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.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

And Tango Makes Three

Authors: Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

Ages: 4-8

This picture book tells the true story Roy and Silo, two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo. Roy and Silo do everything together, just like the other penguin couples. One day, however, Roy and Silo realize that the boy and girl penguin couples can do something that they cannot - have babies. Roy and Silo try sitting on a rock the way the other penguins sit on their eggs, but no baby penguin hatches. Finally, Mr. Gramzay, a zoo worker, finds an egg that needs a home and places is it in Roy and Silo's nest. Roy and Silo sit on the egg, keeping it warm until little Tango hatches. The three become a family and continue to live happily together in the zoo.

Element 1: Self-love and Knowledge
This book is great for exploring element one, self-love and knowledge, because it introduces children to the idea that there are many types of families in the world and that each is special. Roy and Silo are an example of a family with two fathers. The zoo setting allows for the different animal groups to stand in for families of different cultural and racial backgrounds. Children are able to see that not only are there families within the different animal groups, but there are can be different types of family structures (two daddies, two mommies, single parents, foster parents) within a group. Children can use this as a jumping off point to explore the how their own families are unique.

Classroom Activity:
After reading this book, students can make a family member chart. You can either use a blank graphic organizer ( or have students create their own charts by drawing a circle for each family member. Inside the circles, have students write the name of each family member accompanied by a drawing. Then, on the lines connecting the circles, they can write the relationship between members. On the back of the chart, students can list activities they do with their families, just like Roy and Silo in the book.

Lesson Plans:

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1 comment:

  1. This book is the most adorable and heartwarming thing I've ever seen. I'm serious - my heart is literally warmer having read this. What else can I say? The world is truly a better place for having this book in people's homes.

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