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 12, 2011

Miss. Rumphius Element five

Miss. Rumphius

Written and Illustrated by Barbara Cooney

Grades 1-5

Summary: Miss. Rumphius, written and illustrated by Barbara Cooney is an American Book Award winning book that should be a staple in every classroom. Alice Rumphius is a young girl living in America with her grandfather who is an artist. He tells her that he must do something to make the world more beautiful. Although Alice does not understand it at the time, she accepts the challenge. Once Alice is grown up, she moves away and decides to plant flowers around her beach house she is living in. By the time the next spring comes around, Miss. Rumphius is very ill. However, her flowers still bloom and she longs to plant more the next year, unfortunately she is still unable to. When she finally felt better she went for a walk and upon the hill that she had not been on in almost a year, her favorite flower that she planted around her house, lupins, were blooming all over! Miss. Rumphius discovered how she was going to make the world a more beautiful place in honor of her promise to her grandfather; she would plant lupines all over town! Years later her granddaughter listens to the stories she tells of the lupines. Miss. Rumphius carries on the tradition and tells her granddaughter that she too must do something beautiful to make the world more beautiful.

Element Five: Miss. Rumphius very easily relates to element six, taking social action. Miss. Rumphius is told from when she was a little girl that she needed to do something to make the world more beautiful. Although it took her years to figure it out, she discovered that planting flowers and helping the environment is how she was going to do this task. She not only helped the environment but did something that she loved and something that her neighborhood loved. She also passed the tradition on to her granddaughter to do something different to make the world beautiful when she becomes an adult. Helping the environment is something very important in today's world. Having our students help out and understand the concept is even more important. Miss. Rumphius did not have to do this environmentally friendly action, she chose to; and that is what we need to instill in our students heads. That doing something nice whether it be for the environment or not, should not be something you are told to do, but something you want to do.

Activity: There are numerous activities that can be created as a post lesson to reading Miss. Rumphius. to give one example, we can have the students begin with a class discussion if they or their families have ever engaged in any type of social action or movement to help the environment and what they do at home to help the environment. Once we have this discussion the teacher will distribute seeds of flowers that the students will take outside and plant in the school yard. The will be responsible for the life of this flower. When the flower is planted they will write or discuss why they think planting flowers is important for our Earth and what they plan to do in the future to continue helping our environment.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Lorax

Author: Dr. Seuss

Grade Level: 1-6

Summary: The Lorax is one of the many classic stories written by Dr. Seuss. The story begins when a young child asks the Once-Ler to tell him the story of the Lorax. The Lorax is a tree-loving creature who lives very happily surrounded by Truffula trees and various creatures such as Brown Bar-ba-loots and Humming-Fish. One day the Once-Ler moves into town and cuts down a Truffula tree and makes a Thneed. A thneed is a fine-something-that-all-people need! The Lorax confronts the Once-ler and says that he speaks for the trees and asks him to please not chop them down. The Once-ler ignores the Lorax and continues to chop down the Truffula trees and make thneeds and build a thneed factory. As the Once-ler's business expands all the creatures that once lived happily are forced to leave and the Lorax continues to explain to the Once-ler the damage he is doing. The Once-ler ignores his warning again. Eventually, all the Truffula trees are chopped down and everyone leaves except the Lorax and the Once-ler. Finally, the Lorax decides to leave and when he does he leaves behind a pile of rocks with the word "UNLESS" written on it. The Once-ler never realized what it meant until he looked at the young child that he was telling the story to. The Once-ler leaves the fate of the land in the hands of that child, giving him the last Truffula seed and encouraging him to plant it so that one day the Lorax and all the other creatures will return.

Element Five: The Lorax is a great story for element 6, raising awareness, because it focuses on the important issue of sustainability and saving the environment. While the Lorax tried very hard to make a change himself, he was unable to succeed in doing so. The ending of the story calls on a child to take the matter into his own hands and make the world they live in a better place. This story allows a teacher to show students that they are capable of making changes and taking social action, even if it is by doing something as small as planting a tree.

