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.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


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

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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.

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