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 28, 2011

Sister Anne's Hands

Sister Anne's Hands (Picture Puffins)
Author: Marybeth Lorbiecki
Illustrated by: K. Wendy Popp
Grade Level: Preschool -3rd grade
Publisher: Dial Books For Young Readers
Summary: This story is about Sister Anne and Anna Zabrocky. Sister Anne was an African American nun that was assigned to teach second grade class during the 1960’s. Anna Zabrocky is a student in Sister Anne’s class; she admired the teacher because she was soft spoken and made learning enjoyable. Also she has never had an African American teacher, so she was exited to be in Sister Anne’s class. One day in the classroom, a student had thrown a paper airplane with racist wordings on it. The writings states, “Roses are red, Violets are blue, don’t let Sister Anne get any black on you.” Some students giggled but Anna was very upset about the incident. The next day, Sister Anne hung pictures of people who were involved in the civil rights movements; she even showed pictures of people who were shot and bleeding. Sister Anne explained to the students that racism was bad and they should not partake in it. She continued to teach at the school even though some parents withdrew their children from her class. After a while, Sister Anne moved to Chicago to teach. The lesson Sister Anne taught made Anna Zabrocky to draw pictures of different colors on hands to symbolize unity in the world.

Element Three, Exploring Issues of Social Injustice: I chose this book for element three because it deals with the issues of racism and ways to handle it in the classroom. I like how Sister Anne handled the situation in the classroom. Sometimes, children might do something bad without knowing how it would impact others. Sister Anne, posting those pictures in the classrooms showed the students how racism can result to violence. I believe she was trying to tell them not to partake in racism because it can be dangerous.

Activity: After I finish reading this book to my students, I would do an activity that involves students drawing pictures of their hands and coloring them to the shade of their skin tone. This activity is similar to Anna Zabrocky picture at the end of the story. They would cut out the hands and each student will glue their hands to a big poster, which would be provided by me. The poster would have different shades of hands all around it. This activity will signify unity and diversity of all the students in the classroom. For my second activity, I would have students write out the features that they see in themselves including hair color, eyes, beauty marks and so on. After writing these features out, each student would read what they wrote in front of the class.

Purchase link

Author Info

Illustrator Info

White Socks Only by Evelyn Coleman

Element 3: Social Injustice

Author: Evelyn Coleman

Illustrator: Tyrone Geter

Grade Level: Grades 2-4

Buy the book here!


Summary: The book, White Socks Only, is a story told from a grandmother to her granddaughter about when there were things she could not do or places she could not go to because of the color of her skin. As a younger child, the little girl went off to town to see if she could fry an egg on the sidewalk. On her way back home after successfully frying the egg, she stopped for a drink of water on the hot summer day. Reading a sign that said “Whites Only,” she proceeded to take off her leather shoes and drink with her white socks on. Interpreting that the sign pertained to the color of her socks and not skin, she was astonished when an older white man pushed her off and began to scold her. Seeing the injustice in the angry man, an elderly black man known as the “chicken man” came to her defense when he went up to water fountain, took off his socks, and proceeded to also drink from the fountain in front of the angry white man. The actions of the brave girl and the “chicken man” helped remove the “whites only” sign from the water fountain.

Element 3 Issues of Social Injustice: White Socks Only is a great way to open up and introduce the injustice of racism to a child. Our country has had a history of racism and this book is just a small taste of what life used to be like for people of color growing up in the south.

Activity: The activity I would have my class do after reading this story is to write down different ways to compliment others in the class on cardboard paper socks. It would be a great way to have the students compliment each other, build friendships and would be a fun art project to hang up in the classroom while promoting diversity.