Activity: The Lorax is a great book to read around Earth day and there are numerous activities that can be done with the book. One simple activity is to have students, as a class, compose a list of Earth-friendly actions that they can take part in. For example, turning the water off while brushing their teeth or switching to energy-efficient light bulbs. Another activity that can be done, with permission from the school, is that students can plant a tree on the school's campus and observe its growth as the year goes on.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Social Justice How you can make a difference

Author: Lynn Bogen Sanders
Illustrator:Veronica Bianchini
Grade Level:4th and 5th Grade

Purchase the book here

Summary: In this book are motivating and inspiring stories from children engaged in social justice. They are engaged and are helping out in areas such as: human rights, people who suffered from earthquakes, and political activism. This book shows that it does not matter what age you are, if you want change you can make it happen. In the beginning of the book the author gives ways of how to get started on a project. Overall an informative book that encourages children that no matter what age you are, you can go out there and make a difference. In the book a child stated how activism isn't just a project, it's a way of life.

Element 6: This book pertains to element 6 because it shows real life examples of kids of different ages going out in the world and making a difference. In this book there are tips and strategies to help children get involved. It lays down the foundation of getting started and thinking of different areas that children can choose to get involved. For example, brainstorm problems. Also shows that any problem-doesn't matter the size-is important.

Activity: After students have finished reading the book, we will go over the steps presented in this book on how to get involved. Students may get different ideas in this book from reading other children's stories of social justice. Students will brainstorm ideas on the board of things that interest them and want to help out. When the list is done I will ask children to put their name to one that inspires them the most. If more than one student is interested in a topic, I will put those students in a group. As a class we will do the steps together. When all the steps are completed, I will ask the students to do a presentation of their topic and how they helped out. During this process I will ask students (if they can) take pictures of them during this process. At the end we will create a board that is called Social Justice-make it happen.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Unofficial Official Handbook of Good Deeds

Author: L.L. Buller and Boy Scouts of America
Illustrator: Lee 55
Grade levels: 3-5

Purchase it here
Find out more about the Boy Scouts of America

Summary: The Unofficial Official Handbook of Good Deeds is just what it claims to be, a book of more than 300 things you can do to make the world a better place. The book is not just a listing of good deeds but actually explains different things you can do to help your community. Some of the ones that stuck out to me the most were clean up your classroom, plant a tree, knit a hat or scarf for a homeless person, have a clean up party in the park, collect canned goods for a food back, meet with your principal and ask how you can help, adopt a highway, beach or park, recycle, and collect trash at school. The book explains how to go about these acts of kindness and why you should. For example, "Have a Clean-up Party in the Park" lists the different things you can do to help improve the park like planting flowers or picking up trash. The section explains how to first get permission by contact the parks department. It then explains what you will need to accomplish the various tasks such as rakes, seeds, or trash bags. Along with this, it explains why you should should clean up parks in your community by reminding students of their love for the play ground growing up.

Element six: This relates to element six because after a problem or social issue is identified, you can then use this book to help come up with ways of how to address it. Whether the issue is school involved or just something the students feel particularly passionate about this book can be used to help guide students to create change. Even if students are just looking for a way to create a positive change in their community book, this book will assist them in finding ways to go about that.

Activity: For the activity following this book, first see what the students wanted to take social action on. The issue addressed should either be prompted by the teacher for the students to come up with issues in their community or even an issue that came up during other class time that students were interested in. Once a issue is decided on, as a class go through this book observing the different options for addressing that issue. For example, if students are concerned with homelessness, knitting a hat or scarf for a homeless person or collecting mittens might be a good place to start. Theses lessons would probably be long and involved but the end result would certainly be a beneficial thing for students to get involved with. Another thing that might be a fun project with this book, would be just to have it the classroom and see how many of the deeds can be accomplished before the end of the school.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Great Kapok Tree

The Great Kapok Tree

A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest

Written and Illustrated by Lynne Cherry

Grades: 4-5

Summary: One day a young man goes into the Amazon Rain Forest and begins to chop down a Kapok tree. After working for a while he rests and soon falls asleep. While he is sleeping the animals of the forest come up to him and ask him him to stop chopping down the tree. The animals, including a boa constrictor, monkeys, many bugs, birds, a jaguar, and even a young boy of the Yanomaono tribe, all have their reasons to ask the sleeping man to stop chopping down the tree. The man wakes suddenly to find himself surrounded by all the creatures who had spoken to him. He notices their beauty and the beauty and wonderment of the forest around him. As he gets up to begin working he looks around again, dropping the axe he leaves the forest.

