Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version



Hawkins, Genevieve. Justice for All: Social Justice Curriculum for the Young Adult Centered English Classroom. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 2022.


Copyright Genevieve Hawkins 2022.


This project is a curriculum-based approach to exploring the integration of social-justice texts, topics, and themes into the secondary English classroom. Discussion of such topics will take place in the context of teaching the contemporary novels The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed, two young-adult novels that discuss how the teenage experience is impacted by instances of racism and police brutality. This examination of race in modern society will be accompanied by supplemental texts, included but not limited to Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine and NPR’s podcast “On the Shoulders of Giants;” however, the overarching trajectory of this curriculum revolves around the idea of activism and individual responsibility, and will thus include other works and discussions that allow these themes to be viewed in a broader context that extends beyond race.

The proposed curriculum also serves as a call for the increased inclusion of young-adult centered literature within the secondary English classroom, a setting that has been historically filled with canonical texts. Thus—while this unit could theoretically stand alone in any English classroom—the lessons are designed to be taught within the context of a young-adult (YA) literature classroom. The outcome of this proposed curriculum includes essential questions, standards based on the Nebraska Department of Education, thirty-five lesson plans (including reading days), and a cumulative summative assessment that involves reading comprehension, research skills, the utilization of multimodal devices, and the examination of multiple perspectives.