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, February 26, 2013
Illustrator: Lori Lohstoeter
Grade Level: Pre-K - 3rd Grade
Buy it here :)
Summary: Beatrice's Goat is the true story of a young African girl who lives in a small village in Uganda with her mother and five younger siblings. Though she dreams of attending the local school, Beatrice is unable to do so because in order to go to school in her village, one must have enough money to purchase the school uniform and books. Sadly, Beatrice's family barely has enough money to live by. One day, Beatrice's mother tells her that their family has been chosen, along with eleven other families in their village, to recieve a special gift: a goat. Beatrice wonders what is so special about a goat? Little does she know the wonderful things this goat, which she names Mugisa, will bring to her family. Aside from being able to build a new home and furnish it, Beatrice's family will finally be able to fulfill her dream of going to school.
Element 3-Social Injustice: This book relates to the element of social injustice because of the fact that in Beatrice's village, only families who had enough money can send their children to school to get an education. This leaves the other children of poorer families without access to an education, being that they can not afford the school uniforms and books. It is unjust that education is restricted from certain people, whatever the reason may be, and differentiates between families by financial status. All children should have access to an education regardless of such a status or financial abilities. It is a right of theirs they should be able to exercise. Exposing students to a book like this can help them to appreciate and not take for granted the right to attend school and get an education.
Activity: I could use this book in my classroom as part of a Social Studies lesson where students can compare and contrast Beatrice's community with theirs. I can also use this book to discuss with my students the importance of having access to an education, and how some countries around the world still don't have this access for all of its children for various reasons, including financial inability. Another topic that can be discussed is the availiblity and use of resources, and how that might also differ in different countries around the world. I would also emphasize the importance of giving to those less fortunate thanourselves, for the very goat that Beatrice's family received that helped to improve their lives came from a non-profit organization called Hiefer International. In fact, I would also mention to the students that by just buying this book, 2% of the proceeds will go this organization. This can help them to start thinking from a young age how they are able to help others by means of donations or charitable work, amongst other things, and how it affects their awareness of events around the world in order to gain a more global perspective.