Element 5: This book demonstrates raising awareness through the actions of the animals. All the animals love and care about the tree and do not want the man to cut it down. Every animals gets their chance to tell the man why the tree should stay. The whole point of raising awareness is to spread the word about issues. When the man came into the forest and began to cut down the tree this presented a troubling issue for the animals who live in and depend on the tree. To raise awareness is to ask others to "look upon us all with new eyes," like the little boy asks of the man. It also shows that if you present your issue something might get done about it.

Activity: After introducing students to the idea of deforestation I would use this book to introduce the students to a way they can help save the rain forest. I would have the students explore the websites of prominent organizations that help save rain forests. such as AIRR or STARO. The students could then come up with a fundraiser to be able to make a donation or to adopt an animal who is endangered because of deforestation. ( WWF )

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Harvesting Hope

Written by: Kathleen Krull
Illustrated by: Yuyi Morales

Grades: 3-4

Summary: Harvesting Hope tells the story Cesar Chavez and how he decided to speak up and raise awareness.  He lived with his family on a ranch in Arizona and had a great childhood. When a drought hit Arizona, he and his family were forced to move and find work elsewhere.  They ended up becoming migrant farm workers and moved many times throughout California.  He saw how cruelly the landowners treated their workers.  He and his family were paid very little and were often abused or beaten.  He dropped out of school after 8th grade and continued to work full time to help his family.  During his twenties, he decided to dedicate his life to fixing this issue.  He inspired other workers to join him and told them that the truth was a much better weapon than violence, just like his mother had always taught him.  Using this philosophy, he organized a march which went on for over three hundred miles. Cesar’s perseverance and determination paid off because while on the march, he was asked to sign the first contract for farm workers in history.  He raised awareness about the negative treatment of farm workers in America and it resulted in a positive outcome.
Representation of Element 5: 
       The story shows many examples of raising awareness. Cesar felt very passionately about the negative treatment of farmers and went to others to share his feelings. People were hesitant to join him and didn't take him seriously at first, but because he felt so strongly about this, he was able to convey the importance of the issue and get others to join him, therefore raising awareness about it. As an individual, he dedicated his life to this cause and he was very calm and levelheaded, but stubborn when it was necessary.  He reached out to people one by one. These qualities allowed him to get through to people, and he put so much effort into informing others about the issue at hand by talking to them individually.  He would tell other farm workers and "outsiders" what really went on behind closed doors and expressed the importance of it being stopped. He organized meetings, encouraged nonviolent action, and put together the march. Also, the fact that he encouraged truth and nonviolent action, even though some who were on his side were using physical action to solve the problem, definitely worked in his favor.   The way Cesar carried himself and treated the situation impacted his ability to raise awareness, and he most definitely succeeded.

Use in class: I think this book it a great representation of Element 5.  As an activity, I would have the students research other historical figures that raised awareness nonviolently, like Martin Luther King, Jr. for example. The class would research a person that appealed to them the most and would write a short report about their findings, but also create a corresponding presentation. This presentation would be delivered through the character’s point of view and the students can even dress up as the person they picked. While one person is presenting, I will have the rest of the class take notes on the presentation so everyone walks away from this lesson learning something new about historical figures.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Ants in Your Pants, Worms in Your Plants!

Author: Diane deGroat
Grade Level: P-3

Summary: Gilbert’s class is working on poems about spring time. This inspired their teacher to take the class on a picnic. When they got to the picnic area they saw trees have been cut down and there was garbage everywhere. The class decided to clean up the area and continue with their picnic. Their teacher explained how great it was to clean up the area and asks the children to start projects that would help the environment for Earth Day. Gilbert was having trouble thinking of an idea until he sat under his favorite tree and a great idea came to him. He decided to plant a tree at their picnic area to replace the one that had been chopped down, he also explained the benefits trees provide for the environment.

