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, September 9, 2008

All the Colors of the Earth

All the Colors of the Earth

Book: All the Colors of the Earth
Author: Sheila Hamanaka

Age: Grade 1 +

Purchase Info: Amazon

This children’s book has magnificent oil pictures accompanied by text that describes children’s skin tones and hair using beautiful metaphors and similes.(“ … the roaring browns of bears”; “… hair like bouncy baby lambs”)
The author also metaphorically describes the elegance of love and the energy of children all over the world. (“Love is amber and ivory and ginger and sweet”)

How to incorporate in the classroom/curricular units:
This book would be great to introduce younger students to metaphors and similes. Students can create their own metaphors of their own skin color, or the texture of their hair. This would be a good book to read for younger children (grade 1-2) as part of ‘knowing yourself’ unit or a unit that is aimed at celebrating diversity.
For older children, it is possible to lead a discussion about why the author felt necessary to create a book like this. The book also includes pictures of biracial couples which is not as common in most children’s book.

Social Justice Education:
This book addresses the beginning stages of Social Justice Education.
Stage 1: Self Love and Acceptance
Stage 2: Respect for others
The book does a good job of fostering an appreciation for students of all color and race. It acknowledges are physical difference, but also celebrates the energy that all children have. Unfortunately the book does not explore more complex issues of social justice, and the book is a simply one that celebrates the human race especially children. It could be use as a introduction book that can lead to more in-depth conversations.

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