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, April 22, 2012

How Can I Deal With...Racism? - Element 6

Racism (How Can I Deal With)

Title: How Can I Deal With...Racism?

Author: Sally Hewitt

SJE: Element 6: Taking Social Action

You can purchase this book here!

This book highlights six different children's stories about racism in their lives. Each child's story deals with racism in a different way such as coming from a new country and beginning school, being left out because of their religion, being told to go back where they came from, being teased because of their name and being bullied because they don't share the same culture as others. Each chapter highlights a student's story about how they were a victim of racism and also incorporates the story of one of their friends, explaining their point of view on how their friend was treated or describing a certain instance in which their friend was being bullied.  It also gives suggestions and steps as to what each child can do to stop the racism toward them such as telling their parents, teacher or principal or explain to their classmates why they do something a certain way or wear certain clothes. The book also includes a chapter explaining what racism is as well as a glossary defining key words such as culture, gang, Muslim, race, racism and religion.

This book represents Element 6: Taking Social Action because it not only explains the different types of racism children face but also gives them ways and suggestions to stop the racism or approach those who are doing the bullying. Each story highlights how the children feel when they are being bullied so others can learn from their stories. With the help of the suggestions in this book, the children will have a foundation as to how to stop the racism they face and start to make a change within their classroom and community.

Use of this book:
One of the chapters within this book is about a girl named Dipti whose family comes from India but she was born in America. One of the bullies in her class told her to go back where she came from. They said this racist comment to Dipti and did not bother to find out her background or culture. Dipti told the teacher what happened and took this opportunity to assign a Family Tree assignment. I think that was a great idea because it will inform the class of their classmates cultures and where everyone came from. I would do the same in my class because it is a great learning experience. They will be able to find out where their parents and grandparents came from, and see that Dipti is not the only one whose family comes from a different part of the world.

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