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

My Friend Isabelle

Title: My Friend Isabelle
Author: Eliza Woloson
Illustrator: Bryan Gough
Grade Level: Preschool-1st Grade or ages 2-6

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About the Author

This book is about two children that are different in many ways. Charlie and Isabelle are friends. The book talks about what makes them different from one another. Charlie realizes at the end that his mom was right and that he really enjoys having Isabelle as a friend.

Element 2 Respect for others:
Isabelle is a child with Down syndrome. Charlie does not have any learning disabilities. Charlie realizes that Isabelle is different in many ways. Some examples would be the difference in height and the way they verbalize. Charlie also realizes that they are the same in many ways such as age and they enjoy playing with the same things. Charlie's mom states, "That differences are what makes the world so great." In the end Charlie realizes that his mom was right and he really likes having Isabelle as a friend.

How would I use this book:
I would have the students observe themselves. How is everyone the same? How is everyone different? Everyone has ten fingers and ten toes. Maybe many of the children have different color hair. As I was researching this book I came across a game called "Fishy, Fishy in the sea". In this game the teacher picks three fishes (students) and asks the class what is the same. Maybe all of the children will have their hair in a pony, have blue pants, or glasses. I could open the book for discussion. I would ask questions such as what do you and your friend like doing together? What makes you and your friend different? What makes you the same? There are many other questions that could be raised. After these activities I would have the children draw a picture of their friend and their self and their favorite thing to do.

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