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

Suki's Kimono


Suki's Kimono


Title: Suki's Kimono
Author: Chieri Uegaki

Summary:
This story is about a young girl named Suki. It is the first day back to school and Suki decides to wear a kimono her grandmother (obachan)bought for her to wear on a special day they shared that summer at a festival. Suki's sisters that it was a ridiculous idea for Suki to wear it to school and warned her that she would be made fun of but Suki didn't care. Once at school other kids approach Suki questioning and making fun of the way she dressed. The teacher allowed all the students the opportunity to say one thing about their summer. Suki shared her special moment at the festival in her kimono. By the end, all the students were interested and liked her story and her kimono and gave Suki a nice round of applause.

How can this book be used in the classroom:
This book can be used with younger grades (K-2 possibly 3) in teaching respecting others' differences but especially self pride of one's culture. I feel that many students don't have the opportunity of exploring, learning, and then sharing their culture. This book can be used during the beginning of the school year to springboard into a 'Getting to know you' activity involving the students' cultures. For older grades (3-5) this book can be used to introduce the concept of Americanization and explore the struggle of maintaining one's traditional culture while adopting to the American culture.

How does this book relate to Social Justice Education:


1. Self-love and Acceptance: Children learn about their own culture.
This book shows how a child, Suki, has explored and learned more about her culture through the experiences she shares with her family.


2. Respect for Others: Strengthens intercultural competence.
This book shows how the other students showed or lacked respect and understanding of Suki's culture which probably differs from their own culture. Penny's questioning and inquiry of Suki's outfit show a beginning step in learning and respecting another's culture.


3. Exploring Issues of Social Justice: Racism
This book shows the mean treatment some of the students gave Suki as well as the way Suki dealt with the situation. Suki ignored many of the mean comments made by the children. More importantly, she decided to share and inform others about the differences they were ridiculing which helped theme learn about her culture and find a respect for Suki and her culture.

-Sara Sepulveda

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