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, November 27, 2013

Our Community Garden

     Title: Our Community Garden
     Author: Barbara Pollak
     Illustrated By: Barbara Pollack
     Publisher: Beyond Words Publishing Inc.
     Reading Level:Ages 5-8

     Buy it Now



Audrey Aubergine and her friends love their community garden in San Francisco. The garden is a place to play hide-and-seek, and a place to work and learn. The friends get a lesson in nuturing living plants by watering them, diging in the dirt, using garden tools and pulling up weeds. They also discover the many types of bugs that live in harmony in the soil and thrive in a garden. The friends are from different cultures and plant vegetables that are popular in their own backgrounds such as tomatillos,carrots,aspargus beans,and egplants. The excitment surrounding the vegetable harvest calls for a celebration. Audrey and her friends invite the community to participate. Residents select vegetables that can be used to create a cultural dishe to share.  A fantastic giant feast was held. Members of the diverse community came together in unity and friendship to sample the diverse dishes that represent their cultures and countries, The children were excited to see what their efforts yielded. Most importantly they were thrilled to learn the value that a community garden can bring to the neighborhood.It promotes teamwork, respect and generates community interest . It also increases awareness by providing an opportunity to network and learn about multi-cultural foods enjoyed by families living right there in their community.  What a vauable lesson to learn.

Element #5-Raising Awareness

Our Community is a great story that describes a group of young friends who are passionate about nuturing a community garden. Elementary school students learn that growing and nuturing a community garden also helps to nuture and develop friendships in the neighborhood. The planting and harvesting of diverse foods provides an opportunity to learn about foods enjoyed by families of different backgrounds. Children and neighborhood residents learn how to come together for a common good through teamwork that benefits diverse cultures. Readers also discover how a garden can be used to improve the neighborhood environment by adding green space that can also be used as a food resource. All of these aspects increase understanding of respect, and promote the benefit of community sharing.

Follow-Up Activity:

Students can use this book to promote developing a community garden in their school yard. A small plot of land can be utilized to plant vegetables. Students can form a garden club and look for seeds that represent vegetables eaten in their culture. During recess students can take turns watering and weeding the plants. Parents can be invited to participate in caring for the garden with their student. Once the plants are harvested. The class can conduct a presentation to explain what they learned about growing plants such as the  need for soil, sunlight and water. They can also discuss how their selected vegetable is used in a cultural dish. Families can share the vegetables harvested in the small garden. This will increase awarness of cultural foods, and develop teamwork and respect.

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