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

Moon Lady

"Moon Lady" by Amy Tan; Illustrated by Gretchen Schields

Summary: This book is about a young girl's relationship with her grandmother. After the girl expresses that she wants her wishes to come true, her grandmother tells her an old Chinese folk tale from her own childhood about the magic of the Moon Lady and her power to grant wishes.
The acclaimed author, Amy Tan, is best known as a writer of popular adult novels, namely The Joy Luck Club. This book teaches great lessons about acceptance, patience, strong family ties, and confidence. The grandmother emphasizes that wishes are secret and individual to each person. As long as you can dream, you give yourself something to work for.
Review and Classroom use: I thought this book was EXTREMELY long. While it does not have many pages, each page is at least 4 paragraphs long, and certain pages do not even have pictures. That being said, the pictures are so detailed with vibrant colors, authentically depicting the rich Chinese culture. This book is perfect to integrate Chinese culture into any reader's workshop unit or to integrate strong sense of community (in the classroom and all over the world) into a study of China. This book also promotes hard work and believing in oneself to achieve goals and dreams-- which can be a good lesson for the students when setting weekly, monthly, yearly or end of lesson/unit goals.
This would be best suited for a 3-5th grade classroom and would definitely span at least a week of read alouds. The folk tale could add a particularly interesting component to a study of China to show the students the rich family ties and long-lasting stories of the culture they are studying.

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