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.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Mellon

Author: Patty Lovell
Illustrator: David Gatrow
Grade Level: K-2

Summary: Stand Tall, Molly Lou Mellon is a colorful story about a girl who is very different from her classmates. Molly Lou is a clumsy, short girl, with buckteeth, and a “bull-frog” voice. Although Molly Lou appears to be awkward and considered an outcast her grandmother tells her to be proud of who she is. Molly Lou never lets any of her differences bother her until she has to move to a new school. Ronald Durkin is a bully at Molly Lou’s new school. Each day he tries to pick on her, but she always turns his negative into a positive. During football he calls her a “Shrimpo” and instead of letting that bother her she ignores Ronald, runs under his legs, and makes it to the field goal. That doesn’t stop Ronald from bullying her though. The next day he called her a “Buck-Tooth Beaver” and in turn she showed all the other kids how she could balance pennies on her teeth! This continued for a few more days until Ronald grew tired of picking on Molly Lou and as a peace offering he went to her house and brought her a new stacking penny. Molly Lou never gave into bullying and kept her grandmother’s lessons close to her heart.

Relationship to Element 1: Element one is about self-love and knowledge. Stand Tall, Molly Lou Mellon relates to this element because although Molly Lou is different from her classmates her grandmother helped her learn to love her unique differences. By learning to love herself Molly Lou brought that self-esteem to school. She was able to show her classmates that if she could be proud of who she is then they could be proud of their differences and also learn to appreciate others who are different from them.

Activity: A great activity to go along with Stand Tall, Molly Lou Mellon would be to have each child in the classroom create their own page to put in a class made book. The book can be called “I’m Unique!” Each student can make a drawing about one of their differences that either they are already proud of or something that they may feel ashamed about. For the students who are not like Molly Lou and have not yet embraced their differences this could be a great way for them to voice it and to see what their peers are not confident about. The book can be shared within the class and by going over everyone’s unique qualities it may help the student’s embrace who they are. During this lesson the teacher can also talk about bullying. She can ask the students for examples about how they felt when they were bullied about either the thing they chose to draw about or something else. This will give the whole class an overview about how words can hurt.

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