When we teach identity, students learn about all the different ways we characterize ourselves. We learn about identity characteristics like cultural backgrounds, family ties, language, religion, gender, etc. Students also learn that part of identity might be things that can change over time like our talents, faculties, and gifts that are latent inside us and we develop and cultivate them as we grow. These characteristics do not define us but that they make us uniquely ourselves. Although we may construct parts of our identities, society also does too. Our identities affect the way we interact with the world and how the world interacts with us. This work ultimately leads to a deep appreciation for the depth and beauty of each unique human being and helps us confront biases and beliefs we may have about different identity groups. This work is necessary for developing deep, honest bonds of friendship.

IDENTITY: Social Justice Standards

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

Identity 2. Students will develop language and historical and cultural knowledge that affirm and accurately describe their membership in multiple identity groups.

Identity 3. Students will recognize that people’s multiple identities interact and create unique and complex individuals.

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.

Lyrically written, students can reflect on their own identities while reading the character's thoughts on culture, history and being Black 
Nonfiction Narrative Figurative Language, Theme, Summarizing, Connection ConceptsPerspective: Black American

Great for exploring Intersectionality with a main character who is both Vietnamese American and has two moms. Fosters discussions about students' families in ways that are respectful and affirming.
Fiction: Story Structure, Cause & Effect, nurturing a love of myth, legends and stories.Perspective: LGBTQIA+, Vietnamese
This book centers the relationship between a grandfather and grandson and although it has few words, it is filled with emotion. Discuss intergenerational relationships, honoring storytelling, overcoming language barriers 
Fiction: Theme, Inferring, Character Analysis, Problem Solution, SequencingPerspective: Thai

Reminds students (and teachers) the importance of pronouncing someone's name correctly. Inspires class building activities centered around sharing the beauty, history and magic behind each other's names.
Fiction: Theme, Character Analysis, Onomatopoeia Descriptive Language, Emergent Reader Strategies (syllables, sounds, consonants, vowels in your name)Perspective: Muslim

Lyrically written, a girl learns about her diverse cultural heritage and how the people she loves contribute to who she is today. Discuss respectful ways to build relationships that honors someone else's cultural background.
Fiction: Character Analysis, Figurative Language, Emergent Reader StrategiesPerspective: Argentine-American 

A young girl learns about the beauty of her cultural roots and also unsettling historical truths. Inspires classroom conversations about appreciating, and sometimes reconciling, cultural history.
Fiction: Descriptive language, Story Structure, Cause and EffectPerspective: Islander
Requires students to think deeply about the significance of names and how to build authentic relationships. 
Fiction: Character Analysis, Cause & Effect, Sequencing, ThemePerspective: Korean, Immigrant

This book is based on a true story of a young child who dreams of leading a boys-only hula troupe but feels her gender identity is somewhere in-between.
Non-fiction Narrative: Character Analysis, Oral StorytellingPerspective: Hawaiian, Gender Non-conforming

This resource helps teachers and parents find books that inspire conversations with children that affirm their lived experiences, encourage a genuine curiosity and love for diversity and inspire them to identify solutions to solve problems in their communities. 

If this is your first time hearing about the Social Justice Standards, learn more here.

Book covers images are from publishers and in the public domain