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

Hannah is My Name

Hannah Is My Name by Belle Yang

Hannah Is My Name is about a young Chinese girl who emigrates with her family to the San Francisco in hopes of living a better life. Throughout the book, the family tries their best to assimilate with the neighborhood and the American culture while waiting for their green cards. Na-Li is Hannah's real name, but she goes by Hannah in America. She has to learn English in school and meet new friends. While waiting on the arrivals of their green cards, the family lives with great caution. Eventually, their green cards arrive and America is considered to be their new home.

This book touches upon history when many Chinese families were emigrating into America for better and prosperous lives. However, the story, itself, made it sound as if it was necessary for the family to adopt American culture and somewhat neglect their own culture. This may have been true in history, but, as educators, we must teach the students to be proud of their culture and to learn about various cultures. Also, the pictures were stereotypical and can be addressed in the classroom.

This book can be an introduction to personal cultures in the classroom or a way to open discussion among the students about the characters in the story.

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