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

Ken Mochizuki's Baseball Saved Us

Ken Mochizuki's Baseball Saved Us

Baseball Saved Us
Written by Ken Mochizuki
Illustrated by Dom Lee

Summary: "Baseball Saved Us" illustrates the confinement of the Japanese Americans and immigrants in internment camps during World War II in the United States. This is a part of history that has been played down until the more recent decades. Through a young Japanese boy's eyes, we are able to witness not only the scenes behind barbed-wire fences but also witness the boy’s hope and dreams come forth through the game of baseball.

Reflection: I believe that this book adequately displayed the injustices and humiliation that a group of people had undergone in the United States but also at the same time expressed a hopeful and encouraging story. I can still see some prejudices and stereotypes that could come out of this book but it seemed fairly sufficient in expressing its purpose and exposing children and parents to different aspects of history and of life.

How would I use this book/curriculum units: As I mentioned earlier, it is a part of history that has been downplayed and may only express a piece of how injustice is capable of being repeated in various forms throughout history, and open minds to its existence in current times, unless there is a form of change and action that is taken. This book can be used to explore such topics as immigration, injustice, human rights, racism, suffering, cultural diversity, and isolation. Students can attempt to identify with the boy and his experiences. All of these explorations – through history and baseball – can be used, related to, and adapted for a variety of lessons and activities. Students can also be involved in sharing about their research and study on this part of history and move on to emphasize similar existing situations in the present world.

Domains of Social Justice:
1)Self Love and Acceptance: Students will be able to empathize with the young boy through personal or other experiences and seek how it is possible to be hopeful and encouraged by their passion and interests.
2)Respect for others: Students will be able to explore a culture and learn to see beyond the physical and exteriors of people and situations.
3)Exploring Issues of Social Justice: immigration, injustice, human rights, racism, suffering, cultural diversity
4)Social Movements & Social Change: Students can learn about and more deeply explore the current injustices and sufferings in history and current world (its causes, its effects, etc.) and also the issue of human rights and racism.
5)Taking Social Action: Students can act by showing their community and the world of the injustices and racism that exists right now through various means.

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