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

Poems to Dream Together: Poemas Para Sonar Juntos

Poems to Dream Together: Poemas Para Soñar Juntos


Poems to Dream Together:Poemas Para Soñar Juntos
by Francisco X. Alarcon, Paula Barragan, Paula Barragan (Illustrator)


This book is a collection of bilingual poems. The poems are told through the perspective of a young Mexican boy. They depict childhood memories, the importance of education and peace. There is one particular poem about Cesar Chavez that describes his hopes and dreams. The pictures are vibrant and set the mood of the each poem.


The author wrote these poems in both English and Spanish because he spent part of his life in California and the rest in Mexico. I would use this book in the classroom to have an discussion on the different traditions and everyday experiences the are explained through poem. “Pregunta a Mama” discusses the daily routines of a mother. When read in Spanish there are many nuances and annotations that are lost when translated into English. I would discuss with my students the difference in saying something in your native language or in the way you would speak to your friends in English for example, and each form of speaking changes in emotion and meaning.

Activities:• Students can write about their experiences specifically those that express the ways of their culture.

• Students can write poems that in their native language or in the (less formal) way they would speak with friends or siblings.

Curricular Units:
• A unit on the Mexican Revolution.
• A poetry unit.

Social Justice Education:

1. Self-love and Acceptance: Students will learn about accepting and celebrating their own traditions.
2. Respect for Others: Students will respect the traditions of other students in the classroom.
3. Exploring Issues of Social Justice: This book discusses class, traditions,
4. Social Movements and Social Change: The Mexican Revolution.
5. Taking Social Action: Certain poems discuss how Mexican people will rise above all obstacles and become professionals as is “Para Soñar El Futuro.”

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