Media Literacy for Justice: Lessons for Changing the World

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  • About the author
  • Reviews

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Foreword by Yohuru Williams, Racial Justice Initiative, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, St. Thomas University, Minneapolis; Preface by Asha Rangappa, former FBI agent and Senior Lecturer, Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs

Providing context, reflection points, and ready-to-use lesson plans, this powerful book illuminates the intersections of social justice and media literacy for educators, school and public librarians, teachers of history and civics, information literacy instructors, and community leaders.

The corrosive effects of today’s relentless tide of media are pernicious. We are conditioned in many ways by our media environments to accept and not question, making it crucial that young people master the skills necessary to access, analyze, evaluate, and create media. De Abreu and her fellow contributors propose that a key solution to our society’s crisis of misinformation, misrepresentation, and misunderstanding lies in melding social justice aims with media literacy concepts and skills. Featuring reflective activities and lesson ideas that can be adapted for educational settings from higher education to the K-12 spectrum, community centers, and libraries, this resource

  • spotlights the work of school library media specialists, classroom teachers, academic educators, and representatives of non-profits from around the world;
  • presents ten chapters which explore such timely issues as how to deal with controversial topics in the classroom, the effects of misinformation/disinformation on civics in society, why the media underrepresents certain people in their programming, the digital divide and where libraries fit in, how injustice exacerbates public health issues, and global conceptions of social justice and media literacy examined through various world events; and
  • provides information about additional resources like social action/advocacy organizations, classroom resources, and films that will assist readers as they reflect upon, teach, and discuss media literacy and social justice.

Examination copies are available for instructors who are interested in adopting this title for course use. An e-book edition of the text will be available shortly after the print edition is published.

Foreword, by Yohuru Williams
Preface, by Asha Rangappa

Chapter 1    Challenging Conversations in Challenging Times—Respect, Rapport, and Relationships
Reflection, by Meredith Baldi and Prescott Seraydarian 
Lesson Concept, by Meredith Baldi and Prescott Seraydarian

Chapter 2    Misinformation and Disinformation—Changing Conversations
Reflection, by Nicole Cooke 
Lesson Concept, by Kathleen Currie Smith

Chapter 3    Representation and Missed Representation
Reflection, by Jimmeka Anderson
Lesson Concept, by Jimmeka Anderson

Chapter 4    Civics in Society—Policy and Politics
Reflection, by Yvette Garcia, Abby Kiesa, and Candice Mack
Lesson Concept, by Yvette Garcia, Abby Kiesa, and Candice Mack

Chapter 5    Ethical Dilemmas
Reflection, by Antonio López
Lesson Concept, by Kathleen Currie Smith

Chapter 6    Popular Culture—Feeding the Social Justice Machine
Reflection, by Blake Goble, Pam Goble, and Ryan Goble
Lesson Concept, by Blake Goble, Ryan Goble, and Pam Goble

Chapter 7    Health in Crisis
Reflection, by Joanna Marshall 
Lesson Concept, by Joanna Marshall 

Chapter 8    The Digital Divide—Pathways for Equity and Justice
Reflection, by Michelle Ciccone and Spencer Brayton
Lesson Concept, by Michelle Ciccone and Spencer Brayton 

Chapter 9    Worldviews on Engagement and Practice
Reflection, by  Alice Y. L. Lee
Lesson Concept, by Ryan Farrington

Chapter 10    Finding Balance—Looking Towards the Future
Reflection, by Ansh Chandnani and Denise Agosto
Lesson Concept, by Ryan Farrington


  • A     Social Justice and Media Literacy Organizations
  • B    Social Justice and Media Literacy: Films, TV Series, and Music
  • C    The Critical Media Project, by Alison Trope and DJ Johnson
  • D        The Critical Literacy Project RoundTables, by Emma Pauncefort

About the Contributors

Belinha S. De Abreu, Ph.D.

Belinha S. De Abreu, PhD. is a global media literacy educator and served as an international expert to the Forum on Media & Information Literacy for UNESCO's Communication & Information Section. Her research interests include media and information literacy education, educational technology, global perspectives, critical thinking, privacy & big data, young adults, and teacher training. Dr. De Abreu is the founder of the International Media Literacy Research Symposium which has been held in the USA and Portugal and the World Media Literacy Forum. She serves as the President of the International Council for Media Literacy (IC4ML) formerly known as National Telemedia Council (NTC). IC4ML also produces The Journal of Media Literacy. Her other publications include Mobile Learning through Digital Media Literacy. She is also the recipient of the 2021 National Association for Media Literacy Education Research Award. For more information, visit

"The topics themselves are timely and important: 'Challenging Conversations,' 'Misinformation and Disinformation,' 'Representation and Missed Representation,' 'Civics in Society, 'Ethical Dilemmas,' 'Popular Culture,' 'Health In Crisis,' 'The Digital Divide,' 'Worldviews on Engagement and Practice, and Finding Balance" ... An authoritative and enlightening offering best suited for collections that support educational and media literacy students and scholars."
— Booklist

"The importance of teaching media literacy cannot be denied. Compound media literacy with social justice and instruction becomes essential. De Abreu has proven herself a knowledgeable contributor and leader in the conversation ... A shining highlight of the text is the sheer number of resources in the appendices, which include both social justice and media literacy organizations, books, films, television, and music, along with information about two projects: Critical Media Project and Critical Literacy Project RoundTables. All of these sources could be a jumping off point for instruction for librarians and educators alike at all levels of teaching."
— Public Services Quarterly

"Creative, inspiring, and timely ... This reviewer can say with confidence that Media Literacy for Justice addresses the specificity of the intersections of social issues with the concept of Justice in an enlightening and inspirational approach that excites the engaged reader to action. Recommended for academic library collections where media literacy is recognized as a priority."
— Journal of Web Librarianship