Element 5: This book pertains to element 5 because it raises awareness about pollution and will teach children ways to take care of the environment. They will be more aware of why littering is bad for the environment and notice how it can ruin outdoor activities such as picnics. This could inspire students to clean up around their school and community. Not only would they become more aware about the issue of pollution but they would make their families and community members aware as well.

Activity: I would read this book to my students in the beginning of the school year. The first part of the activity would be to discuss ideas to help the environment. Then each student would make their own list of ways to help the environment and we can implement these ideas into our classroom as well as sharing them with student’s families and communities. The second part of the activity would be to plant our own class tree. By conducting this activity at the beginning of the school year the children will be able to watch their tree grow as the year continues. There can also be a new student monitor every month to measure the tree and record how much it has grown.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Don't Throw that Away

Author: Lara Bergen
Illustrator: Betsy Snyder
Grade Level: P-1
Buy it here


“Don’t throw that away” by Lara Bergen, is about a little super hero girl who shows children how to reuse their trash to make other treasures with them. Instead of discarding old toys, cans, clothes, bottles etc, she gives children suggestions of how you can reuse those objects to make brand new and exciting things to play with and be environmentally friendly at the same time. The little girl gives kids ideas of turning an old jar into a vase or cans into musical instruments and much more.

Element # 5:

This book raises awareness to children on how important it is to be environmentally conscious. It is a beginner’s book in learning about our environment and the impact recycling has on it. It provides excellent examples on how we can make our everyday life more environmentally friendly by recycling and reusing our things. It gives children an opportunity to think and figure out ways of reusing their material things such as turning old clothes into costumes, boxes into cars and turning plastic jugs into bird feeders. The book gives a whole different perspective to children about things that they take for granted and how they can be creative with reusing their things. It is an opportunity for them to learn that they can make a difference.


A great activity that can be used in class (or at home) based on this book is to give an opportunity to children to find objects in the classroom (or home) that they can reuse in some way. Have them explain to classmates what their object is and what creative ideas they came up with in order to reuse and recycle this object.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sit In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down

Author: Andrea Davis Pinkney
Illustrator: Brian Pinkney
Grade Level: 3rd

Summary: Four friends sat down at the Woolworth's lunch counter on February 1st, 1960, hungry for a doughnut and coffee. Everyone else was served and they were ignored. The sign on the door said, "WHITES ONLY," and David, Joseph, Franklin, and Ezell were not white: they were African-American. The men came back every day, each day as peaceful as the day before, and everyday they stayed hungry. The four men inspired sit-ins across the country until thousands of hungry African-Americans were using Dr. Martin Luther King's peaceful ways as inspiration. Find out how everyday people used peace and perseverance to satisfy an entire culture's appetite!

Element 4: Sit In relates to Social Movements and Social Change because it tells the true story of everyday people acting against social injustice. While Dr. Martin Luther King provides inspiration to the people, the book highlights how it was students who took social action. Also, the book stresses the importance of peaceful demonstrations rather than violence. It shows how sitting, normally seen as a passive activity, can be more aggressive and effective than any punch, insult, or weapon.

Activity: Because the book has a running theme of food, ingredients, and recipes, I would have the students made their own recipe for an injustice they would like the change. Students can model their recipes from the one on the last page of the story. Ideas might range from ending bullying, treating others with respect, and embracing other cultures. More ambitious topics might be legalizing gay marriage or changing immigration laws. Students will come up with 8-10 steps for their "recipe," decorate, and display!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Title: March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the Word
Author: Christine King Farris
Illustrated by: London Ladd
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc
Reading Level: ages 9-12

Summary: This book, written by Martin Luther King Jr.'s very own sister Christine King Farris, illuminates his infamous march and movement that changed our country forever. Farris highlights Martin's upbringing and how that had an affect on his modest personality. She describes, in detail, how his march began and progressed as individuals of all creeds, races, and backgrounds from around the country came together to follow Dr. King's movement. She describes how Martin put his all into his speeches and was well aware of how crucial his words were in order to get the right message across to his listeners. Farris touches on Martin's efforts to connect with other leaders that shared his same passion for civil rights. The illustrations and powerful words, including actual dialogue that occurred the day of the march. create a realistic image of what actually took place on that day, the day Martin Luther King Jr. made his infamous "I Have a Dream" speech.

