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.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My Name is Yoon

Title: My Name is Yoon
Author: Helen Recorvits
My Name is Yoon focuses on a little girl from Korea who is new to America. In Korean, Yoon's name means "Shining Wisdom." Her father urges her to learn how to write her name in English; however, Yoon feels that her name looks happier when written in Korean. The symbols seem to mesh well and "dance together." In English, Yoon feels like her name is full of solitary lines and circles. Its appearance seems forlorn and lonely, similar to how Yoon feels within her new environment. As the story continues, Yoon tries to identify herself as a cat, a bird and a cupcake. She does not feel comfortable identifying herself as "Yoon." Eventually, Yoon is able to find happiness and accept herself for who she truly is as an individual.
Self-Love and Knowledge:
After reading this book, one may be able to realize the lesson of self-acceptance that Helen Recorvits is trying to portray. Yoon symbolizes each and every student within a classroom. Students varry from eachother ethnically, racially, religiously, culturally and so on. These differences make each individual unique in their own way. Students may face challenges regarding their identity; however, their journey through life will allow them to realize they are special and wonderfully made. This outlook allows them to become more positive and accepting of themselves.
Classroom Activity:
As a follow up activity to this piece of social justice literature, students can create name acronym poems. Within a name acronym poem, each letter represents a specific word or phrase. Each letter of a student's name will be followed by a positive word or statement that may describe them as an individual. Once all poems are complete, they can share them with their fellow classmates. Not only is this a great writing assignment, but it also allows the students to learn about their fellow peers.

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