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



Harlem by Walter Dean Myers

Harlem is a book that is written as a poem, and is about one of the most famous areas in NYC. Myers writes about all of the different things that are in Harlem. He talks about the people, both past and present, and important things that have happened throughout history. The poem is told through the eyes of a father and son.
I think that this is an important book to read to children, however it is not an easy book to understand. When doing this book with children, I think that it is important to explain everything to them. I found the poem to use complicated language which may be lost on some children. If the students do not understand what is going on is the poem, it will lose its meaning. I do think though that this is an important book for children to read, or to have read to them. It is important that children understand and know what an integral part Harlem is of NYC and the history behind it.
If I were to do this book with a class, there are numerous things that I would do with them. One possible lesson would be a word study lesson. Poetry is important to know and understand, but can be complicated. Since the language is this poem is rather complicated, I would want to go through the book myself and take out words and or phrases that would be complicated and just do a lesson on that. When the poem is finally read to them, it will be easier for them to follow what is going on. Another lesson that I would do with the students is a history lesson. I found there to be a lot of historical information, and it could be turned into a history lesson for the students. I would go into talking about the Harlem Renaissance and other historical events that happened in this area, and talk about the influential people throughout history that were a part of it.

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