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, February 18, 2014

Elmer and Rose

Author: David McKee
Illustrator: David McKee
Grade Level: PreK – 3

Elmer and Rose written and illustrated by David McKee, is a children’s book which inspires children to be different and accept others who are different from ourselves. The illustration entails of vivid colors grabbing the reader’s attention. The book is about an elephant named Elmer who is joined by his cousin, Wilbur, and both are asked to help a pink elephant, Rose, find the herd of elephants that she wandered off from. As they go through this journey, Rose is seen feeling out of place. It is not till the end when she finally met with the herd of elephants, which we see Rose blending in. Elmer and Wilbur now knew why Rose thought others were strange. Rose thought if another elephant was another color, the elephant was strange. However, Wilbur states something very important, and that is, if the elephant was a different color then that elephant was unique, sending a great message to all readers.

Element 2: Respect for Others
Elmer and Rose represents element 2, Respect for others, because it introduces diversity to children. It will help create a respectful classroom towards diversity, where students will have the opportunity to learn about each other and their differences. Allowing the students to understand how different and unique one can be, will help students gain understanding of these differences, and students will be more comfortable and accepting of others. The message of the book will also help children to become familiar with diversity. As they become familiar of their surroundings, they will be more open to making new friends. Elmer and Rose, reassures children that being a different color is okay and we can still fit in.

There are many different approaches on activities that can be done using this book within the classroom. An activity, after reading this book, that I believe will help integrate element 2 can be a brief discussion on the book’s message. After the students understands the message and how we can all be different, the teacher should start out by gathering some differences and point out the similarities the class share as a whole as well. Once the class has collaborated together, students can now work independently. The teacher can provide the students with a handout. This handout will be an activity will consist of their own Elmer that each individual can decorate to represent them individually. Students should be encouraged to be creative in their special way. If help is needed, teacher’s can guide them by asking them questions on their favorite color, food, sport, etc. After the class has completed this task, teachers can display them on a bulletin board. Students will be able to visualize other peer’s differences in which they have shown through their Elmer, but also see similarities not forgetting everyone’s uniqueness. 

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