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, February 19, 2014

Children Just Like Me: A unique celebration of children around the world

Children Just Like Me: A unique celebration of children around the world. Harry Belafonte
Where to find it:
Element II: Respect for others

This book is a large-scale book with a lot of good cultural information about numerous backgrounds.  With each flip of the page we meet a new child and their family, from a different cultural background, from pastimes, to traditions, to dress, to even foods this book gives children the opportunity to peek into a different world.  The sections are separated by continent, nurturing a greater cultural awareness of who comes from what part of our world.  A fun book, with a great deal of visual aids, this Unicef approved book should help children to enjoy the wonders of the world and celebrate all the people in it. 

The way this book represents element II of the SJE teaching method is that it gives cultural background to over 100 countries around the world.  My favorite part about this book is that it focuses on the human element of world culture, in that though some people wear different clothes, or have a different skin color, this does not break the inherent bond we all share as human beings.  The book is a celebration of our differences but also a lesson in how we all are equally important to the beauty and development of our world.

I would use this book as a headliner in my library.  I would buy a number of copies, since there are numerous on amazon selling for $0.01 and devote some class time to it, but the main aim would be to have the children bring them home, figure out the formatting and make a page of their own background, with pictures and information.  These would be presented to the class and posted on the classroom walls.

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