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

I Like Myself!

Author: Karen Beaumont
Illustrator: David Catrow
Grade Level: K-3
Summary: I Like Myself! is a story of a young girl whose joy and contentment with who she is explodes off the page.  The book is colorful and uplifting, with rhymes and illustrations that evoke a similar feeling to Dr. Seuss.  The girl in the story declares that she likes herself for who she is and she would never want to be anyone else.  She also says that she does not care what other people say or think about her, because she is having too much fun being herself.  She also notes that it does not matter if she looks like a mess, because nothing can change who she is on the inside.  She also believes that no matter what other people may say about her appearance, she knows that there is more to her than meets the eye.  She says that even with "beaver breath or stinky toes or horns protruding from my nose...I still would be the same, you see...I like myself because I'm ME!"
Relationship to Element 1:  The first element of social justice education, self-love and knowledge, is connected to this book through its message.  The book celebrates a girl who loves who she is, both on the inside and the outside.  The girl is proud of who she is and knows that nothing anyone else can say about her will change her opinion about herself.  This book helps children to discover pride in themselves about who they are and what makes them unique.  This is integral to element one because only children who love and respect themselves can learn to love and respect others.  The story helps lead the way to element two, respect for others, because once the students learn to appreciate themselves, they can learn to appreciate others.  Therefore, this book could easily be integrated into the classroom as a way to foster a love of self and to serve as a good basis for elements two through six.
Activity:  A good way to incorporate this book into a lesson would be to have the students create a self-portrait called "I like myself!"  The students could lie down on the floor (if possible) and have the teacher or another student trace their outline onto a large sheet of paper.  The the students could fill in their outline with different words and pictures representing what they like about themselves.  This gives the students the opportunity to both express themselves artistically and also think about and articulate what it is they like about themselves.  After completing these abstract self-portraits, the students can share them with each other, thus, fostering a sense of pride in their work and their attributes, while also learning about their peers. 


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