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, November 12, 2013

Leave Me Alone

Author: Kes Gray
Illustrator: Lee Wildish
Grade Level: Preschool- 2nd Grade
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Leave Me Alone is the tale of a young boy who is sad for a reason unknown, and so his animal and insect friends do their best to find out what is troubling him and cheer him up. The story utilizes a variety of different rhymes to correspond with the name of each animal/insect to make this book age appropriate for p-2. Several animals/insects come by and try to cheer him up by each time the little boy tells them to leave him alone and nobody can find out why he is upset. He insists many times over that there is nothing anybody can do to help. After many tried to help, he finally opens up and explains to them that a giant bully is picking on him and this bully prevents him from living the happy life that he would like. His friends hear him out so when the giant bully comes to pick on the little boy, his friends were ready to stand up to him. His friends all at once told the giant to "LEAVE HIM ALONE" and they all stood up tall to the bully at once. Discouraged by the loyalty and resolve of the little boy's friends, the giant faded off into the sunset. The little boy never heard from the giant bully ever again.

Element IV
Leave Me Alone was a perfect example of element four because the little boy's friends united together to stand up to the giant bully in order to get him to leave the little boy alone. Element Four is among other things described as ordinary people uniting together to create change. This book decided to get away from national events such as the March on Washington, but instead addressed the never ending issue of bullying. The little boy was being bullied and his friends could see that it was making him upset and so they stood up to him to create a positive change in his life. Element four also shows how sometimes ordinary people can feel overwhelmed and defeated by their circumstances. In this story, the little boys' friends were overwhelmed by how their friend was behaving as a result of profuse bullying. They realized that together they may be able to change things for the better and they did this by standing up to the bully. This book can inspire students to locate bullying when they see it and give them the strength to stand up to a bully in an attempt to reverse the negative pattern.

A activity that can be utilized with Leave Me Alone is a read aloud to begin a unit on anti-bullying. As we all know anti bullying campaigns have been picking up a significant amount of steam in the last decade and I don't think any book showcases this problem better than this one. After the reading I can ask students comprehensive questions about bullying and have each student have the opportunity to share how they feel. After some students share their feelings on the book, I am going to utilize a risky, but possibly wonderful activity. If any person in the class has bullied another student i will give them the chance to apologize to that student and so hopefully my classroom will participate in a respect retreat like lesson. The goal is for all students to sympathize with the little boy from the story and some should be able to acknowledge that they too have participated in bullying like behavior and apologize for it. No student will be forced to say anything and if nobody does say anything I will talk for a few minutes about how bullying is wrong and instead of being a bully, each student should be a friend instead. I will speak about how if we all work together and not against each other, anything is possible within the classroom. Then students will be given another opportunity to acknowledge their bullying before we move on with the lesson. The hope is that this lesson will make the classroom more united and free of bullying. I want my classroom to be a place for them to make friends with other students instead of becoming distant and mean with one another. If they are already distant and mean to each other, this activity will provide an excellent chance to reverse this thread. They can also be able to better be able to recognize when their peers are being bullied and how to stop the behavior from continuing.

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