Follow the Drinking Gourd

Title: Follow the Drinking Gourd

Story & Pictures by: Jeanette Winter

Grade Level: Kindergarten-3rd Grade

Summary: This book tells the story about an old sailor named Peg Leg Joe, who travels from plantation to plantation in the pre-civil war South. While pretending to work under the slave masters, he teaches the slaves at each plantation a song,"Follow the Drinking Gourd". The songs lyrics are directions that, with the help from the stars, lead the slaves to a river where Peg Leg Joe awaits with a boat that carries them to begin their journey on the underground railroad. This story marks the particular journey of one family, who was going to be separated the next day, until they remember the song "Follow the Drinking Gourd".

Exploring Issues of Social Injustice: I chose this book for Social Justice Element #3, because it introduces the idea of how slaves escaped to freedom to young children, through use of the folk song, and pictures. The underground railroad made a tremendous impact on the lives of those in slavery, and this story shows how the slaves began their journey. By learning the lyrics of the song "Follow the Drinking Gourd" (which is the big dipper) the slaves were able to begin their journey to a free life. Through this story, students will learn history of slavery, and how slaves became free prior to the Civil War.

Activity: For an activity, I would like to use the actual song "Follow the Drinking Gourd", as a foundation for a map activity. Using the song lyrics, which are directions to where Peg Leg Joe awaits to carry the slaves across the river to begin their journey to freedom, I would have students create their own maps in groups on large pieces of paper. The maps will show slaves how to get to Peg Leg Joe. Students will be able to use a variety of different supplies to create their maps, and the maps will be labeled with the lyrics of the song.

Additional Teacher Resources!

If A Bus Could Talk

Author & illustrator: Faith Ringgold
Grade level: 2nd & up 

Summary: If A Bus Could Talk is a children's book that tells the story of Rosa Parks. The bold illustrations have the ability to draw children into the story along with the creative way of telling Rosa Parks' story (through a talking bus). The story starts from the day Rosa was born, so the book informs us of the racism that she endured and and how it affected her. If A Bus Could Talk teaches us of segregation, discrimination, and just in general, the way blacks were treated in the South. While the book tells us of the cruelty of her time, we learn how her courage and persistence had an impact on this country. Rosa's story continues, and we learn that she married a man that was a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and she, too became involved in making an equal life for blacks. The climax of the story is when she refuses to give up her seat for a white person and in turn, is arrested. The book is detailed and truly allows the readers to grasp who Rosa Parks was and what she stood for. Rosa Parks lived a long life and never stopped trying to make a difference. She was awarded many times for her efforts and accomplishments to achieve justice for all races.

Element 3; Exploring Issues of Social Injustice: I chose this book for this element because of the great achievements of Rosa Parks. She truly made a difference in the privileges minorities now have and she has brought segregation and racial inequality a long way. For just one person, Rosa's actions had a tremendous impact on the experiences of many people today. I think this book is great for students to begin to understand the way things used to be, and also to be inspired by Rosa Parks' determination and bravery. 

Activity: This activity would be for after the class has read the book. Similar to Jane Elliott's experiment with her students (blue eyes/brown eyes), I would give half my students a star sticker to wear for the day. The students with the star stickers would be given privileges for one whole day (line leader, paper monitor, extra time to do their favorite activity, etc.). The students without the star sticker would not have the privilege to help with any of these favorite classroom tasks. When in lines, the students without stickers would have to stand behind all the people who had them, they would not get chosen to be the paper monitor, and must arrive back at their seat while the people with stickers enjoyed their free time. On the second day, I would switch the stickers to the other half of the class. At the end of both days, I would ask that the students record in a journal words or pictures of how their particular role made them feel. After the second day, I would discuss with students the feelings they had in both situations. When the students confess how terrible they felt without any privileges for an entire day, I will invite them to continue speaking about how they notice the way people are treated because of their differences. We will discuss Rosa Parks' impact and the importance of her accomplishments. Their assignment for homework would be to write a paragraph about our in-class discussion and what impact the book had on them, if any.

Kids At Work

Kids at Work: Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child Labor

By Russell Freedman

BUY this book here

photography by Lewis Hine

Resource - To learn about the photographer click here

Click here for a brief viewing some of Lewis Hine's photos

Element 3: Exploring Issues of Social Injustice

Especially recommended for children ages 8-12, grades 4, 5 and 6.

