The Power of Poetry to Teach about Identity, Bias and Social Justice

  • For Educators
    For Parents, Families, and Caregivers
A junior high girl presents to her classmates


April is National Poetry Month and for many schools and classrooms, is an opportunity to dedicate time to the study of reading and writing poetry.   

Poetry uses vivid and descriptive language, beautiful imagery, unique sounds and rhythms, and diverse voices. It often evokes an emotional and empathetic response and can open doors to people and worlds for which we are unfamiliar. It can touch hearts and minds and motivate action and societal change. In this way, poetry is a useful way to talk and teach about identity, diversity, bias and social justice. Throughout history, those themes have inspired music, spoken word and poetry. 

Below are K-12 lesson plans and children's literature that use the power of poetry to teach those important themes.

Lesson Plans

Children's Literature (Includes discussion guides for educators and families)

The Undefeated

This book/poem is a love letter to Black life in the U.S. It highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the passion, and perseverance of some of the world's greatest heroes. (Ages 6-9)

Amazing Places

This collection of original poems brings together fourteen selections that celebrate through poetic imagery some of the amazingly diverse people and places in our nation. (Ages 7-10)