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

Am I a Color Too?

Am I a Color Too? By Heidi Cole and Nancy Vogl

I am a Human Being,
Not a color, not a word.
I have my hopes and dreams
And a voice that will be heard.

To find out more about this book visit the official website.
Buy "Am I a Color Too?" here.

In this story, a young boy grapples with his identity. He hears people say that his father is Black and his mother is White. He wonders, "Am I a color too?" Throughout the book, this young man thinks about the people he sees everyday and their colors. He comes to realize that he is not a color, but a person named Tyler. In the end, Tyler understands that people aren't words, they are individuals who have similarities and differences.

I very much enjoyed reading this book. Not only is the story one that children who are racially mixed can identify with, but the illustrations alone are reason enough to read "Am I a Color Too?" The beautiful, realistic drawings represent diverse ethnicities. The book's rhyming pattern makes it an appropriate read aloud book for children as young as 4 or 5. "Am I a Color Too?" could be used as a point of reference for an "All About Me" unit. It serves as a way to learn about children who are diverse in their ethnicity.

Within the domains of social justice, this book mainly touches upon the first two stages of "Self-Love and Acceptance" and "Respect for Others." Tyler learns to love himself for who he is and doesn't get caught up with identifying himself as a particular color or word. The people that he sees are of diverse races and he accepts them for and celebrates their similarities and differences. The third stage of "Exploring Issues of Social Justice" is subtly addressed within one page of the book. An illustration shows Tyler sitting under a table that is flooded with boxes labeled "Mixed", "Other", "Mulatto", "Bi-Racial", "White", "Black", and "Human Being". Students can explore the meanings of the these words and their affect on people's feelings.

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