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, November 23, 2013

Planting the Trees of Kenya

Title: Planting the Trees of Kenya
Author: Claire A. Nivola
Publisher: Frances Foster Books
Grade Level: 3rd - 5th grade

Summary: Wangari grew up on a farm in central Kenya, where everything around was green. There were many trees spread around and fresh water in the streams. Wangari grew up in a place where everything that was planted had grown to fulfill the needs of everyone who lived there. Everything was perfect when Wangari went to college in America. When Wangari came back, everything around her was barren. Most of the trees were cut down and there was very little water in the streams. People started to get their food from shops in town which was expensive. After a lot of the people started to become poor, Wangari made it her mission to make Kenya like it was before she went off to college. She taught everyone around her how to use the crops and grow them so that Kenya can become fruitful again. It was tough at first, but at the end, everyone started to see their hard work pay off when trees were starting to grow again. Wangari then started to teach everyone in schools how to grow trees. Wangari mission still goes on thirty years later with 30 million new trees that have been grown in Kenya.

Element Six: Taking Social Action
Element Six is just how it the title says it; it means taking action. It means one person wanting to make a change somewhere in society. It means someone having a goal and willing to go to all lengths to achieve it. Wangari grew up in Kenya where everything needed was grown and everything was fresh and clean around her. After Wangari came back from college, she had found that her native town had become dry and barren. Wangari's town was nothing as she remembered it. Wangari made it a goal to make her town green and fruitful. Element Six is about one person or a group going above and beyond to make a difference in society. Wangari is a great example of showing students that if you work hard enough and believe in what you are doing, change can happen.

A book like this should be read as an example to students. Before students take social action, they must believe in it first. By reading the story of Wangari, children can think to themselves what could they do to make a difference in their community. After reading this story, I would have the students think about the area around us and how it is treated. Whether it is a piece of land or a body of water, the students would think of something that they would like to clean up. After the students chose a location in their area in which they would like to improve, students would spend one afternoon cleaning up that area. The main goal to make that one area look healthy and clean. After the students are finished cleaning up that area, I want the students to think that they made their community better by cleaning up a place around them.

No comments:

Post a Comment