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

One Hungry Child

One Hungry Child by Carol Dunitz

Summary: Every chapter in this book (there are ten) shares a different story with the reader, each with its' very own character - how they helped those in need, how they searched for help, and/or how they were then able to help others.  One chapter in particular tells of a young boy, Jovan, living in a household where food was at a minimum.  His older brothers often got into trouble with the law (and eventually went to jail for murder) because they would, essentially, kill for food.  Because of this, Jovan's mother expected him to follow the same route and while at one point in his life it looked as though he might, he eventually turned his life around with the aide of his Aunt and the Youth Enrichment Program offered by the local Boys and Girls Club.  

How I would use this in the classroom: This book is a powerful tool that can be used as a supplement (or even as a launch!) to a Social Studies and Literacy unit on personal narrative, speech writing (e.g., what would you like to see change in the world around you?), and/or activism.  Children are able to see what others have done to make a difference and this book can inspire us to do the same.         

Domains of Social Justice:
1.) Self-Love and Acceptance: Students are exposed to several characters who may be just like them - who may not have enough food, who may be living in severe conditions.  Acknowledging that such types of environment exist allows a more comfortable environment where such issues can be addressed. 
2.) Respect for Others: Just by reading this book, students are taught and then expected to be respectful of others who may not be as fortunate as they are.  
3.) Exploring Issues of Social Injustice: This book does the job. It explores ten stories of social injustice as pertaining to hungry children. 
4.) Social Movements and Social Change: Each story also tells of various people and organizations that furnished such circumstances. 

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