People’s History Is Elementary

People’s history is for all ages. To support teachers in middle and elementary schools (and family members), the Zinn Education Project is working to increase what we offer for grade school students. Here, we feature some of our favorite age-appropriate materials and opportunities for younger students.

The (Young) People’s Climate Conference: Teaching Global Warming to 3rd Graders

An elementary school teacher adapted Bill Bigelow’s “Climate Change Mixer” (a lesson that introduces students to individuals around the world — each of whom is affected differently by climate change) as a springboard for a unit on global warming and climate justice:

How could I bring up an issue so big and abstract, so gloom and doom, with 3rd graders? How could I not?

This lesson is part of the Zinn Education Project’s Teach Climate Justice Campaign.

Share how you’ve adapted our lessons for your classroom and get a free book.

How One 2nd-Grader’s Story Inspired Climate Justice Curriculum

In this Rethinking Schools article, a 2nd-grade teacher shows how connecting a student’s home to the classroom led to profound lessons for all her students — in this case, about pipelines, fossil fuels, and climate justice. Learn more.


Newsela has adapted the following articles from our website for four reading levels, ranging from 3rd to 9th grade. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, all Newsela materials are free for teachers, parents, and students. Parents can log-in to help children with home and distance learning.

“Columbus Discovered the Taíno People, Then Tried to Erase Them”

Original | Adapted

“Explaining the Red Summer
of 1919”

Original | Adapted

“What We Don’t Learn About the Black Panther Party — but Should”

Original | Adapted

“The Other ’68: Black Power During Reconstruction”

Original | Adapted

‘Life in an Internment Camp Drove Yuri Kochiyama’s Commitment to Social Justice”

Original | Adapted

Plus: “Education Project Aims to Set the Record Straight on Historical Myths”

Washington Post Article | Adapted


IndyKids is a multi-platform current events and social justice news source produced by kids, for kids.

It encompasses the free, nationally distributed print edition of the IndyKids newspaper published five times a year, an active website with exclusive articles, interviews, podcasts, open dialogue and resources, workshops for kids to learn journalism and media literacy, and support for educators with teaching guides and classroom visits.

Visit IndyKids to subscribe. While you’re browsing, find out how you can help your students apply to be Kid ReportersIndyKids welcomes new writers, story ideas, and article submissions from kids worldwide.

Rethinking Elementary Education

Rethinking Elementary Education RS (book cover) | The Zinn Education ProjectRethinking Elementary Education offers practical insights about how to integrate the teaching of content with a social justice lens, how to seek wisdom from students and their families, and how to navigate stifling tests and mandates.

Its articles and lessons are organized thematically and were carefully selected from over 25 years of Rethinking Schools issues.

Learn more and order online at Rethinking Schools.

People’s History for Young Readers

A Young People’s History of the United States: Columbus to the War on Terror

Queer History of the United States for Young People

A Queer History of the United States for Young People

A Different Mirror for Young People

A Different Mirror for Young People: A History of Multicultural America

Indigenous People's History Young Readers (book cover) | Zinn Education Project

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People

Never Caught: The Story of Ona Judge (Book cover) | Zinn Education Project

Never Caught, the Story of Ona Judge: Young Readers Edition

Lies My Teacher Told Me (Book Cover) | Zinn Education Project

Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything American History Textbooks Get Wrong

More Young Readers Titles (Button)

People’s History Books for Children

Find lists of books by theme at Social Justice Books. Each theme includes many titles on people’s history and is arranged by age range.

Support teaching people's history (Donate) | Zinn Education Project

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