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
Title: Little Humans
Author: Brandon Stanton
Grade Level: P-1 (ages 2-6)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Related Lesson Plans
Summary: Little Humans is a picture book containing captivating images of a diverse range of children. The pictures are taken by the book's author, Brandon Stanton, creator of the best-selling blog and book, Humans of New York. Each page simply has a few words and a picture of a child or children. The children in the pictures come from a range of diverse backgrounds. The text underneath each picture provides a quick glance into the lives of the children in the photo, and what makes them different. Stanton notes that some children are tall, short, tough, and some children can bend and twirl. Although his words are simple, Stanton conveys the critical message that diversity should be valued.
Element 2: Respect for Others
Little Humans highlights the differences in every child and how they make them who they are. However, it successfully gives children readers a chance to relate to the children in the photos as they are doing everyday things. Stanton is subtle in his book, never outwardly mentioning the word "different". This omission allows readers to view diversity as a natural construct with which they can empathize. This book has the power to generate thoughts where students see similarities in their differences.
Classroom Use: Teachers can use Little Humans as an introductory read-aloud before delving into an "All About Me" exercise where students share and discover each other's unique characters. After (or during) the story, students can describe how they relate to the children in the book. Teachers can also ask the students to explain ways in which they were different from the children in the book. The value of this book lies in the fact that there are no "loaded words" suggesting readers to think one thing or another. It is an organic display of diversity that allows students to formulate their own opinions.