Summary -

Your heart will be broken by this exceptional book’s photographs of children at backbreaking, often life-threatening work, and the accompanying commentary by author Russell Freedman. Photographer Lewis Hine – who himself died in poverty in 1940 – did as much, and perhaps more, than any social critic in the early part of the 20th century to expose the abuse of children, as young as three and four.

By his force of will, often by posing as a fire inspector, insurance salesman, or photographer interested only in the setting, not the workers, Hine made his way into coal mines and textile mills, farm fields and canning factories. He photographed the youngest of children doing the most tedious, physical, often incredibly dangerous work, from barefoot boys and girls clambering over looms in mind-numbing noise and heat.

Element 3: Exploring Issues of Social Injustice:

I want to say it’s an inspiring book, and in a way it is. It got me thinking about what one person can do, armed with strength of character and the courage of conviction. Lewis Hine courage to expose these injustices is the inspiration.

This is not a feel-good inspirational story, though. Its truth is painful, and although the forms may have changed, the things in humanity that permitted the captains of industry to exploit and sacrifice children are still all too real. I recommend this book highly, but not because it will make anyone feel good. I recommend it because of its searing truth, and because we owe it to these children, now long gone, to let our eyes dwell on their faces and their plight.

In class Creative Writing Assignment:

For an independent creative writing assignment, ask students to create a diary entry for a person in one of the photographs. Direct students to describe in detail the person's workday and explain his or her reasons for working and feelings about the job.

This is the Dream

Author: Diane Z. Shore and Jessica Alexander

Illustrator: James Ransome

Grade Level: 2-4

Purchase it here!

Author Information

The book, This is the Dream, shows what segregation is and how it separated black and whites in schools, lunch counters, water fountains, buses, libraries, and everyday activities in life. It gives children a friendly explanation of the racism that was occurring prior to and during the Civil Rights Movement. This is the Dream shows some prominent leaders and regular citizens that fought for "justice for all," and it allows students to see the outcome of that fight.

Element 3 Issues of Social Injustice:
This is the Dream is a story that allows children to further explore the actions of African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's. It paints an image for students to see how racism played such a large role in southern American states and how that racism changed over time. A huge theme of this book is justice for all. It is important that students understand the struggles that African Americans endured during these times and the steps that were taken to reach the outcome of equality which is portrayed towards the end of the book.

Activity: An activity that I would do after reading this story is to have students make a diversity collage of their own pictures. I would do this by asking the students to first bring in a 4x6 picture of themselves a few days prior to reading them This is the Dream. Then I would bring in a number of various magazines that the students can cut images out of. They will be given the instructions to create a collage of diversity using their own pictures and images of people from different backgrounds that they need to paste onto their own pictures. I will show them an example of one that I make of my own picture and also the ones that are in the book. They will also have to write at least one paragraph about what the important of "justice for all", and it will be attached to their collage and put on the bulletin board. The bulletin board background will be made into the United States flag and it will be titled after our book This is the Dream.
This activity will help students to see clearly how racism is cruel and it will also reinforce that the actions that were taken by various numbers of people during the Civil Rights Movement allow citizens of America today to have "justice for all."

