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

Molly's Family

Molly’s Family
Author: Nancy Garden
Illustrator: Sharon Wooding
Grade Level: K-2

Element 5: Raising Awareness

Summary: “Open School Night” is approaching for Ms. Marston’s kindergarten class. She asks the children what are some good ideas to get prepared for that exciting evening. Crista and Luis offered to clean, Danielle wanted to make a castle, and other students including Molly drew pictures of their families. Molly put effort into her picture, and she drew her family, which consisted of “Mommy, Mama Lu, and Sam her puppy.” When Tommy and Stephen saw her picture they agreed that she couldn't have two mommies. The other students described their families, and some had a grandma, others had only one dad, however no one had two mommies or two fathers. Tommy said, “But there’s no such thing,” to Molly. When Ms. Marston found out she told Molly that it was possible to have two mommies because Molly’s family did have two mothers, and she told her there are all different kinds of families. Molly went home that day and spoke to Mommy about it, who told her that it is possible to have two mothers, and they love her very much. Mama Lu also told her that she loved her so much that she adopted her, so she is her “adopted mother.” