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 9, 2012

The Day Gogo Went to Vote

Author: Elinor Batezat Sisulu 
Illustrator: Sharon Wilson
Grade Level: 1st & 2nd
About the Illustrator

The Day Gogo Went to Vote is a book about the first time black South Africans were allowed to vote. The book is written in the perspective of a young girl, named Thembi, who describes her great- grandmother's first voting experience. Thembi's great- grandmother, or Gogo as she calls her, is 100 years old and has not left her house in years. Once it is announced that black South Africans can vote, Gogo is determined to not let this opportunity pass her by, despite her family's opposition. Gogo is also determined to take her young great-granddaughter with her to show her how important this moment is for them. Gogo catches the attention of others so much, that people come out to see her vote and she has even featured in the front page of the local newspaper. 

Element 5:
This book can be used for both element 5 and 6. Element 5 is about raising awareness, something that this story illustrates. In the book Gogo, insists that her great-granddaughter accompany her to the voting booths. Gogo wanted to ensure that her great-granddaughter would understand the importance of this historical vote.    Also, Gogo drew plenty of attention from individuals and the media, causing a bigger crowd at the voting booths. 

An activity that can go along with this book, involves the topic of voting. Before the activity, the teacher should go over basic items pertaining to voting. Some of these items would be: what is voting?, who can vote?, and even the history of voting restrictions. After having a good understanding about voting and its history, the student will create a voting public service announcement. The PSA will serve to educate others on the current percentage of people who actually vote and the importance of voting. The PSA can also remind different the different groups of people what their ancestors had to go through to finally gain the right to vote. 

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