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, October 3, 2010

Number the Stars

Number the Stars

by Lois Lowry

Grade Level: 4-6

Annemarie Johnsen and her best friend Ellen Rosen are just ten years old in 1943. They often reflect about life before the war in their hometown of Copenhagen. Before the food shortages and the Nazi regime of their city. As all the Jew's of Denmark begin to be "relocated" Ellen moves in with Annemarie and her family, pretending to be one of them.

The book is written for children the same age and tells the story of Ellen’s family’s escape from Copenhagen to Sweden to avoid capture by the Germans.

It is both beautifully written and at times difficult to process as it takes the reader through the thoughts and feelings of children their age living through German occupation. Annemarie's story is a vivid portrayal of what it must have been like to encounter such powerful things and not understand why such things were happening.

To acquaint students with the threat to all people (particularly the Jews) resulting from the imposition of Nazi authority and to appreciate the courage exhibited by ordinary people acting out of conscience and the respect that was demanded and the respect that is deserved for those living during this tragic time.

Activity: Have children compare and contrast different life styles, Annemarie's, Ellen's as well as their own.

Excellent resource: Activities & Lesson Plans

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