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, September 23, 2014

Happy to Be Nappy
Author: Bell Hooks
Illustrator: Chris Raschka
Grade Level: K-2

If you’re in the Montclair neighborhood…
Happy to be Nappy is a sweet, simple story that celebrates 'nappy' hair. The words practically dance upon the page amongst the watercolor pictures of black girls proudly donning their ‘do’s- intricately braided, cut short, piled high up on their heads, and free flowing down their backs. They poise, curious to see each other’s festive hairstyles- eager to indulge in their individuality and rejoice with a community of friends.  With a wisp of a brushstroke, smirks and grins welcome us into the lives of girls beaming with joy and pride. These girls are “happy to be nappy hair!”  

How does this book represent Self-love and Knowledge?
Just check out this title! Each and every girl in the book radiates with self-love as they embrace the individuality of their hairstyles. More than the pride in their new ‘do, these girls celebrate the pride of their gender, culture and community.

I can’t wait to read this book in my future classroom! This book just beckons readers to playfully rejoice in their individuality and wear it proud.  One potential idea I have is that students will discover a feature of themselves that they want to celebrate. Exploring a variety of media-oil pastels, watercolor, and textures- each individual will create collages to share with the class. To foster a community of learners rejoicing in one another, I will then assign a peer to each student, and they will choose another feature about the peer celebrate in the form of an “ode” poem.    

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