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.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Title: Stellaluna

Author: Janell Cannon

Ages: 4-8

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lesson plans, anyone?!


This fictional piece is about a baby fruit bat, Stellaluna, who loses her mother in a dreadful brawl between the two bats and an owl. Stellaluna falls down a great distance and lands among a birds nest. At first, Stellaluna is apprehensive to be around the birds until she grows so hungry that she has to climb from under the nest, where she was hanging, to inside, where the mother bird was dropping bugs for her babies to eat. Stellaluna was not too fond of eating bugs but she did it to survive. Stellaluna acted like a bird for most of the time and thought she was just like the birds because they fly and so can she. The end is where she was found hanging upside down, from a bat's point of view, and she is questioned why she is doing so. One of the bats who came to see this sight was her estranged mother. Stellaluna was then reunited with her mother but still remains friends with the birds.

This book relates to element two, respect for others, because it clearly shows two animals that may differ in some ways but are also incredibly similar as well. Stellaluna respects the birds just as the birds respect that Stellaluna has diverse attributes and is not like them in every way. Both animals know they are different but that does not stop them from being friends. It allows children to comprehend the fact that although people may appear different, they are still human beings and should be treated with the utmost respect.

I would use this book in a Kindergarten classroom to open their eyes on the diverse world we live in. After doing a read-aloud, I would ask the students to tell me what the book was about to make sure their comprehension skills are in check. Then, I would ask them to tell me some unique things about them that set them apart from everyone else. I would explain to my students that everyone is different in their own way and remind them of how boring life would be if every person looked, dressed, and acted the same. This would allow them to embrace who they are and the individuals around them.


I chose this book because it is geared towards a younger age group. I believe that if you start your students with respect for other races and cultures at a young age, then they would be more open-minded as they grew older.

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