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, October 8, 2013

Element 2: Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match

Title: Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match

Author: Monica Brown

Illustrations: Sara Palacios

      Marisol McDonald is a bilingual Peruvian Scottish-American girl who loves to play soccer and eat peanut butter and jelly burritos.  She tells about how she plays soccer with her cousin, who tells her that she does not match because she has red hair and brown skin.  She also tells about how the kids at school tell her that the things she likes do not match, like peanut butter and jelly burritos and pirate soccer.  One day her friend Ollie bets Marisol that she couldn’t match even if she tried.  When Marisol comes into school the next day and tries to do normal things, or “things that match”, she realizes that she is not happy doing these things.  At the end of the day, Marisol’s teacher hands her a note that says she loves Marisol just the way she is because she is creative and beautiful, and Marisol goes back to being her marvelous imaginative self.  At the end of the story Marisol goes to the puppy store with her family where she picks out a puppy that is just like herself—“mismatched and marvelous”.

Element Two- Respect For Others:
     This book is a great tool to give children insight on what it is like to be a multicultural, bilingual child living in America.  The main character faces people every day who make her feel like she does not fit in,  and when she tries to act like other “normal” students the audience can see how upset and lost she feels.  This first person point-of-view narrative will help children develop respect for others, knowing that each individual comes from different backgrounds and cultures.  Each page on this book is also written in English and Spanish.

     For this story, I feel that teachers could do a great variety of activities that merge together the message of respect for others, and diversity.  One activity I might implement in my classroom would be to have students re-create the letter that Marisol’s teacher wrote to her.  I would have children get into pairs and learn about one another’s background and culture.  I would then have each child write a letter to their partner to tell them some things that they think are special, according to what they have learned about their classmate.  I feel that this activity would enforce the idea that every individual should be respected for their differences, not criticized.  The fact that the story is in Spanish, as well as English, on each page could also lead to other activities that integrate learning another language


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