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Story of Ruby Bridges

Author: Robert Coles
Illustrator: George Ford
Grade Level: 1st-5th
Element 3: Exploring Issues of Social Injustice
Summary: This is the story of Ruby Bridges; a young African American girl who moved to New Orleans in the 1950's during a time of racial segregation. She was the first African American girl to attend William Frantz Elementary School, an all White school. Everyday Ruby was escorted by armed US Marshals because an angry mob of White people waited for her outside of school. They did not want an African American girl to go their school with their White children. The parents took their children out of school one by one until Ruby was the only student left. But Ruby perservered and went to school everyday to learn. After some time, the White parents began to send their kids back to school because they realized that they did not have the right to deprive any child of an education for any reason. Ruby remained in the school and evenutally graduated. She made history and broke the color barrier in the public school system of New Orleans.
Element 3: Exploring Issues of Social Injustice:
This book addresses the issue of racism that used to be a prevalent part of American society. There was racial segregation in many areas of the US where blacks and whites were not allowed to use the same entrances, drink from the same water fountains, attend the same schools or sit next to each other on a bus. This book tells the story of a very brave African American girl who looked racism in the face and decided that she was not going to back down. The court system began to realize that preventing children from receiving the same education as one another was unfair, and unconstitutional. Because of her faith in God and her belief in equality, Ruby Bridges was able to withstand constant attacks from White adults and children while attending an all White school. And because of her courage, she made history by standing up to racism and helping to desegregate the public school systems of America.
Activity: I would read this book to my class and then do a follow up activity that would focus on the issue of equality. The children would make a list including their physical characteristics, gender and ethnic/religious background. The students would then compare their lists with their classmates and note the differences. We would then discuss hypothetical situations as a class. The children would be asked things like, "How would you feel if people with brown hair weren't allowed to sit with people who have blonde hair at lunch?" or "Do you think it would be fair to tell girls that they aren't allowed to play with boys during recess?" I would ask if they thought Ruby was brave for standing up to people who thought she was bad because she was different and if they would do the same as Ruby if they were ever to be in that situation. These questions would foster a discussion about equality and how it feels to be left out because of differences that cannot be helped. We would talk about how it's unfair and not right to make anyone feel bad about being different, because being different is what makes each person special.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky

Title: Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky

Author: Faith Ringgold

Illustrator: Faith Ringgold

Grade Level: K-3

Purchase Information

Additional Activities

Element 3: Exploring Issues of Social Injustice

It is the 100th anniversary of the Underground Railroad and Cassie's brother, Be Be, jumps on a train in the sky that will take him to freedom in Canada. Cassie finds herself on her own journey in which Harriet Tubman gives her advice on how to take the Underground Railroad that was built 100 years ago and how to avoid the bounty hunters she may encounter along the way. This story gives an up-close and personal look on the journeys that slaves had gone through to reach freedom in Canada.
Element 3: Exploring Issues of Social Injustice
This Underground Railroad story explores the issue of slavery and racism and the effect it had on people just like Cassie and Be Be less than 100 years ago. The oppression that African-Americans faced back then reflects how they live today by honoring those who fought for freedom and by achieving greatness today. Students will understand how it was to live in a country that thrived on slavery for so long.
A fun activity that would get the kids interested and to better understand the story would be to create their own underground railroad. Each student can pick a place, whether it is their house, a local store, a place they went on vacation, or anywhere and write ways that they could help slaves on their route to freedom. Students can create codes just like in the book, draw signs that will help to point the way north, and write an explanation on how they will help the slaves on this journey.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Grandmama's Pride

Title: Grandmama's Pride
Author: Becky Birtha
Illustrator: Colin Bootman
Grades: 2-5
Element 3: Exploring Issues of Social Injustice

