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 25, 2014

Grace for President

Title: Grace for President

Author: Kelly DiPucchio

Illustrator: LeUyen Pham

Grade Level: K-2

Ages: 5-8


Grace for President is a realistic fiction book about a young girl named Grace Campbell who is absolutely outraged when her teacher informs her that the United States of America has never had a female president. "NO girl president? EVER? Grace shouts, as she truly cannot believe her eyes when looking a poster of all the past presidents. Puzzled and angered, Grace sits at her desk until coming up with the "star-spangled" idea that she would like to be President. So her teacher, Mrs. Barrington and Mr. Waller's elementary classes decide to have a mock presidential election, with Grace and another student named Thomas Cobb as the candidates. Her opponent claims to be "the best man for the job" but Grace is up for the challenge to do what it takes to win. She accomplishes this by proving to her fellow students that although she may not be "the best man," she is "the best person for the job."

Element 3: Exploring Issues of Social Injustice

This informative book not only gives students an introduction to how the American electoral system works but also touches upon the important issue of the social injustice, sexism. It allows the student to see that issues of sexism are still present in today's society, as we have still yet to see a female become President for the United States.  It stresses the importance of seeing a person for the qualities they have to offer, rather than letting gender have any influence. As they explain in the book, the reason as to why Grace won the election was because the final vote felt that she was the better person qualified for the job. Grace won for all of her hard work and effort, and her gender really did not matter. This is important issue to discuss in an elementary classroom because it empowers the students to try and achieve their goal, no matter their gender. It brings awareness to student at a young age that society should not judge merely on the gender of a person but rather by which person is better qualified for the position.

Follow-Up Activity 

I personally feel that this book would be a great book to read during the month of February for President's Day. This way, the book will be relevant to the material being taught, since many teachers gear lessons towards Washington and other past presidents during this time.  A great follow-up activity to this book is having students fill out a worksheet of their own. The worksheet would be title, "If I were President…" The students will be asked to write down (a few sentences) the reasons why they feel they would make a good president. The students will then be asked to draw a picture of him or herself as President and also come up with a catchy campaign slogan that they would use as well. The overall purpose of this activity is to not only relate it to the book but to also try and have positive impact on the students self-esteem, as they talk about the positive qualities they seen within themselves as a leader, similar to how Grace Campbell felt in the story when becoming the "first female President."

More Resources for Teachers (Read Aloud Lesson Tips)

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