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, February 8, 2016


Author: Dan Manalang 
Illustrator: Nichole Wong 
Grade Level:  P-3 
Publisher: Flip Publishing

Buy Ambrosia: here and here!
For reviews, click here!
Resource for advocating respect of cultures in the classroom!

Ambrosia is a children's picture book about a coconut that suddenly appears among other fruit in the fruit section of a grocery store. None of the other fruit know what the coconut is or where it came from and are uneasy in his presence. The coconut explains that he is a fruit just like them, and goes onto explain what makes him so sweet. Once the other fruits learn about the coconut they celebrate their diversity and they encompass the book's title of an "Ambrosia" salad, better known as a fruit salad. The book is full of colorful, vivid pictures as well as fun rhymes and references to the author's Filipino culture. Ambrosia navigates the importance of diversity, appreciating other cultures and nurturing positive self-esteem  

Element #2- Respect for Others:  
Ambrosia encompasses the criteria for an Element 2 book as it explores respect for diversity and other cultures. Even before the coconut arrives amongst the fruit, there are already different types of fruit but the lack of exposure to the coconut is what sparks the curiosity of the unknown. The coconut explains to his new friends that they are all fruits, including itself, despite how different he may appear on the outside. Coconut also talks about where it comes from, and takes pride in its home country, the Philippines. When coconut is challenged by the grape for its external appearance it shows its internal contents, revealing it to be similar to other fruits but still remaining unique to the kind of fruit that it is. After coconut's lesson on what makes him a fruit just like every other fruit, they are all able to celebrate how sweet, different and special each and every fruit is. Element 2 encourages a climate of respect as shown by the very distinct take-away lesson in Ambrosia: Never judge someone/something by the color of its skin, where it came from or where it has been because what truly matters always comes from what is within.  

Use in the Classroom: 
This book can be used to facilitate a conversation about what makes friends in the classroom similar and unique (physical, personal characteristics, hobbies etc.) by use of a picture drawing, or possibly introducing the use of a venn diagram for older grades. A fun way to follow the initial activity and facilitate the theme of Ambrosia would be to bring in different prepared fruits and allow each student to make their own bowl of ambrosia/fruit salad. Some bowls will be filled with different fruits, but each bowl will be a unique ambrosia salad.  

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