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.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

We Can Get Along
Written by: Lauren Murphy Payne, M.S.W
Illustrations by: Claudia Rohling, M.S.W 
2nd Element of Social Justice: Respect for Others

In "We Can Get Along," Payne shows contrast in which children are able to cooperatively play and work together versus when children are belittling one another with their words or actions. In showing the differences between the ability for children to get along the author incorporates the feelings that come along with cooperative play and segregated play.  These feelings vary from happy to hatred. Payne emphasizes that children have total control over their action and words, thus they can control how they can treat others. Ultimately, children learn that it is normal to be and to find others as different (i.e. appearances or interests), yet children still possess the ability to show respect for their peers' differences. By the conclusion of "We Can Get Along,"children learn the benefits of showing and treating other children with respect.

In "We Can Get Along," Payne shows that having respect for others is looking pass the physical appearance of a person. She shows that having respect for others is showing appreciation to others who have different interest than you, but still have the courteous to listen and learn about that particular interest. The illustrations throughout the book illuminates that respecting others is learning and involving yourself into different cultural activities.  On page twenty-seven it shows that children from different ethnicities can sing in unity at "1st grade Multicultural Music Fest". The books shows that having respect for others start with having self-awareness of the self first.

"We Can Get Along" is a perfect book for children of second and third grade to read in groups. I think breaking children into unfamiliar groups and having them read the story to each other would be beneficial to them. After reading the book, children can discuss cultural or societal differences that they experienced or interpreted throughout their time period in class with one another. 


Reading Level Grades 2-3
Interest Level Ages 3-8

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