Social Justice Stories

building compassion, tolerance, and responsible citizenship through social justice narratives

Introducing Main Character Through Photos

Activity Overview


  • For students to apply their knowledge of stereotypes to help them analyze photographs

  • To introduce the main character of your Holocaust Remembrance Series for Young Readers book selection (note photographic references are not available for all titles in the series; please see list below)

Materials Required

Activity Details

  1. Place the picture/image of the main character (Resource #1) from your book on the board at the front of the room, or hand out a copy to each member of the class, and ask students to study it. Give each student a copy of the Analyzing a Photo handout (Handout #1). Explain that they will use this handout to record information about the observations they make during this lesson.

  2. Ask them to look at the different shapes, angles, textures, and other visual attributes of the photo without interpreting the picture itself. At this point they are only to jot down what they see on a purely visual level, without trying to understand, construe, or infer the meaning of the photo. Discuss as a class, recording what students see on chart paper.

  3. Next, ask students to work with a partner and use the information above to discuss who they think the photo is of and what information they can infer based on the clues they gathered in #1 (e.g., what can you tell about this person from how they are dressed, their expression, how they are posed, other objects in the photo). Ask each pair to share their thoughts with the rest of the class.

  4. Together, create a list of questions they have about the photo, based on their observations above (who, what, when, where, why, etc.), recording them on the chart paper.

  5. Explain that the photo/image is of the main character of a book they are about to read. Based on their discussion and reflections above, have each student begin to create a Character Identity Chart (Handout #2). You could also have students complete this activity in pairs.

    Let them know that they will not have enough information at this point to complete the Character Identity Chart (Handout #2), but that you will keep returning to it as you read the book. Explain that you will use the identity chart as one way to explore how the main character's identity changes as his/her story unfolds.

Content Source:
Holocaust Remembrance Series for Young Readers Guide
(Shawntelle Nesbitt)