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 14, 2012


Author: Phillip Walton

Illustrator: Tom Oswald

Grade Level: 1-3

Buy it here! 


Summary: The story EJ and The Bully is about EJ, a student at school who is running for class president. The only problem EJ is having is his competitor and bully, Warren. Warren does not respect EJ and is always putting him down and making fun of him in front of his friends. Warren will do whatever it takes to win! EJ's old friend, Izzi, believes in him and respects him. Izzi continuously gives him great advice and EJ becomes more confident and a stronger person. Being respectful to others can go a long way! I wonder who will win class president!

Element 2: EJ and The Bully is a wonderful book that shows two friends respecting each other. Not only does it portray respect, but it also displays an awful case of bullying. Having these two sides work against each other in the story truly depicts how giving respect to others is clearly the way two people can communicate positively with one another. In the story, Izzi is always encouraging EJ to not give up and to continue to fight for what he believes in. A great quote from the story that demonstrates element two is, "If you want to earn respect, all you have to do is use good manners, be considerate, and don't threaten or hurt others."

Activity: Izzi's words of encouragement and his respect for Warren truly helped him through his struggles in this story. A great activity would be to have your students begin to complement once another. This is a sign of respect and children need lessons on this at a young age. Once they have complemented three to four of their peers, they should then start a sentence with "I respect you because...." This activity is a great way for children to have positive communication and to understand the concept of respect for others.

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