Element Four: The story of Martin Luther King Jr. is the perfect example of element four: social movements and social change. This particular individual envisioned a dream that, at the time, seemed impossible to accomplish. However, with his courageous attitude he set out to start a movement that would change American's lives forever. He was one man with a large dream; he set out to address an issue of social injustice by uniting a group of people to create change. He inspired a countless number of Americans to join the civil rights movement by organizing a march and delivering a speech, that would eventually become one of the most famous speeches ever heard.

Activity: This story would be most appropriately read during black history month, or specifically on Martin Luther King Jr day. This story is a great way to inspire children to make their own change in our society. After a read aloud of this story, students (ages 9-12) will write a reaction piece as two why and how Dr. King made a social change in America. Questions that could be addressed could involve, but are not limited to, if you were alive during the civil rights movement would you have been an activist of the movement? How would you have been involved and what would have inspired you the most to do so? Do you think you would have been a social-change icon like Martin was or would you be a supporter (marcher) of the movement? Why?

Daddy's Roommate

Title: Daddy's Roommate
Author: Michael Willhoite
Illustrated by: Michael Willhoite
Reading level: Ages 4-8 / Grades K-3
Publisher: Alyson Publications

· Purchase Daddy's Roommate Online NOW!

Click here to learn about a sequel to this book!

Summary: Daddy's Roommate is a book about a little boy whose parents recently got a divorce. He lives at both of his parent's houses, and goes back and forth between the two. His father has a roommate named "Frank," and Frank and his father are a gay couple. Throughout the story, we see Frank and his Dad doing almost everything together, for example, eating, shaving, and sleeping. The little boy also explains how Frank is just like his Daddy; he reads to him, tells him jokes, and chases nightmares away. This book has an important message that "Being gay is just one more kind of love, and love is the best kind of happiness." I found this message to be very powerful because it teaches young children that it should not matter who we love, it is being able to experience love that matters.

Element #3: I found this book to represent Element 3 because the overall topic is about a homosexual relationship and how it has impacted a young boy's life. This story gives students a chance to learn about the different types of family structures, and about homosexual relationships. This is a great example of how we are all different from one another, and it is important to recognize those differences in the classroom. This gives students an opportunity to relate if they usually find it hard to relate to the standard story characters. Daddy's Roommate introduces a diverse family structure. Gay relationships has been a topic that was overlooked and frowned upon for many years in our society. We have taken small steps recently to help create change and allow for homosexuals to be able to live as fearless and equal individuals. Students will learn that there is nothing wrong with being gay, it is just "one more kind of love."

Follow-Up Activity:
For a follow-up activity I would have the students create their own picture book of what their family unit's are like and the activities that they all do together. We can share and discuss them in our classroom. They could be displayed on a bulletin board or around the room and students will have the opportunity to walk around and observe their classmate's drawings.

This lesson is also creative and is what inspired me to think of this.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Susan B. Anthony: Fighter for Freedom and Equality

Author: Suzanne Slade
Illustrator: Craig Orback
Grade Level: 2nd - 3rd


Susan B. Anthony is the focus of the biography titled “Susan B. Anthony Fighter for Freedom and Equality”. She is a historical figure that is famous for her work within the women’s rights movement. Susan was raised in a Quaker family which believed in equality and the right to an education for all. As a young girl Susan experienced inequality inside the classroom. This experience, combined with Susan’s passion for learning inspired her to become a teacher. As a working adult, Susan continued to experience inequality and discrimination. For example, a man was paid four times the amount she was paid for doing the same job. After continuous experience with discrimination, Susan B. Anthony decided to become active in the fight against discrimination. The first movement that she joined was the Temperence Movement, which sought to reduce the use of alcohol because of its negative effects on society and women. Elizabeth Cady Stanton helped propel Susan B. Anthony to the front of the women’s movement. They met in 1851 and shared similar beliefs. Elizabeth would write many of Susan’s speeches, which Susan used as a way to communicate the issues created by inequality in America. Susan’s efforts against inequality continued through the Civil War. Susan was able get 400,000 signatures on a petition during the Civil War, which helped create support for the 13th Amendment, leading to the emancipation of slaves. After the Civil War, Susan B. Anthony continued her fight against inequality, this time focusing on women’s rights. Susan would give about 200 speeches per year. Susan and Elizabeth started a newspaper called The Revolution, which was used as a means to communicate ideas that supported equality for men and women, including granting women the right to vote. As a result of Susan’s efforts, mainstream Americans began to focus more attention on the issue of inequality in America. She can be given credit for paving the way to equality for women and African-Americans.