To learn more about the author and her books click here

Summary: The book, Grandmama's Pride, took place in the 1950's during the time of segregation between African Americans and Whites. During the summer, six-year-old Sarah, her mother, and her sister travelled by bus to visit Grandmama, who lived down south. The book began with the family sitting in the back of the bus because Mama thought it was more "comfortable." In the south, the law stated that only white people could ride in the front of the bus, however, the little girls did not know this information. When they reached the destination, the girls noticed two different waiting rooms: only one had benches to sit. One morning Grandmama took the girls to buy material for new dresses. When Sarah's sister asked if they were taking a bus, Grandmama answered, "God gave us each two good strong legs for walking." Grandmama had too much pride to take the bus because colored people had to ride in the rear. While on their walk, Grandmama demonstrated more of her pride by not allowing the girls to drink from public water fountains. When Sarah's aunt began teaching her how to read, she began reading street signs and product names. When her little sister needed to use the bathroom, she noticed her walking towards the "White Women Only" restroom. Their mother grabbed her and brought her towards the "Colored Women Only," which had no paper or soap. This was when Sarah read the signs around her: there were four different bathrooms, two for each gender, and two different types of water fountains. Her Grandmama explained that in the south there was still segregation, meaning colored and white people utilize two separate places. When summer ended, it was time to go back home to the north. While waiting for the bus, Sarah's little sister wanted to wait in the sitting section of the waiting room, aka the "White's Only" section. However, Sarah said, "You don't want to sit on those public benches, you don't know who's been sitting there." Grandmama was surprised but proud. Back home, Sarah began reading the newspaper about colored people in the south refusing to rides buses, even in the winter, to boycott for civil rights. The next summer, Mama wanted to try something different: they sat at the front of the bus when they travelled back to the south. When they saw Grandmama, she was no longer in the standing-up waiting room but sat down. When the girls needed the bathroom, Grandmama took them to the Women's bathroom. Sarah stopped and mumbled, "But isn't this the wrong one?” Grandmama explained that the sign just said "Women,” and that those days were gone forever.

Element #3 (Exploring Issues of Social Injustice): Grandmama’s Pride is an inspiring story that opened up awareness of the inequality and racism during the 1950s. It was a symbol of oppression and class rule in the South. It also displayed the foundation for the civil rights movement. The book encourages children not to be ashamed of their skin color even if society says otherwise. The story was significant because it showed the evilness of racism, and how it should not be tolerated. Grandmama challenged racism directly, which shows children the importance of fairness. By utilizing this book, children can be taught to develop empathy by opposing discrimination, and include those who may feel excluded.

Activity: I would use this book to show that eliminating racism is possible, but it begins with their actions. After reading the story, I would have a discussion with the class about their ideas on how to change discrimination in the school. They will then each make a poster to hang around the school, which can include statistics, pictures, famous activists, ideas, movements, or anything that addresses racism or discrimination. I would then bring the students together to make a “Code of Conduct List” to hang in our classroom. As a group, we would figure out how to tackle unfairness within the classroom.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Title: Pink!
Author: Lynne Rickards
Illustrator: Margaret Chamberlain
Grade: K-1
Buy here:
Learn about additional activities:
Element 1: Self-Love and knowledge

Patrick the penguin woke up one day to find that he had turned pink. Patrick was worried about what his friends would say when they saw him. Patrick's school mates teased him for being different. Patrick was upset and decided to swim to Africa where there is pink flamingos; he wanted to find animals that were pink like him. Once Patrick was with the flamingos, he realized how different penguins and flamingos are. He decided that he needed to travel back home to be with the other penguins. Patrick realized that it's okay to be different than everyone else. He realized he just needs to be himself.

Element One: Self-love and Knowledge:
Pink! represents the element of self love and knowledge. Patrick has a big change occur to him that makes him different than everyone else. After running away, Patrick realizes it's okay to not be the same as everyone. Once he accepts that he is different and still loves himself, he realizes everyone else accepts him to. This is definitely a coming of age story.

How I would use this:
I would use this book to teach children about self acceptance and self love. I think that this is such an important lesson for individuals to learn especially at a young age. For one to love and be kind to other people, they must first love and take care of themselves. Children need to be taught that it is alright to be different and to be proud of these differences. You can also use the book to teach about prejudices. Prior to reading the book aloud I would paint my face pink for the anticipatory set. After reading the book I will have the students draw a picture of what makes them special. They will then compose a list of their best qualities. This will teach them to find the good things about themselves and they can always refer back to this project to feel proud of themselves.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What I Like About Me

Title: What I Like About Me!
Author: Allia Zobel-Nolan
Illustrator: Miki Sakamoto
Grade Level: P-3

Summary: This book was very short but it was about all the differences each child had. They each explained something unique about themselves that they liked. It has a cute rhyming element to it which I felt attracts small children. It shows a girl loving her curly hair, a boy who likes his big ears and a girl that likes her freckles. They all share their differences and turn them into a positive attribute that they like about themselves. I especially like the mirror at the end of the book.

