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

Miriam's Cup

Miriam's Cup

Miriam's Cup
By Fran Manushkin

This story is about Miriam who was a prophet and the sister of Moses. The story beings in the Pinsky household where they are getting ready to celebrate the Jewish holiday Passover. Miriam(named after the prophet) is jealous that her brother Elijah gets his own special cup and wants one of her own. Her mother then presents her with a gift, but tells her that she can't open it until she tells her a story about why she has her name. Miriam's mother then goes into the story as to why Miriam is so important to the story of passover and to the history of Jewish people. At the end of the story Miriam opens the gift that her mother had given her, and sees that it is her very own special cup, Miriam's Cup.
In the classroom I would use it a couple of different ways. The first way that I would use this in the classroom is to do a read a loud with the students. Since this book focuses on a specific Jewish holiday, I would read it closer to that time. Otherwise, I feel that it would loose its significance. The other way that I would use this book in the classroom is to do a social studies lesson with the students. Even if there are not any students in the class that are Jewish, I still think that it is important that the students understand the story of Passover. The book gives an extensive history as to what the story of Passover was, and it would be easy for students in the younger grades to understand.
Reading the book, I found that it showed three different levels of Social Justice. The first aspect of Social Justice that it touched upon was Self-Love and Acceptance. I think that students that are Jewish and read this book or have this book read to them, will feel a sense of accomplishment because of what Miriam did for them. The second level of Social Justice that this book presents is Respect for Others. Because of the way that Moses fought for the Jews to be respected, it will cause the students to think about how they treat other people. The last one was, Exploring Issues of Social Justice. The book talks about how Moses fought for the rights of the Jews, and what he did until he got what he wanted.

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