Melanie Adams | St. Louis Public Radio

Melanie Adams

Melanie Adams (L) and Amanda Doyle (R) are the authors of the new book, "Standing Up for Civil Rights in St. Louis."
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

A new book designed for upper elementary students shares the stories of ordinary men and women in St. Louis who fought for equal rights.

Amanda Doyle and Melanie Adams are the authors of “Standing Up for Civil Rights in St. Louis,” a publication of the Missouri History Museum Press.

“I really look at this book as our opportunity to educate the next generation on civil rights history,” Adams said.

Adams previously worked at the Missouri History Museum though now works for the Minnesota Historical Society.

This is a portion of the cover of the new "Standing Up for Civil Rights" book for children.
Provided | Missouri History Museum

How do you condense more than 150 years of civil rights history in to a single book — and make it understandable and meaningful to a fifth grader?

St. Louisan Amanda Doyle and co-author Melanie Adams recently attempted to do just that, for their children's book, “Standing Up for Civil Rights in St. Louis.”  It starts in the 1800s with the stories of people who were enslaved, and ends with the 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown and the subsequent protests in Ferguson. But its message looks to the future, asking kids what they can do to change enduring problems facing African-Americans.

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A panel that addressed the question after a showing of a movie on the plight of teachers had a somewhat paradoxical answer: Make it tougher to become a teacher and easier to stay.