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.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Whoever You Are

Author: Mem Fox

Illustratior: Leslie Staub

Grade Level: K-3

Buy It Here!


Summary:  Whoever You Are by Mem Fox is a children's book designed to show similarities and differences between different individuals.  In the book, they discuss cultural diversities and highlights similarities and differences between individuals from all around the world.  They talk about how people's homes, skin color, schools, and values may be different then yours.  In addition, the book uses a lot of pictures to show differences between people.  Towards the middle of the book, the author then explains how even though some people may look different or believe in different things, we are also very similar.  The author explains how everybody has feelings, everyone has emotions, everyone smiles, and everyone shares love with others.

Element 1: This book refers to the social justice element of self-love and knowledge because it is discussing how all children may be different and come from different places all around the world.  They talk about how people believe in different things, how they may look different, how they may come from different homes, and other different aspects.  In addition, they use different pictures to help show the differences amongst other people.  Besides just sharing differences, the book also acknowledges some similarities between people to help students realize that just because someone is different, they can still be like you as well.  This book helps to explain to children about other cultures, and to feel confident in who you are or where you come from.

Activity:  An activity that I would do with my students would be to read this book to them in the beginning of the school year.  I would want to do this in the beginning that way students don't already have judgments on each other, and that they can acknowledge that people may be different.  I would then maybe ask the class some general questions about things they do at home, where they come from, and have them share stories with the class.  After doing that, I would have kids work in groups with a worksheet that asks certain questions for them to answer about who they are and share with each other. After that, I would have them switch groups, so that way they interact with other people.  After they do that, I would have them share some similarities and differences that they found with people around the room and make a diagram.  I would have the children share information and show the kids that just because someone may be different in some ways, it doesn't change who they are as a person.

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