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, April 16, 2014

Lets talk about race

Author: Julius Lester 
Illustrator: Karen Barbour 
grade level: 2-4  

"Lets talk about race" Offers the message that everyone is unique in their own way. The story begins with informing that everyone has a different background, but yet all individuals similarly have a story. The book is a simple story line that shares that all individuals are a story. Julius Lester says, "I write because our lives are stories. If enough of these stories are told, then perhaps we will begin to see that our lives are the same story. The book "Lets talk about Race" celebrates all races and diverse culture. 

Element 5 
This book touches upon race awareness. This book introduces race as one part of an individual's story. This a great book for element 5 social awareness to help children understand and become aware of race and that everyone is the same inside, the differences are in the details of our own stories. No one is better than anyone else based on their differences. It allows children to explore their own thoughts about race and what makes them unique. It is a thoughtful book with compelling pictures and layered illustrations that encourage reader to linger on each page. This would be great book to start a discussion about race and judging people based on their skin color, hair, clothes, etc.

As an activity I would have my students create a  book as a class each student would write about their own stories and answer questions asked in the book What’s your name, When were you born, Where were you born, Where do you live, What do you like, What don’t you like. They will then draw themselves with their answers. i will integrate this into a math lesson by graphing some of the answers, like eye color, or get out the art supplies and let students make cool representations of themselves. If your students can “identify the main purpose of a text, including what the author wants to answer, explain, or describe”, you’ll hit the Common Core State Standard of Craft and Structure using a book with a truly worthwhile main purpose.

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