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.
Monday, December 1, 2014
Illustrator: Derek Anderson
Grade Level: P-3
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Ballyhoo Bay is where Mira Bella, the artist, teaches art classes every Saturday morning on the beach. She teaches to everyone who wants to learn: grandparents, children, birds, sea animals, etc. Mira Bella was planning an art fair to show off her all of her students artwork. The day before the art fair was to take place, a sign appeared about building apartments, parking garages and a casino on Ballyhoo Bay. No children or wildlife allowed! Voting for this plan was taking place that night. Every one of Mira Bella's students got upset and quiet. They all were about to head home discouraged when Mira Bella yelled, "Let's create a Plan B and save Ballyhoo Bay." Everyone banded together to make posters to protest Plan A. They all painted the things they loved about Ballyhoo Bay. After everyone had their sign (including the sea animals and birds), they made their way to Ballyhoo Hall to vote against the new building. When the builders and town council said that children, birds and sea animals could not vote, everyone declared, cried and fought that Plan B was better than Plan A! The mayor finally announced that Plan A did not get any votes and Plan B had tons. The protest was a success! Mira Bella and all of her students went home to clean up and set up for the art fair the next day. Together, they saved the day!
Element #6- Taking Social Action:
Ballyhoo Bay is about an art teacher and her students who feel passionately about having art classes on the beach every Saturday morning. When a sign is posted stating that their beach may be taken over by buildings, parking garages and casinos, they know they must stand up for their "classroom". Especially because children and wildlife are not allowed if the beach gets taken over. They believe it is their duty to fight against this plan and save Ballyhoo Bay. By making posters, heading straight to Ballyhoo Hall and voting against this plan, even when the town council says they are not allowed shows awesome social action. Ballyhoo Bay is a great book to teach children to stand up for what they believe in, no matter what.
In order to reinforce the lesson of social action presented in Ballyhoo Bay, teachers can help students create some type of protest in their own classroom, school, or entire communities. For younger students, starting small in the classroom could be as easy as changing something that is a part of the students' daily routine. Maybe on Monday, take away 10 minutes of their recess time for the week. Ask the students how having 10 less minutes to play makes them feel. During that 10 minutes in the beginning of the week, have students create posters about what they love about recess and why they want their 10 minutes back. On Thursday, have students bring their posters to recess and when the teachers call for recess to be over, have them protest to get their time back. On Friday, allow full recess time. Applaud the students for their courage to stand up for what they wanted and making a difference for their entire class. Students will now hopefully appreciate that last ten minutes of recess!