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.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Giant Steps to Change the World

Author: Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee

Illustrator: Sean Qualls

Grade Level: K- 5th

Buy it here!


Summary: Interesting and powerful book written in short and simple sentences. Upon opening the book, the pages before the story and at the end of the story are filled with quotes in colorful boxes said by regular people who became heroes that changed the world such as, " have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world" by Harriet Tubman also, " He who is not courageous enough to take risk will accomplish nothing in life" by Muhammad Ali and many others. It talks about people who stood for what they believed in while, constantly reminding the reader that there will be discouragements and challenges to make a change but the word impossibility does not exist, it is only an excuse not to try. It motivates the reader to plan, let their voice be heard, ask for help and that, the uniqueness of an individual and their idea is exactly what the world is waiting for. Take a stand, let the world see that you do exist and that you are truly special which follows one of my favorite sentences in the book "If you stare at a painting and do not see yourself there, paint your own portrait." Take 'a' step to become great and you will be a little closer to creating that change the world needs. The words in the book encourages all gender, race and ethnicity.

Element 4: I like that the book takes an approach of self love to assisting others and then making a change in the world. It does not directly tell you how to change the world rather, it lets you know that there will be difficulties and that it can be done, if not alone you can ask for help to attain success.

As soon as I finished reading this book, I pictured myself reading it to children at the beginning of the school year. I noticed that aside from the author's encouraging words on taking a stand for change it also talks on self-love, assisting the helpless, motivates reader to be determined and not to give up. I will read the book to the class and have students partner up sharing what change they would like to make by the end of school year, predict a scenario which can either be personal or school related.

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