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.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Hey, That's Not Trash!

Author: Renee Jablow
Illustrator: Mike Byrne
Grade Level: Pre-Kindergarten +

Summary: Hey, That's Not Trash! is a wonderful picture book that depicts a young boy discussing the difference between trash and recyclables. The boy goes throughout his day realizing that everything he encounters, be it a empty milk carton, newspaper, soup can, or shoe box, can be recycled. He discovers that his mother, coach, and playmates have been discarding these items as trash and takes a stand to correct this problem. He stands up for his community by recycling, while, in turn, raising the awareness of those he associates with on a daily basis. The book is full of press-out pieces that are to be deposited into the correct bins (paper, plastic, or metal) attached to the book in order to provide a fun, interactive way to show how easy it is to recycle.

Element 5: Raising Awareness
This book is an example of how children can make a difference in our community, as well as raise others' awareness on how to do so. Throughout this book, a little boy discovers that many items usually associated with trash can be recycled in order for them to be reused. He raises the awareness of his classmates when they go to throw away clean newspapers. He told them that they could be recycled and reused for something else. He also was able to raise his coach's awareness of the importance of recycling when he went to throw away an empty water bottle into the trash. This book tells the story of a young boy who cares about his community and the importance of recycling enough to spread the word to his family, friends, and community. The important message this book gives is that everyday paper, plastic, and metal trash can serve a bigger purpose when they are recycled.

This book has an attached activity, where paper, plastic, and metal garbage pop-outs can be placed into the correct recycling bin. This activity can be maximized to be an everyday part of a classroom. Bins can be set up for paper, plastic, and metal recyclables, and the children can practice with sample items, as well as continue use throughout the year, and ultimately forever. Also, teachers can set up bins containing random paper, metal, and plastic materials along with regular trash items, in order for children to practice and become familiar with recyclables. Another activity to go along with this book is building a birdhouse out of an empty milk carton. This can show that there are ways to go beyond recycling, and make an environmentally productive item, like a birdhouse, out of something usually considered trash.

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