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 11, 2013

"Olivia" Element 1:Self-Love and Knowledge

Author and Illustrator: Ian Falconer
Grade Level:K-2

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This story is about a young pig named Olivia. Olivia is a very unique individual that has a very active daily routine. She is very good at a number of things and likes to take part in her many hobbies on a daily basis. The book states that, "She is very good at wearing people out." Through the course of the book Olivia enjoys taking part in activities such as playing dress up, going to the beach, going to the museum, and of course arguing with her little brother Ian. Although these seem like activities many children would enjoy, Olivia participates in these activities in a way that is special and unique to her. Because of this Olivia's mother tells her, "You know you really wear me out, but I love you anyway." Olivia being the confident individual that she is cheekily responds, "I love you anyway too."

Element 1: 
The book Olivia excellently relates to Element 1, "Self-Love and Knowledge" because in this book Olivia acknowledges that the manner in which she behaves is different than most of the other pigs her age. Rather than being ashamed of this fact and trying to conform to the behavior of those around her, she embraces her differences and is proud of the fact that at times she "is very good at wearing people out."

A good activity to conduct after reading Olivia is to have a class discussion about what the students enjoy and are good at doing. After the discussion, have the children make a book displaying things that they are good at, things that they like, and things that make them unique and special. After the books are completed the teacher can then have children volunteer to read their books aloud to the class. This activity will encourage children to acknowledge the things that they are good at and proudly display them.

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