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 30, 2014

Thank You, World

Written by Alice B. McGinty and Illustrated by Wendy Anderson.
For ages 3-7
Find out more about the author click here
Related Lesson plans click here 
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SUMMARY: This wonderfully illustrated bookThank You World, by Alice B. McGinty, shows our world and all the simple wonders it has to offer. Each page says 'Thank You' to the world for various beauties such as the sky, the sun, and the grass. Each page shows 8 different children from 8 different countries looking up at the same sky, feeling the same grass. One page writes, "Thank you, grass, for softening my footsteps. I'm dancing with the breeze." Then each page shows four different pictures of children in different countries enjoying the grass and playing... sharing the same simple beauty of the Earth!
This book is a great read for preschool through 2nd grade. With the older students, they can explore the meaning of the text and it's illustrations. This can open a discussion and show children that we are more similar to each other than we are different… we enjoy the same activities like playing in the grass and flying kites, no matter where we live on Earth. Kids from around the world are just like me and you!

ELEMENT 2: This book highlights element 2 because the illustrations show many different cultures experience the same simple joy the earth and what nature has to offer. This can be a wonderful picture book for preschool teachers. Teachers can point out that these children from different countries like playing the same games we do! With the older grades we can discuss with our students what makes us similar to those who live far away, or to those who are of a different culture than ourselves. We discuss what makes us different! We may be different in many beautiful ways, like in what we eat and in what we wear, but as the book shows we all look up at the same sky, enjoy the same rain, and share more similarities than differences.  

ACTIVITY: This book can be a wonderful conversation starter to a unit observing other cultures and linking them to our own. Preschool students can do an art activity with mixing their own unique colors. Hands can be placed in their unique colors and can be placed on a large banner sheet. Together the class makes a banner cover in their unique handprints. The are all different yet similar to each other because each is a hand that is the same as all the others.  Older students can observe the illustrations and pick one culture they would like research more about. Students can research ways in which children in that particular culture learn, play and spend their time. They can show each other in a class report telling how our culture is similar to other cultures, as well as sharing the differences we may share. 

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