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 10, 2012
Uncle Willy's Tickles
Illustrator: Kathleen Gartner
Grade: kindergarten - 3rd grade
Kyle enjoys when his uncle Willy comes to visit. His uncle Willy likes to laugh, joke, play and he also takes Kyle and sister out for their favorite ice cream. Even though Kyle loves to play and hang out with uncle Willie, there is one thing that he does not like, uncle Willy's tickles. In the beginning it was fun, but now Kyle is uncomfortable. He is so uncomfortable he tries to disguise himself or pretend he is sick so he does not have to interact with his uncle Willy. Kyle finally gets the courage to speak to his mom about the way uncle Willy touches him and explains how he does not like it. Kyles mom encourages Kyle to tell uncle Willy how he feels and to his surprise uncle Willy promises not to tickle Kyle anymore because now he knows he does not like it.
This book can be used to raise awareness about topics such as inappropriate touching, privacy, and children's rights. Element 5 is about raising awareness and this book does a great job at covering these topics at an elementary level. Kyle, like many other kids was feeling very uncomfortable the way his uncle would tickle him. Even when he mentioned it to his sister, she said that he tickles all of the kids. Some children may feel like this behavior is okay because it promotes laughter and everyone is having fun, but this book lets children know that no matter what they have a say over their body and if someone is touching them inappropriately even during fun and laughter they have a right to say "STOP" or "NO". Uncle Willy's Tickles is not only for kids but it raises awareness for adults/parents as well. Something as simple as tickling can cause emotional stress, anger, sadness, feelings of discomfort and violation in children. Kyle dealt with these things but he gathered the courage to speak to his mom and her warmth, understanding and guidance allowed him to speak up for himself letting his unlce know that he did not like the way he was being touched. This book is awesome for parents and teachers to introduce things like bad touches, when somone says "no", speaking up and knowing your rights.
Sometimes kids need to feel empowered and they need to know that they have a voice especially when it comes to their own body. The teacher can give the students a fill-in the blank prompt. Ex. I do not like when you __(tickle me)__ and I want _(you to stop)_or I will_(tell my mom)__. In small groups (2nd & 3rd grade) or whole group (k &1) students can discuss things that make them uncomfortable and if they were Kyle what would be some other ways that they would tell uncle Willy they were uncomfortable with his tickling.