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 12, 2013
Illustrator: David Clark
Grade Level: K-3
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Meet The Author
Summary: Gakky Two-Feet is about a hominidee named Gak who chooses to walk on 2 feet instead of 4. All his friends walk on 4 feet and think it is odd that he only walks on 2. They start calling him Gakky Two-Feet as a way to tease him about being different. His mother tells him that Gak has always walked on 2 feet, even when he was little. When Gak and his friends were playing in the trees, a cheeky fellow hominidee named Frizz dared everyone to go out in the Tall Grass. He directly called out Gakky Two-Feet for being a scaredy cat. Of course Gak accepted the challenge and went out to the Tall Grass with everyone else. The hominides could not see a thing and were scared something bad might happen. They heard the roar of a lion and immediately ran away. The grass was too tall for them to get back home. Gak had a great idea! He told his friend to get on his back so he could see over the grass. After an intense chase with the lion, Gak managed to return all his friends back home. The leader of the hominidees named today as, "Gakky Two-Feet Day" in honor of Gak.
Relationship to Self Love and Knowledge: This book helps children who might feel down and out about themselves. Gak feels that he is different from his friends because of the way he walks. But in the end, it is because of his different way of walking that ends up saving his friends. Gak learns to love himself for who he is and is accepted by his community. One of the female hominidees mentions that he will make a great husband but the children might walk on 2 legs. The female hominidee that Gak had a crush on responded with, "That might not be such a bad thing at all." This directly relates to element 1 because the book teaches you to accept yourself for you you are. This is a great book for any student that needs an extra push to know how special they really are.
Activity: An activity to go along with this book would be to have students interview another student and get to know them better. The students can find out fun facts, hidden talents, or traits that they were not familiar with. The students can decorate their own hominidee with fun facts, talents, etc, about their partner using construction paper, markers, etc. This will help students relate and understand that you should not judge someone before getting to know them, just like the hominidees judged Gak because he walked on two feet.