Element Four: Social Movements and Social Change

The book “Susan B. Anthony Fighter for Freedom and Equality” is a wonderful picture book that addresses the issue of social injustice. It gives a background to the issues created by inequality in America, including sex and race discrimination. This book teaches students that regular people can create change within the world around them. Susan B. Anthony experienced inequality and decided to take action to create social change. Susan’s life provides an example of how to stand up against social injustice. It gives hope and inspiration to common people, thus inspiring a belief that they too can stand up for their rights and fight for equality.


After our Susan B. Anthony read-a-loud, the students would write in their journals to express their feelings toward our reading. Once the students are done writing, I would have them do a “think-pair-share” discussion on their thoughts, feelings, and what they have learned from the reading. As the students are discussing I would walk around and observe the students thoughts.

Dreams: The Story of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Author: Peter Murray
Illustrated By: Robin Lawrie
Grade Level: K-3

Buy it Here!

Dreams:The Story of Martin Luther King, Jr. was about his life leading up until his famous “I have a Dream” speech in 1963. As a child Martin Luther King experienced quite a few moments of segregation. In the book, he recalls one particular time when two of his white friends told him they were not allowed to play with him anymore because he was black. He was forced to give up seats on the bus and even in a shoe store because those seats were reserved for “whites only”. His father was a reverend and Martin Luther King Jr. admired him and what he stood for. One of the most important things he learned from his father was the phrase “You can’t be afraid of doing what’s right.” So when he got to college he decided he wanted to become a minister. Eventually King got married to Coretta Scott, and he decided he wanted to live in the south, despite the Jim Crow Laws that were in effect there. He soon moved there with his wife and became a pastor in Alabama where he preached his thoughts on the unfairness of the Jim Crow Laws. During this time, Rosa Parks took her stand against the buses and King was right there to help her out . In 1955, he helped set up the boycott of the Montgomery bus company in which he gained a lot of fame. Even though he was arrested for the boycott he was able to get rid of segregation on the bus, which was a major civil rights victory in his eyes. Before he knew it, King had become a Civil Rights Leader of America. This all led up to his famous speech in 1963, in which he proclaimed his wishes for an equal society where everyone is treated the same and segregation does not exist and everyone is free. Unfortunately in 1968, King was killed outside a hotel, but his famous speech and civil rights movement will live on forever.

Element 4:
This book relates to Element 4 because it is about one man's journey to create the Civil Rights Movement. Martin Luther King, Jr. took social injustice to a whole new level when he stood up for what he believed in and ultimately died for it in the end, which is what this element represents. Through sit ins, boycotts, civil rights marches and his famous speech he took a stand for the social injustice that was occuring at the time.

Activity: An activity that could be done using this book in a classroom, is to have the children each right their own personal “I have a dream” speech about something that they hope will change in their lifetime. Children will be able to think as if they were Martin Luther King Jr. and write about something they believe strongly about that should be changed in some way or another. In helping them think of ideas to write about, teachers should ask them questions such as "Why is that so important to you?" , or "How will that change the world we live in?"

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass
 Author: Catherine A. Welch 
Illustrations: Lerner Publications Company
Grade Levels: Kindergarten-Grade 2

Summary: This biography is written about Frederick Douglass. He was an African American man who escaped slavery. His encouraging speeches led other men, women, and children to freedom. This book encompasses the horrors of slavery and the pain Douglass had to endure during early 1800's. Fredrick's life is exposed and illustrates his dream of freedom, literacy, and rights for all including women. He was a passionate leader and speaker who involved himself with President Lincoln to create equal rights for blacks. A violinist, author, father, and husband, Fredrick Douglass finally helped free the slaves and assisted in making the country a better place.  