Element One: Self-love and Knowledge:
I felt that this story although short depicts children loving themselves for who they truly are. All the differences between each other yet learning to love and appreciate things about themselves and others. At the end of the book there is a mirror that says "What is it you like best about you? This book not only helps students see other children loving themselves but also helps them to look at there own self and search for what they like such as braces, glasses, or being short.

How I would use this book:
I would read this book to my students and use the mirror as a tool to moving into a follow up activity of creating a "What I LOVE about me" wall. Each student can draw a portrait of themselves and place emphasis on something that they love about themselves. Once they are done creating their portraits I would have them place them all on the wall in our classroom. Once we are finished I would have each child share with the class what they love about themselves. Then I would have a group discussion with my students and have them share some things they admired about their fellow classmates portraits.

Everybody Cooks Rice

Title: Everybody Cooks Rice

Author: Norah Dooley

Illustrator: Peter J. Thornton

Carrie needs to find her younger brother, Anthony for dinner. She leaves her house and looks for him in the neighborhood. As she is trying to find him at different houses she learns everyone is eating rice dishes from many different cultures. She tastes rice dishes from Barbados, Puerto Rico, Vietnam, India, China, and Haiti. As she arrives home she finds her brother, and also sees her mother cooking a rice dish from Italy. Recipes for the dishes mentioned are in the back of the book.

Respect For Others-This book represents element two because it brings various cultures together and makes children realize that different cultures do have things in common. It makes children respect all the cultures. In this case everyone was using rice to make a food related to their culture. The book also pointed out what food dishes using rice were important to that specific culture. For example, Carrie eats a dish from Puerto Rico with yellow rice and pigeon peas. She was amazed when she realized the rice was yellow.

For a follow up activity, I would have the students go home and talk to their parents about their culture. I would have them find out what food dishes are important to their culture, and find a dish that had rice in it. Then I would have them write a short a paragraph on it and bring in a recipe so I could make a recipe book for the class for every student to take home.I would also like to have a “International Food Day” in my classroom with different foods from different cultures.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

It's Okay to Be Different

Author & Illustrator: Todd Parr
Grade Level: late pre-k - 2nd grade
SJE: Element 2 - Respect for others

Buy it here!
This book is also available at major book chains, such as Barnes & Noble or online at

To learn more about this book from a teacher's point of view, as well as view a lesson plan using this book, click here!

Todd Parr's It's Okay to Be Different is attractive and eye-catching to not only an adult eye but also intriguing to its target audience, children between late pre-k (4 years of age) to 2nd grade (8 years of age). Inside this book one will find several examples of ways people can differ from one another, other than your average race, gender, age, etc. examples. A fun example found is on page 14 where Todd Parr writes, "It's okay to eat macaroni and cheese in the bathtub." Although this example may seem silly, each example he gives mentions aspects of life young children are becoming aware to, such as outward appearances and family lifestyles. Overall, this book is illustrated with fun, bright colors and really tells children it is okay to be different than other people. My favorite piece of this book is that the colors and images Todd Parr uses are realistic but also relative to a cartoon; they are fun and show people with different hair color and skin color than normally seen such as blue skin or a yellow dog.

How I would use it in a classroom:
I think this book would be a great introduction to an activity such as "Star of the Week" or "Student of the Week." It teaches children that differences are okay and very normal, in fact more normal than they may be accustomed to at such young ages. A child who is adopted or is a different race than the majority of their peers will feel more at ease to discuss where they come from and who they are after reading this book. Also, this will teach children to respect the differences in others and become more understanding to lifestyles different from their own.

