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, October 2, 2013

Who's in a Family?

Title: Who's in a Family?  
Author: Robert Skutch
Illustrated By: Laura Nienhaus
Publisher: Tricycle Press
Reading Level: Preschool - 2

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This book introduces and describes the different types of families people can have.
The book shows traditional nuclear families and families that are multiracial, families with same sex parents, single parent families, families with divorced parents/step parents, families where grandma takes care of the children, and etc. The book explains all families are equal no matter how a family looks or who it is composed of. In addition, the book also describes the types of families animals can have too.

Element 1: Self-Love and Knowledge :
 Who's in a Family represents element 1 because it describes the various types of families in a positive manner. The illustrations show how every family member is happy, smiling, and having fun doing activities together, regardless of how they look or who is in their family. This book also deconstructs stereotypes about how the "normal family" should look like and promotes the diversity/differences of the many types of families.

First you can read the book to the children. Next, have a discussion with them about "who's in their family" and where they are from and allow them to describe their family to a few other students. After that, have the students make a family tree. In their family tree they will be able to draw their family members. Finally, have the students write something about each of their family members. When the activity is over, the students will be able to see how each of their families look. The teacher will point this out and will explain although a family may look different from yours, it doesn't make them any less of a family. This activity promotes confidence in students and helps them to embrace their unique families.

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