Element 4: Frederick Douglass started his life as an average slave. Determined to abolish slavery, Frederick understood the wrongs done to him and African Americans through real life experience and reading literature about freedom. Douglass believed it was worth risking his life to speak on behalf of others who could not. Little by little, Frederick Douglass proved that black men and women were just as smart as white people. This book is a true example illustrating by putting effort towards the better good, positive impacts on society may be made. By recognizing that there were crimes committed against humanity and taking action with others, Frederick Douglass made a severe impact on the equality of man. This demonstrates societal movement and change and is well represented in Frederick Douglass by Catherine A. Welch.

Activity: For school aged children, a great activity would be to have each child speak about a positive point from their own heritage. The children could make a poster to hang in the classroom on the topic of their choice. This way, the students can see that everyone is special in their own ways and that each child should be proud of who they are. Then they can do a follow up research on a man, woman, boy, or girl from their cultural or ethnic background who did something, big or small, and have a group discussion of their findings.


Author: Nikki Giovanni
Illustrator: Bryan Collier


Grade level: 3-5

Summary: This book is a wonderful picture book. Rosa Parks is
the lead character, it tells her story about how she stood up for herself on the bus when she was sitting in the neutral sits. It displays her courage especially when she was getting yelled at by the bus driver. She was sick and tired of being treated poorly because of her color. In the book she talks about being tired of "colored" entrances and "colored" drinking fountains. Most of all she was tired of not being treated equal. Rosa got arrested after not moving from her seat that is when the people she knew in her town created posters saying "No riders today support Mrs. Parks stay off the bus, walk on Monday." At the end Martin Luther King spoke, people from all over the country came to see. On November 13,1956 segregation became illegal.

Element 4: This element is all about people coming together to address the issues of social injustice. This book represents element 4 because it shows how ordinary people can create change in the world. Rosa Parks is an example of how one extraordinary person in this world went down in history because she stood up for what was right.

Acitivity: An activity that you can do after reading this book is at the end of the book there is a quote. " The integrity, the dignity, the quiet strength of Rosa Parks turned her no into a yes for change." You can ask your students what they think is the meaning of this quote. You can also ask them if they agree with it. They can work together or individually or even have them have a journal and ask them to write their opinion of that quote on paper.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Boy with Pink Hair

Author: Perez Hilton
Illustrator: Jen Hill
Grade Level: K-2

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Summary: The Boy with Pink Hair is a story about a little boy who is born with pink hair. No one could figure out exactly why his hair was pink even after doing numerous tests. Eventually, it was stated that he was simply born that way. The boy with pink hair never seemed to mind that he had pink hair until he went out in public and people would stare, laugh, and make rude comments. Fortunately, the boy's parents explained to him that it was a good thing to be different and it would end up helping him make a difference in the future. One day, it was time for the boy to start elementary school, he was not worried until he actually got to school and the kids made fun of him. Especially one little boy who would call him a "weirdo" for having pink hair. The boy with pink hair felt sad and lonely when this happened, but shortly after that he made a friend who said her favorite color was pink! He became quick friends with the little girl and would cook her all types of pink foods, the boy with pink hair loved to cook and was very good at it. When it was the little boy's open house at school, he got his moment to shine. The stove had broken and the principal asked the boy with pink hair to save the day and make food for everyone. The boy with pink hair made lots of different types of food very quickly and without using a stove and had all his friends help him, even ones that had not been so nice to him in the past. Later, that day the little boy met one of his friend's parents who asked if he could have some of the little boy with pink hair's recipes for his restaurant! In the end the boy with pink hair realized that he could be different and make a big difference just like his parents had said.

Element 2: The Boy with the Pink Hair relates to element two because it shows the other students that no matter what the little boy looks like he is no different than the rest of them. Specifically, the one little boy who was very mean to the boy with pink hair learns to respect him and they become friends.

Activity: A teacher can use this book to bring the students' attention to bullying and explain that it is okay to be different and it is important to respect one another. Also, after having a meaningful discussion like that, the teacher can have the children create some type of pink food on their own just like the boy with pink hair did in the story. For example, with parents permission of course, children could work together to make pink cupcakes or pink ice cream!