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

Let's Talk About Race

Title: Let's Talk About Race

Author: Julius Lester

Illustrator: Karen Barbour

Grade Level: 1st - 5th

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More Information and Books by Julius Lester!

Let's Talk About Race starts off with the author's story of his family and his favorite things and hobbies to do.  It then jumps to the subject about race and asking the reader questions throughout the story of what we really believe ourselves to be.  The author then gives the reader a question about without our skin on what would we look like. The book challenges the reader to think why we think we are better then other people when we are exactly alike and that race doesn't define who we are in the end.  The book illustrates beautiful pictures with vibrant colors throughout every page.

Element 2: Respect for Others:
Let's Talk About Race gives the reader many things to think about and to question why we judge people by the color of their skin and not who they truly are.  The author goes about in a way throughout the book that brings the reader knowledge about how everyone underneath has hard bones and that without truly getting to know a person how can we judge them just by looking at them.  The author makes a point by showing that we should respect others because if we took off our skin everyone would not be able to know if someone was white, black, Hispanic, or Asian we are all the same.  And in the end race isn't who we all are there is more to use then the color of our skin.

An activity that can be done after reading Let's Talk About Race is having students make their very own "I am a story" book.  With the younger grades like 1st and 2nd graders the activity can be done as a whole class starting by making a list of their favorite food, hobbies, favorite color, religion, nationality, and favorite time of day just like the book.  This activity with the younger grades will show the students that even though some of them might have different answers they can still appreciate that student or have something in common they never knew about that student and see them as an equal person and not just by their skin color.  With the older grades like 3rd-5th graders the students can work in small groups or individually to make their own "I am a story" book that they believe represents them.  In the end have the students present their books or pass them around to the other students so that the whole class can learn new things about each other and have a new respect for each other.

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