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.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Araboolies of Liberty Street

Title: The Araboolies of Liberty Street
Author: Sam Swope
Illustrator: Barry Root
Publisher: Clarkson N. Potter, Inc
Reading Level: P-3

To learn more about the author and the book click here.

This story takes place on a street called Liberty street where all the houses looked the same. All the houses were white and looked alike and it was very difficult to tell the difference between them. Everyone on Liberty street listened to General Pinch and his wife, who hated fun and wanted everything and everyone to say the same. Every time someone was doing something that the general didn't like, he would scream "I'll call in the army." This was a very boring and depressed street until a new family called the Araboolies moved on Liberty Street. This was a huge family who were all different colors and didn't speak English. The Araboolies  were very different than anyone living on the street. They painted and decorated their house and drew stuff all over the sidewalk. The Pinches did not like the Araboolies at all and always yelled at them, but they couldn't understand them. After a while, everyone in the town except the Pinches loved the Araboolies because there were so much fun. Finally, the general decided to call in the army and get the Araboolies out away from Liberty Street. All of the neighbors on Liberty Street decided to protect the Araboolies from the army and devised a plan so that the Araboolies would stay. The neighbors would all paint their houses different colors and the only weird house was the all white house that the Pinches lived in. This confused the army in thinking that the white house was the weird house and they decided to drag the Pinches out of Liberty Street.

Element #3: Exploring Issues of Social Injustice
This story, "The Araboolies of Liberty Street", is about a family who moves onto a street whose way of life is completely different than theirs. Before the Araboolies moved on Liberty Street, the street was a plain street where everything was exactly the same. The Araboolies shook things up when they moved onto Liberty Street. They were all different colors, liked to have fun and loved doing everything outdoors. Everyone came to love the Araboolies except for General Pinch, who seemed to run everything that happened on Liberty Street. This book is a great book for children because it shows that it doesn't matter what you look like on the outside, it matters what kind of person you are. The neighbors began to see that the Araboolies were just like them and wanted to have as much fun as possible. It seemed as though the Pinches were the only one that did not like the Araboolies This is a great children's book which shows social injustice towards a particular family just because of their values and ends with all the neighbors figuring out that the color of your skin doesn't matter because everyone wanted the same thing and that was to have fun.

Follow up Activity;
After you read this book, it makes you reflect on people in your life. After my students read this book, I would take about 10 minutes and have my student think about everyone who lives on their street. I want my students to think about what they do for fun and what your neighbors do for fun and how different it is. Then I would have my student each draw a picture of what they like to do for fun. I would then hang the drawings around the room. The point of this activity is show all of my students that even though they might look different, the activities they enjoy are very similar.

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