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, February 25, 2013

And Tango Makes Three

Title: And Tango Makes Three
Author(s): Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Illustrator: Henry Cole
Grade Level: K-2


Summary:  Based on a true story, And Tango Makes Three focuses on the different animal families that live in the Central Park Zoo in New York City.  Two penguins in the penguin house were a little bit different than the other penguins.  Roy and Silo were both boys, but they did everything together.  As a couple, they want a family like the other penguins at the zoo. After an unsuccessful attempt to hatch a rock, Roy and Silo are given an abandoned egg to care for. After their diligent efforts, their egg hatches and baby Tango joins their family.

Element 3: Exploring Issues of Social Injustice: And Tango Makes Three celebrates the diversity of families.  Because Roy and Silo are both male penguins,the book gives students a chance to explore same-sex relationships.  The book sends out the message that it is absolutely okay to be different, accepting the fact that everybody has his or her own way of defining a family.

Activity:  A good follow up activity after reading this book would be a classroom discussion.  I would openly ask the classroom to elaborate on their own perspective of family.  As a project, I'd have them go home and illustrate their family.  With the help of their parents/guardians, they could put together a collage including the different things that define/sums up his or her family.  Finally, the students could present their project, and then I'd display their finished work around the classroom.  


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