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 26, 2013
Author: Dr. Seuss
Grade Level: K-2
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Summary: This vibrant Dr. Suess book is about a boy who gets curious about what happen to all the trees that once existed where he lives. He visits the Once-ler and pays him to tell the story. He depicts how he came into town and started chopping down trees one at a time. The Lorax, the one who spoke for the trees, often warned him and begged him to stop, but his greed didn't allow him to stop. His sole intention was for him and his family to become rich off of the beautiful resources this town had to offer. By the end of the story there were no more trees which affected the rest of the environment. Animals did not have homes, and the environment was polluted. This book is a great depiction for children of what happens when big industries take over. The story had a happy ending with the Once-ler having one last Truffula Tree seed and giving it to a boy who cared so much about the trees, because nothing can get done unless someone truly cares about the situation.
Element 5: Raising Awareness : The Lorax is a great book to bring upon the awareness of environmental issues and inspire earth-friendly action by children of any age. It shows it's readers in a simplistic way, what happens when industries come along, and consumers alike. It gives them hope that if they do care enough they do have the power to change the way our environment is being treated. This is also a great book to bring up as earth-day approaches. This book might serve as a great introduction into other environmental issues students might feel passionately about and might want to share with their classmates.
Activity: In my classroom I would read The Lorax as an introduction to environmental issues. I would then have my students pick their own environmental or social issue that they are passionate about. With this topic the students would each research facts and statistics about how their issue affects us. They would then have to come up with an action plan to help start a change. The students would then have the option to turn this into a book or poster to present to the class and possibly share with the rest of the school. As a class we might even vote on one issue that we as a class can actually follow through with the action plan to help better our environment or society. This will allow students to not only think of the plan but actually see it in place and see that it can be done.
Posted by Suzye Alves