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

Smoky Night

Smoky Night

Mark Coccarelli
Yannery Gonzalez
Hannah Krueger

Smokey NightBy Eve Bunting

Link to where you can purchase book:

Summary: In this visually stimulating and thought-provoking story, Bunting tells of the horror and chaos that occurred during the Los Angeles riots through the eyes of a confused young boy. She never directly comes out and states that racial tensions exist in the community but through her nuances and use of symbolism, she gives the reader plenty to think about. This is a story about the importance of getting along with others and not letting past differences get in the way of getting to know someone.

Reflection: Smoky Night is a story the LA riots told from the eyes of a child. At the book’s core is the idea that there commonalities between us underneath our various exteriors. With visually stimulating illustrations and collage work the story is abstractly represented with artwork that and adds emphasis to certain aspects of the story. Smoky Night offers a positive outlook on how peace can come during hardship.

Book Use/Activities/Curricular Units: The book lends itself to various curricular elements including understandings about civil rights and the LA Riots. The book can offer discussion about prejudices and judgment as well as work as a tool for community building where students an understand differences and similarities between students within the class. The book also offers as an example of realistic fiction and may be used as a model in writing. Further, the book offers various work with symbolism and finding meaning in images.

Domain of Social Justice Education:
2.) Respect for Others- Strengthens intercultural competence. In the book during the time of crisis the characters realize they’re need for one another and the importance in getting to know each other despite cultural differences.

3.) Exploring Issues of Social Justice- Racism, Classism, Sexism, homophobia and other forms of oppression are confronted. The characters in the book begin to talk tone another and find similarities between each other.

4.) Social Movements and Social Change- Students learn how people have struggled for social change. The characters come out of the crisis of the LA riots and offer friendship to each other, inviting one another over to their apartments.

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