Element 2: Respect for others
This book fits so well into element 2 because it respects ALL differences that are seen across the board. Although a teacher may feel that showing a book about a culture different from a majority of their students will help them to respect others, it is limiting. This book covers many different differences from simple, fun likes and dislikes to more sensitive topics such as families and disabilities. Approaching certain issues may be difficult for a teacher and a group of 25-30 five year old children but this book is written directly to children and will ease his/her way into many discussions about everything from different cultures to different pets. We all have differences and learning to accept our own will in turn help to respect those differences found in others around us. This book can also be used to represent Element 1 (Self-Love and Knowledge). I believe it can be used to demonstrate this element because as I already stated, learning to love ourselves and accept our own differences can lead into respecting the differences of everyone we encounter in our lifetimes.

Filipino Friends

Title: Filipino Friends
Author: Liana Romulo
Illustrations: Corazon Dandan-Albano
Reading Level: Ages 4-8
Publisher: Tuttle Publishing (December 15, 2006

*To purchase and learn more about “Filipino Friends,” CLICK HERE!  
*For another reference and place to purchase "Filipino Friends," CLICK HERE!
 “Filipino Friends,” written by Liana Romulo and illustrated by Corazon Dandan-Albano, is an excellent book about a Filipino-American boy named Sam. On his first visit to his home country, the Philippines, the author shows the Filipino culture through Sam’s eyes. Through illustrations and text, children reading this book will gain a great deal of knowledge about the Filipino heritage and lifestyle. Included in the story are recipes, music, and various Filipino customs. Also, readers of this story will gain new vocabulary because the book contains English and Filipino translations. “Filipino Friends” gives students great background knowledge on Filipino individuals, as well as instilling a sense of pride and tradition in the Filipino culture.

Self-Love and Knowledge
This story represents my element because it is about a boy named Sam moving back from the United States to his home country, the Philippines. This book teaches the students about who Sam is and where he came from. It shows a strong sense of dignity and pride in his culture, and from this book students can learn about the positive aspects of a new culture.

How I’d use this book:
            I’d use this book as a prime example of how different cultures are. “Filipino Friends” includes various Filipino recipes, music, and translated vocabulary words for the children to learn. This book introduces students to a specific culture, and allows them to appreciate what the Philippines are about. Also, this story allows children to have respect for their culture and where they come from, wherever that may be! 

The Bicycle Man

Title: The Bicycle Man

Author: Allen Say

More Information:

SJE: Element 2: Respect for others

Grade: 3rd-4th

Summary: This story sets shortly after the Vietnamese War at a school playground. On a nice spring day, the children are getting ready for their sports day. Before they began playing, they cleaned up the playground and put on either white or red headbands to represent the teams. They played a variety of different games while the children’s parents watched and had some tea. The games were played depending on your age and grade level. The younger ones went first and when they finished, the winners would go up to the judges and get their prize. After lunch, they kept playing more games and even the parents and teachers joined in. All of a sudden, two American soldiers appear with good intentions. But, the children were scared of them because one of them was African American and the other had bright red hair which was something they were not used to seeing. It turned out that the soldier only wanted to use the bicycle. He rode the bicycle and did so many tricks on it that the children started cheering for him. At the end, the soldier won the biggest prize and both soldiers were loved and admired by everyone from the school.

Representation of Element 2: I definitely believe that this book is a great representation of how we should have respect for others. When the two soldiers first appeared, the children were scared because they had different features and were wearing uniforms. Also, because the war had just ended, the children as well as the adults were still frightened of the Americans that were still on their territory. Even though the soldiers couldn’t speak their language, they were not disrespectful and earned their respect. By the end of the story, the children realized that they were not bad people after all and just wanted to play and have fun like they were.

Activity: Teachers could use this book to teach students about different cultures. For example, in the story we see the different games the children play compared to children from the America. As part of a lesson, teachers could ask students to compare and contrast the games that were played in the story to the games they play now. Also, the children were scared of the two soldiers because they were different. Teachers can also ask students to talk or write about a time where they were scared of someone because they looked different or even thought something negative about them. Has your attitude changed since then? And if so, why and how?


