Author Biographies

Natalie Sue Svrcek is an Assistant Professor of Literacy Education at SUNY Brockport in Brockport, New York. Previously, she taught in Texas public elementary schools.

Henry “Cody” Miller is an Assistant Professor of English Education at SUNY Brockport. Previously, he taught high school English in Florida.


As marginalized identities are still largely denied representation in society and students from dominant groups lack sociocultural knowledge to live in a multicultural democracy, books are a powerful tool to address injustices. This article provides teacher candidates as well as practicing teachers with tools to address social justice topics in their classes by building critical communities to support critical conversations and subsequently using texts as tools for teaching in socially just ways. We offer a three part framework including 1) How teachers can begin to prepare to engage in critical conversations with students; 2) Laying out necessary steps for structuring classrooms to cultivate critical conversations; and 3) Illuminating how young adult and children’s literature can be leveraged to serve these broader goals. Our hope is to contribute actionable steps to educators who want to engage in critical conversations with their students by providing an entry point for critical teaching practices.

Publication Date


Available for download on Sunday, August 01, 2021