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, April 24, 2012

The Earth Book

Author: Todd Parr
Illustrator: Todd Parr
Grade Level: Pre-K to 2nd

Buy it here!

The Earth Book is a book that provides children with ideas for taking care of the earth. It motivates children to do little things that could ultimately make a big impact on the well-being of our planet (i.e. using both sides of paper, bringing own bags to the supermarket, riding bicycles, turning off the faucet while brushing teeth, etc.) Accompanied by children-friendly illustrations, easy to read texts, and a touch of childish humor, this book challenges children and shows them that they have power and say in protecting the earth. Come April, it will be a sweet and perfect read for Earth Day!

Element 6: Taking Social Action
The Earth Book represents Element 6: Taking Social Action because not only does it offer children ideas for taking care of the earth, but also it provides the big impacts and consequences of their small actions. Rather than providing children with a list of almost impossible "To Dos", this book inspires children to modify the way that they perform their daily routines. Adults, as well as children, can be challenged to turn off their lights, recycle, and save their leftovers by this book.

Activity: On Earth Day, teachers can read this book aloud with their students and discuss the importance of taking care of our planet. After the discussion, the students can come up with their own lists of practical "To Dos" in the classroom . Teachers can guide their students in creating a poster or book that illustrates and compiles the classroom "To Dos."
*Younger students who have yet to develop the fine motor skills to write/draw may work together as a team to grow a classroom garden or plant seeds outside of their school. As the students water the plants, take care of their garden, and watch their seeds grow, they can understand that their small actions lead to growth and change in their school environment.

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