Author and Illustrator: The Cheltenham Elementary School
Grade Levels: Kindergarten to first grade
SJE 2: Respect for Others

Buy Book Here
This story explores the differences and similarities of people in the world. It allows children to recognize that though students may look different, they share similar aspects. This book gives great examples and pictures to help students understand those similarities and difference. It invites them to answer and ask questions about themselves and others; encouraging them to get to know, understand, and respect them for their differences.

Social Justice Element 2: Respect for Others
This book explains what makes us different and what makes us similar. When teaching these students about being different and similar, it encourages them to respect each other for their differences. We can explore why they may be different, and how we can be similar. With our differences there can be different stereotypes used, as a class we can explore these and talk about them. Students learn about diversity and listen to each other. They gather background information about other student’s families and cultures. They will listen and ask questions as they get excited about learning information about their classmate's background. By learning about the differences of each student we do not only gain respect for them but an understanding and acceptance as well.

Teachers can use this book to explore student’s knowledge, and respect for other student’s backgrounds. In class we discussed creating an “All about Me” book or Cultural ABC Books . Students can read and create stories about their classmate’s and their background. This encourages students to grasp a deeper respect and understanding of themselves and their friends. Teachers can also use this book for students to create self portraits. This will help students not only build respect for how other students look, but confidence in their own appearance. When placing these pictures in the class students can see the diverse backgrounds. students are also able to express what makes each person different and respect the diversity in their class.

Friends From The Other Side

Author: Gloria Anzaldua

Illustrator: Consuelo Mendez

Grade Level: K-5

Buy it here:

Summary: This is a story about Prietita a young Mexican American girl who meets a Mexican boy by the name of Joaquin. Joaquin is a Mexican immigrant boy who along with his mother crossed the Rio Grande to Texas in search for a better life. Prietita stands for what she believes is write and kind by defending Joaquin from being bullied by the neighborhood kids. Prietita becomes friends with Joaquin leaving behind the differences of culture and language. She demonstrates kindness and loyalty to those who are less fortunate. She also demonstrates the important of being a friend and showing respect for others.

Element 2: This is a good book to teach students how to show respect for others. Prietita was not afraid to stand up for her new friend Joaquin who was being bullied by the neighborhood kids. Prietita and Joaquin where open to each other and did not allow the culture differences get in the way of them building a new friendship. They show respect and kindness to each other and this is an example of how we should treat other no matter if they are different or illegal.

Activity: The students could discuss different ways that they could show respect for others. Then they could write about a moment in their life when they demonstrated respect and how did it made them and the other person feel. Lastly; the students could share their experience with the class by reading their written work aloud to the classmates.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Say Hello

Title: Say Hello
Author & Illustrator: Rachel Isadora
Age Level: 3-5 year olds (P-K)
SJE: Element Two-Respect for Others
To find out more information about this text and where you can purchase this book please click on the following links:
Buy Here!
Buy Here!
To Learn More Click Here
To Learn More Click Here

Summary of Say Hello
The children's book Say Hello is a perfect book for new, young readers.  This book tells the story of a little girl traveling down different streets to visit her, Abuela Rosa.  Down each street, she says hello to different people in their native language.  She greets them with respect and acknowledges their presences as she passes them by.  The little girl says hello in all different types of languages like Arabic, French, Spanish, Italian, Hebrew, Chinese, Japanese and Swahili.  This book allows students to be aware of some of the different languages spoken around the world, the respect that each language should get and the freedom to speak that language.

How does Say Hello represent Respect for Others?
This book, Say Hello represents element two in Respect for Others, by allowing students to share their knowledge of their background and nationality but also being aware of others and where they come from.  This book definitely provides a climate in where all different backgrounds are accepted by one another.

How would I use this book?
How I can use this book in my classroom is by using technology, textbooks and other materials to look up other words that we can learn in different languages.  For example, as a class we can look up how to say the word "school" in all the different languages this book introduced us to.  What I could also do with this book is by using all the different ways to say hello, each day in class instead of using the English way to say hello to everyone the students will have to say hello in the language of that day.