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.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Ish by Peter H Reynolds

Ish is about a boy named Ramon. Ramon loves to draw and it is what he does until his brother makes fun of one of his pictures. Drawing becomes such a struggle that Ramon gives it up. It is not until his sister reaffirms him that he is able to reconnect.
What I really liked about this book was the simplicity of the language and emotion. This enables children to connect and think on different levels. While the content is probably on level for a first or second grader I think this book could be used with any age. Last semester my CT used this book in our fifth grade class as part of community building/ conflict resolution. The structure of the book allowed the students to see how what we say can effect others. It also encourages ways to think positively.
Perspective is an issue that can easily be picked up from this book. Ramon's brother and sister both look at the same picture and see different things.
The most important thing I took from the book was encouragementto be creative. In addition, when you set your mind to something anything is possible; and perfection doesn't always matter. This ability to be creative and take risks in learning is integral to academic success.
This a clip of Reynolds talking about the work he does and his take on it.
This a site created by Reynolds with some resources for helping to encourage creativity in the classroom.

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