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, March 21, 2011

City Green

Title: City Green

Author: DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan

Grade Level: 1st-3rd grade

Summary: City Green is a story about a girl named Marcy who lives in the city. There is an abandoned building across the street from Marcy's building that eventually was knocked down by a bulldozer. Witnessing this act, Mary and her neighbors now live across the street from an empty lot that is collecting garbage as time passes. Marcy does not like this and decided she wanted to do something about it. Miss Rosa, Marcy's neighbor, helps her get together a petition to rent the vacant lot that costs one dollar. The petition was signed with plenty of names, so Marcy and a group of people from their block take a bus to city hall and rented the lot from the city that same day. Everyone in the area helped cleaned up the garbage that was in the lot. With the help of everyone, the vacant lot turned into a beautiful city garden with lots of hollyhocks, daisies, peppers, lettuce, strawberries, and even sunflowers from a neighbor who at first was against building this garden.

Element 5: This book is a an example of Element 5: Raising Awareness because Marcy got the entire neighborhood together to witness the vacant lot that was only being used to collect garbage. With the help from everyone, Marcy was raising awareness and got the vacant lot now changed into something that can be used by everyone in their neighborhood- a city garden. This book is great for children because it shows how raising awareness can make change in something. It is an excellent example on showing children how people can work together to create change.

Activity: I would use this book to teach children that they can raise awareness about something they do not like. I will explain to them that Marcy rose awareness by getting a petition together that stated she wanted the lot rented. She got many people to sign her petition and the end result was that the vacant lot that was once useless is now useful to everyone in their neighborhood. I will take the students on the grounds of the school and look for an empty spot that can be changed into something such as a school garden of flowers. I will help my students come up with a petition that says they want this spot to represent "Our School Garden." The petition will explain how each student can plant a seed to represent the students in our school. The children will go around to each classroom explaining the petition and why they want to create a school garden. After the petition is signed from students and teachers, I will take my class to the school principal and explain how we want to create a school garden on a spot where nothing is being used. As a follow up activity, I ask the students to write in their journals about something they want to raise awareness about and then have volunteers read aloud what they wrote in their journals and form a classroom discussion.

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