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 14, 2011

The Day of Ahmed's Secret

Author: Florence Parry Heide & Judith Heide Gilliland
Illustrator: Ted Lewin
Grade Level: 4-5grade
Summary: This story begins with a boy named Ahmed telling us he has a secret to share with his family. But before he can do that, he must first carry on his job. We follow Ahmed as he rides his donkey cart throughtout the city of Cairo, deliverring fuel tanks across the city. Ahmed describes While working, Ahmed travels down alleyways filled with merchants' stalls and buildings a thousand years old. He is reminded of the stories told by his father about the city and thousand year old buildings. He also thinks about growing stronger to help out his family. Finally, once Ahmed's job is done, he returns home and shows his parents his secret. Ahmed thinks about his secret and how it will last as old as the thousand year old buildings.
Element 2: This is a great way to show diversity for it reveals the life-style of a boy in Cairo. This book follows Ahmed throughtout his day and it shows us how he is part of his community. It allows children to learn and understand that everyone comes from a different background but we all have some similarities between one another.
Activity: Teachers could use this book to introduce multicultural awareness and cultural backgrounds as well. One lesson plan that could be used for this book could be to have students read aloud since it involves predictions and some complex vocabulary. Students could be asked question throughout the story so they can take educated guesses to where the story could take shape. Then students could be asked to compare and contrast their lives with Ahmed's life. They would be asked to find any similarities between Ahmed and each student.

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