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



(please click on either link above for more information about the book or author!)

Summary: This book is a really great selection for a 4th or 5th grade group of students. The protagonist Cap Anderson moves from a rural town where he is home schooled to a public middle school in a suburban town. Cap is very different from the rest of his peers, he has never watched TV, eaten pizza, any doesn't know anything about sports. The other students at the school make fun of Cap for his unique ways, particularly his Buddist religion, his hemp clothing and especially how he practices tai chi on the schools lawn. As the year goes by, the students start to appreciate Cap for his uniqueness and their opinions of him drastically change.

Annmarie's Reflection: Schooled is a really great story because of the way that it encourages people to accept other's for their differences and unique talents. Many children can relate to this in an urban environment because of the different cultures, religions,
and lifestyles they all live.

Mila: This addresses several dimensions of social justice education. It addresses Social Justice domain 1, Self Love and Acceptance, because Cap is forced to accept himself for who he is. He may not be exactly like everyone else, but he is pretty special, and has a lot to offer. This also addresses Social Justice domain 2, Respect for Others. In the beginning of the story, Cap's peers think he is strange and don't want to be friends with him. However, throughout the story they begin to appreciate him for who he is and how unique of an individual he is.
Mila's Reflection: I liked this story because it was such an unusual story. Growing up in a very cookie cutter suburb, I never knew anyone like Cap. I think it would have been interesting to have been a fly on the wall in this situation. I also thought that Cap handled his situation really well. I would definitely read this book with my class.

Lexie's Reflection: I love how different the premise of this story is from other books. It deals with a unique culture-- that of individuals who practice Zen Buddhism and Tai Chi, and live on a commune. This "hippy" culture is not often explored in children's literature, and it is interesting to see a main character with this background. When Cap- who has been homeschooled for many years- is placed in a typical school, it is the common story of an outcast. Only this time, the outcast is placed immediately in a position of power- that of class President. Korman's choice to set the plot up this way was different and intriguing. The story that unfolds is touching- I definitely recommend this book!

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