Below is an annotated list of children's literature for the elementary classroom. The books are organized by the Six Elements of Social Justice Curriculum Design (Picower, 2007). It is based on work by pre-service teachers at Montclair State University. They have read and reviewed these books and provided insights into how they can be used in K-5 settings.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bright Eyes, Brown Skin

Bright Eyes, Brown Skin

Author: Cheryl Willis Hudson

Illustrated by: George Ford

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Additional Lesson Plan


Bright Eyes, Brown Skin is a picture book written for children between the ages of four and six. The author does a marvelous job in using rhymes to exalt different physical characteristics in positive ways. For example, she writes “A playful grin, a perfect nose…very special hair and clothes”. The characters in the book are all African American children and in the illustrations we see the joy and pride with which they carry themselves. The story ends with the four children all taking a nap after their long day

Bright Eyes, Brown Skin clearly represents element one in its use of wording. Often time things such as heart shaped faces or dimple chins are things which can cause children to feel shy. However, the author makes positive mentions about having characteristics which are different from others. The four children seem to feel good about who they are and look rather proud of themselves.

Activity: Since Bright Eyes, Brown Skin is so poetic I could easily do a small poetry lesson with my students. Assuming they were six years old we could try to make short poems in where every sentence begins with the color of their eyes and the color of their skin and would be followed by a special characteristic. For example:

Green eyes, tan skin, freckles in my nose

Green eyes, tan skin, small chubby fingers

I believe this activity could really help my young students take pride in things they may have otherwise thought made them inferior.

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