites reflection, and through engaging real life examples of classrooms across the nation, shows that in spite of all the external restriction placed upon our schools, we can be the teachers we want to be and give all children the true education they deserve."

You can find these and many more resources for teaching outside the textbook at, coordinated by Rethinking Schools and Teaching for Change. To help the Zinn Education Project continue to produce and share these kinds of resources with educators in 2013, click here.

Illustration by Corinna Loo

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Best of 2012: 11 Resources For Teaching a People’s History