Milo's Museum

This book addresses the confusion and impact of systemic racism on young people doing everyday activities like visiting a museum. It acknowledges that not all communities are valued in all spaces. When Milo visits a museum and recognizes that people from her community are not represented, she decides to do something about it. What I love about this book is that Milo takes action to address the problem, but it also gives Educators a pathway to explain systemic racism. Although Milo has created a solution, is it truly justice? Systemic issues require justice and sometimes the actions of an individual, although necessary, is only a stepping stone towards addressing the injustice.

Social Justice Activities:

  • Explore what is needed for all people to experience a sense of belonging. Empower students to recognize injustice and create action plans to address it, like Milo does. Create plans to develop a sense of belonging for all families and community members who visit your classroom or school.
  • Using either digital or paper resources, students can create their own museum to share information about their identities and values. Use this activity to foster trust and build relationships in your classroom.

Relevant Social Justice Standards:

Identity 1. Students will develop positive social identities based on their membership in multiple groups in society.

Identity 4. Students will express pride, confidence and healthy self-esteem without denying the value and dignity of other people.

Identity 5. Students will recognize traits of the dominant culture, their home culture and other cultures and understand how they negotiate their own identity in multiple spaces.

Diversity 6. Students will express comfort with people who are both similar to and different from them and engage respectfully with all people.

Diversity 8. Students will respectfully express curiosity about the history and lived experiences of others and will exchange ideas and beliefs in an open-minded way.

Diversity 9. Students will respond to diversity by building empathy, respect, understanding and connection.

Diversity 10. Students will examine diversity in social, cultural, political and historical contexts rather than in ways that are superficial or oversimplified.

Justice 12. Students will recognize unfairness on the individual level (e.g., biased speech) and injustice at the institutional or systemic level (e.g., discrimination).

Justice 13. Students will analyze the harmful impact of bias and injustice on the world, historically and today.

Justice 14. Students will recognize that power and privilege influence relationships on interpersonal, intergroup and institutional levels and consider how they have been affected by those dynamics.

Action 16. Students will express empathy when people are excluded or mistreated because of their identities and concern when they themselves experience bias.

Action 20. Students will plan and carry out collective action against bias and injustice in the world and will evaluate what strategies are most effective.

Reading Strategies:

Character Analysis: Track Milo's words and actions. When she says she feels funny, what does that mean? Connect for students that, "funny feelings," are valid even when they don't know what they mean.

Problem/Solution: Analyze Milo's solution to the problem. Highlight her ability to recognize injustice and to do something about it. Teach about systemic racism and brainstorm additional solutions that Milo can try that will cause systemic change. 

Book Details:
  • Fiction, All Ages
  • Perspectives: Black American
  • Author's stated heritage: Black
  • Subject Integration: Art, SEL

Book covers images are from publishers and in the public domain