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.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Curious Garden

Title: The Curious Garden
Author: Peter Brown
Illustrator: Patti Ann Harris
Grade Level: 2nd-3rd grade

*To purchase this book or find out more information: click here*

Social Justice Element 5: Raising Awareness

Short Summary: In this novel we meet a young boy by the name of Liam. Liam lives in a town where everyone is always inside.There is no beauty to be seen anywhere until one day when Liam stumbles across a patch of flowers that has started to grow. Liam is amazed and starts to take care of the plants. As time goes on, Liam's garden takes over the city. People begin to notice the garden and eventually start helping take care of it as well. It just goes to show that you never know how big of an impact your actions have on other people.

Social Justice Element 5: Raising Awareness- This book shows how one boy raises awareness in his community just by setting an example. He doesn't use words or hold a protest, he simply is the change that he wants to see in the world. One person is all it takes to make the world better.

Activity: An activity that teachers can do with their students would be creating a list of small ways they can impact the world. For example, it only takes one person to... turn off the lights when you aren't using them, using reusable water bottles, and other ideas that the students come up with. When you do this activity have the students look up facts about how many plastic water bottles the average person uses or how much electricity is wasted simply because people leave the lights on when they leave a room. The facts will surprise the students and they will know that they are helping out the world by reducing those numbers.

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