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 19, 2013

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon

Author: Patty Lovel

Illustrator: David Gatrow

Grade: Kindergarten - Third 

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon starts off by introducing Molly Lou Melon, who is a very interesting first grade girl.  She was the shortest girl in her class, had buck teeth that stuck out so far, sounded like a bullfrog being squeezed by a boa constrictor, and was very clumsy. Molly Lou Melon's grandma told her "Walk as proudly as you can and the world will look up to you," "Smile big and the world will smile right alongside you," "Sing out clear and strong and the world will cry tears of joy," and "Believe in yourself and the world will believe in you too."  Molly Lou Mellon always listened to her grandma and did exactly what she said.  One day Molly Lou Melon moved to a new town and had to say goodbye to her grandma and and start a new school.  For the first four days of school Ronald Durkin,a boy in her class, made fun of Molly Lou Melon.  He called her shrimpo, buck-tooth beaver, made fun of her voice, and insulted her snowflake she made.  Each day Molly Lou Melon stood up for herself and proved Ronald Durkin wrong. When he called her a buck-tooth beaver she impressed her class when she balanced ten stacked pennies on her teeth and smiled so big.    On the fifth day of school Ronald Durkin approached Molly Lou Melon and brought her a stacking of pennies for her teeth.  Molly Lou Melon smiled.  That night Molly Lou Melon wrote her grandma a letter saying, 
"Dear Grandma, I wanted to tell you that everything you told me was exactly right! 
Love, Molly Lou Melon." 

Elements 5: 
Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon brings attention to bullying in schools. The story allows children to recognize bullying and how to address those acts.  Students learn from Molly Lou Melon that differences should not be seen as a negative but only as a positive.  Molly Lou Melon learned from her grandma to stand up for who you are. Students will learn from Molly Lou Melon to stand up for themselves and not to let anyone bring them down.  Addressing bullying in this story raises awareness of bullying that happens in your own classroom. Students will be able to take away how hurtful bullying can be along with understanding the importance of being who you are and believing in yourself.  

An activity that can be done after reading Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon would to initially address the issue of bullying.  Students will be asked why bullying is hurtful and what are some ways we can prevent bullying.  Next, students will be asked to create pictures of themselves conducting acts of kindness in the classroom.  Students will be given markers, crayons, and different colored paper.  They will be asked to creatively represent themselves  in their pictures. Once all students have finished their pictures showing acts of kindness, they will be hung on a wall within the classroom called "Our Classroom Kindness."

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