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

The Granddaughter Necklace

Author: Sharon Dennis Wyeth
Illustrator: Bagram Ibatoulline
Grade Level: K -Grade 4

Summary: The Granddaughter Necklace is a historical fiction children’s book that shares a family story of a necklace that has been passed down from mother to daughter through many generations. Each page tells the story of the women that wore the necklace and through those stories the daughter learns about her ancestors and family roots.  

This book provides important themes of inter-generational relationships, the diversity of African Americans, and family and oral traditions. In the end, Wyeth shares some information about her family roots. To Wyeth’s surprise, she finds that her ancestors come all the way from Ireland and a country known as Cameroon in Africa.

Element 1: The book The Granddaughter Necklace represents element one of self-love and knowledge because it inspires children to learn about their ancestors and traditions that exist in their family. Specifically, those traditions help students learn more about who they are and their identity. Self-love and knowledge is also represented in The Granddaughter Necklace because the story provides the opportunity for students to take pride of their family traditions, race, heritage, culture, and history.

Activity: A great activity to go along with The Granddaughter Necklace is a great way to incorporate family participation in a student project. First, it is important to have discussions about how different items, stories, and ideas are passed down from generation to generation. The teacher can share to the class his/her own short family history through a family tree. Then parents should be welcomed to help their children learn about their history through photos, items like the necklace, clothes, stories about ancestors, and many more. Parents can also help children complete their family tree. Parents and students can then share their short family history and family tree to the rest of the class, so all students can have the opportunity to feel proud about their history and their identity.

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