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, February 13, 2012

Angelina's Island

Author: Jeanette Winter
Grade Level: K-2

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About the Author

Summary: Angelina is a little girl from Jamaica who just recently moved to New York City with her family. She has trouble adjusting to her new American life. Angelina dreams about moving back to Jamaica, which she calls her “island in the sun”. She is constantly comparing her new neighborhood to her home country. She misses her Jamaican foods, games, weather and even animals. One thing that Angelina really misses from Jamaica is Carnival. Her mother discovers that New York has a similar parade, so she enlists friends from the neighborhood to help make Angelina a Carnival costume. Angelina has so much fun at the parade that she realizes that New York really is her new home, or as she puts it, her “island in the sun”.

Element Two: Angelina’s Island is a great way to introduce element two to students.  The book will help students learn more about their peers who have recently emigrated from other countries. Angelina’s Island shows the difficulty that immigrants might have acclimating to a new environment and culture. This book helps students sympathize with those individuals that have made the move to the United States. Finally, Angelina’s Island is also a good way of learning about the Jamaican culture and things found in Jamaica.

Activity: Like previously stated Angelina’s Island not only shows the struggle that some immigrants face, but it also shows aspects of the Jamaican culture. One major piece of the book was Carnival. Therefore alongside this book, students are to choose one of cultural traditions they celebrate. The students are to complete some research and write a brief summary about their chosen tradition. Students are to decorate their summary page with drawings of important elements of this custom. Once they have finished, the students will be divided into small groups where they will share their work with classmates.

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