Skills Building: Woke: A Young Poet's Call to Justice (3-5)

Unit 14 Book -Woke

Written by Mahogany L. Brown, Elizabeth Acevedo, & Olivia Gatwood, illustrated by Theodore Taylor III


Note: This book has many poems that cannot all be read in one class session. Pick a few poems to read aloud. If possible, let students have input on which poems they would like to hear.

Pre- Reading Questions 

  1. What does it mean to be woke? 
  2. What do you think this book is about? 
  3. The title is Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice. What do you think a “call to justice” means?
  4. What are some examples of being woke? 
  5. Who are some people you can think of who you would consider woke? How do those people help seek justice or stand up for others?

Post- Reading Questions

  1. What did you learn from this book? 
  2. Which poem was your favorite? 
  3. What were some of the ways you saw a “call to justice” shown in this book?
  4. How did these poets use their words to stand up for themselves and others?
  5. How can you use what you learned from this book in your life to stand up for yourself and others?

Creative Enrichment Activity: Write Your Own Social Justice Poem (3-5)


In the book Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice, we read various poems about being woke and standing up for ourselves and others. In this activity, you will have a choice to either write your own poem about being woke and standing up for others or provide your own illustration for one of the poems in the book.


  • Paper
  • Pencils
  • Photocopies of a few of the poems 
  • Construction paper
  • Crayons/markers/color pencils

Duration:  40-45 minutes (for staff: 5-minute pre-activity setup, 5-minute prep)

  • 5 minutes: Introduce the activity
  • 25 – 30 minutes: Write the poem or work on the illustration
  • 5 minutes: Clean up
  • 5 minutes: Reflect and share


  1. Staff should photocopy multiple poems in the book prior to the activity for students who may wish to illustrate one of the poems. 
  2. Introduce the activity using the book. 
  3. Students choose to write their own poem or choose to create their own illustration based on one of the poems. 
  4. Students collect the materials needed for their activity of choice.
  5. Students work on their poem or illustration. 
  6. Clean up the materials. 
  7. Reflect and share as a group.

Reflection Questions

  • Did you choose to create a poem or an illustration? 
  • If you wrote a poem, how did you choose the topic of your poem? Why is your poem significant to you?
  • If you illustrated a poem, what elements of the poem did you choose to illustrate? Why did you choose these elements?
  • How did it feel to do this activity? How might you use these topics in your daily life?