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, October 21, 2014

Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen

Author: Dyanne DiSalvo-Ryan
Grade Level: 3

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A young boy becomes interested in the people who live on the streets of New York City as he walks around and explores the wonderful city. The boy expresses his concerns to his Uncle Willie who volunteers at a soup kitchen in New York City and is able to take the boy along to show him how a soup kitchen works. The boy works with his Uncle and the volunteers to prepare and serve food for the homeless people of New York City. At the end of the story, the little boy expresses his feelings of reward and self-fulfillment. This book is an excellent tool to help children realize that people in our own country are struggling with obtaining food and shelter.

Element 5:
Although this book mainly talks about the struggle of obtaining food, this book also touches on homelessness and explaining (indirectly) how this effects many people in New York City. As the students take in what they have read, they will become experts on the issues of hunger and homelessness and how they can help. This book does a great job of raising awareness and showing the students exactly what happens in a soup kitchen. Through this book, the students will be able to think of a project to help their local homeless community. 

To integrate this book into the classroom, I would have the students pair up for a small activity. I would hand them a 5 senses sheet. On this sheet it would ask the students to fill out how how a soup kitchen would make them feel as the person who is volunteering at the soup kitchen. And then again how it would feel if they were a homeless person going to a soup kitchen. For example, as the volunteer; for smell, it may smell like their kitchen at home. But for the homeless person, it may smell like survival. I think it would be extremely interesting to see how creative the students get with their answers. 

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