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, September 9, 2008

Grandfather's Journey

Grandfather's Journey

Title: Grandfather's Journey

Author: Allen Say

Illustrator: Allen Say

Summary: The story is about a boy's grandfather and his journey from Japan to America. His grandfather loved America but missed his homeland of Japan. He returned to Japan to marry his first love. However, he begins to miss America and returns, where he and his wife raise their daughter. Grandfather begins to miss Japan once more and returns. When Say is born his favorite memories are those spent with his grandfather and hearing tales of California. When Say is old enough he travels to America and realizes why his father was so torn between which country he would like to call home. The illustrations are done in watercolors.

How would I use the book/curriculum units: This is a great story to teach children about history. This book is recommended for 3rd and 4th grade levels. This is a great book that can be integrated into a social studies curriculum such as immigration. This is a good book to use in the classroom especially considering the number of students who immigrate from other countries. This book depicts how a person could make a new home in another country yet still miss their old country.

Domains of Social Justice:1. Self love and acceptance: This book displays a character who is interested in his culture and wants to explore it more. We should love and accept ourselves for who we are and embrace our culture. 2. Respect for others: We learn through this book the importance to respect others and their cultures. When the character went from Japan to America their culture was respected. 3. Exploring issues of social justice: The book definitely opens doors to a discussion on immigration and the different people that compose NYC and our classroom. 4. Social movements and social change: The book depicts the story of a grandfather who is torn between is home country Japan and the new country America. This is a struggle that many people face.
5. Taking social action: The grandson feels closer to his father once he experiences the same emotions, being torn between two countries. This book can lead to a discussion on how to maintain your own culture in America.

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