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.

Friday, February 15, 2013

I Lost My Tooth in Africa

Author:  Penda Diakite
Illustrator: Baba Wague Diakite
Ages: 4-8

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I Lost My Tooth in Africa is about a young girl who goes to visit some of her relatives in Mali, West Africa.  While she is there she hopes to lose a tooth.  She wishes this because if you lose a tooth and put it under a gourd the tooth fairy will bring two chickens.  Luckily for Amina, she loses her tooth while she is with her family in Africa.  The tooth fairy brings her two chickens and the chickens end up laying eggs!  This book gives insight into Amina's family and the cultural traditions of Africa.

Element 2:  Respect for Others
I think that I Lost My Tooth in Africa is a good book to represent element 2, respect for others.  This is because it gives information about the African culture through the eyes of Amina.  From this story the students can talk about their own family traditions and teach their classmates about them.  This gives students the opportunity to embrace differences in cultures and learn from them.

Classroom Activity
In my classroom I would first read the book to the class.  I think that this book would lead well into a discussion about family/cultural traditions.  I would then instruct the students for homework to go home and talk to their parents about a family tradition they have.  The next day I would have the students create a picture representation and small note card explaining their own family tradition.  To present the artwork the students would participate in a “gallery walk.”  After all art was seen, I would hang them up on a bulletin board.

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