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.

Monday, September 8, 2008

We All Sing with the Same Voice

We All Sing with the Same Voice

Title: We All Sing with the Same Voice
Written By: J. Philip Miller and Sheppard M. Greene
Illustrated By: Paul Meisel

Level: Pre-K-Second

Summary: This is a wonderful story about children from all over the world creating music using a common instrument; their voice. This book is actually the lyrics of a children’s song that was made popular on Sesame Street. The illustrator, PaulMeisel, has done a terrific job of celebrating and encouraging diversity through bright, colorful pictures. The book not only includes pictures of children from different countries and of different nationalities but it also includes pictures of children in wheelchairs who have handicaps and/or disabilities. It includes pictures of children from the city and of children from the country. This book does a good job of addressing ever aspect of race, gender, culture, and sexuality . It does a wonderful job of showing how we are all different but we also all have similarities. 

Activities: This story comes with a CD of the original song that inspired the creation of the book. Children can listen to the song while following the words in the book which can help increase their fluency and word recognition. The book teaches that although everybody looks different on the outside, we all share similarities with one another as well. It teaches children to be open and excepting of everyone. Music is a great way for children to share a part of their own culture or identity. They could share a song from their country or even just a song that they enjoy a lot. I would use this book to start a unit on tolerance if I find that my students are not accepting of people who are different then them. This would be a good book to use if you do have a student with a disability and you notice that other students are not playing or interacting with that student because they are different.
Levels of Social Justice: With a little bit of creativity from the teacher I think that this book can fit into four or even all five of the levels of social justice. It definitely teaches children about their own culture as well as others and the importance of respecting others. Although the book doesn't go into much detail about issues of social justice it does bring up issues that could be controversial such as gay/lesbian moms and dads. The book can be used as a good intro into discussions about the differences between families as well as the way that other people live.

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