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.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

You're Wearing That to School?!

Author: Lynn Plourde
Illustrator: Sue Cornelison
Grade level: Preschool - 3

Summary: You’re Wearing That to School is a book about a hippo named Penelope and her friend Tiny the mouse.  Penelope was extremely excited about her first day of school, and her friend Tiny was going to help her get ready for the first day.  Penelope wanted to wear a bright rainbow outfit for her first day, but Tiny talked her into wearing something plain so that she could fit right in.  She then wanted to bring a picnic for lunch and Tiny talked her into bringing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich because it was ordinary.  Finally for show and tell Penelope wanted to bring her favorite stuffed animal that her grandma made for her.  Instead, Tiny told he to bring a rock because that is the most popular show – and – tell item.  The next day instead of Penelope doing as Tiny advised her, she did exactly what she wanted and wore the rainbow outfit, bought the picnic for lunch, and her favorite stuffed animal for show – and – tell.  Tiny was worried about her fitting in since she was so out of the ordinary.  Penelope fit right in with everyone at school because she was herself on the first day of school.

Element 1: Element 1 is known as self – knowledge and love, and this book portrays that.  Instead of Penelope listening to her friend and trying to do what everyone else does, she loved herself and accepted herself for who she was.  She was not willing to change for anyone else.  Because she continued to be herself she was able to have a great first day of school.  This book helps children get rid of any fears they have for the first day of school, and tells them to just be themselves and to love themselves.

Activity: I think this would be a great read aloud book for the first day of school.  The teacher would read the book to the students in the class and then can ask them questions about how they felt before coming to school on the first day.  The teacher could ask if they would rather be like Penelope or like Tiny.  The teacher could explain to students how to be accepting of their classmates and will also promote confidence in the students on a day that can be filled with nervousness.  

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