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 18, 2013

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon

Author: Patty Lovell

Illustrator: David Catrow

Grade Level: Kindergarten and/or 1st grade


Molly Lou Melon is a young girl with  many quirky qualities about her. She is small, clumsy, has buck teeth, and has a voice like a "bullfrog being squeezed by a boa constrictor". While she has learned to love herself, with encouragement from her grandmother, young Molly is tested when she has to move to a new town. One young boy, Ronald Durkin, seems bent on giving Molly a difficult time, but by being herself, she wins over her classmates, her teacher, and even Ronald too!

Element 2:

Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon gives subtle hints about respect, not only for ourselves but for others as well. This short story is a wonderful resource for any educator. By having an appreciation for ourselves, and sharing our unique qualities, we build a foundation of respect for others in the classroom and beyond. And while some people may use derogatory language, such as "shrimpo" in the case of this story, by being ourselves and using our own unique qualities to our advantage we can turn any situation around.


One great activity that can be utilized in the classroom is a puzzle board of the students. Each student is given a large cardboard, foam, or other material puzzle piece to design with images and words that are unique to him/her. While decorating in small groups, no more than 3 or 4 students to a group, monitor the dialogue that is occurring between the students. If needed, or interested, have students come up with their own unique "catch phrase" to put on the back of their puzzle piece. Allow the students to point out the differences and similarities between their piece and that of their peers. When the students have finished their work put the puzzle pieces together and display the uniqueness of your classroom for all to see!

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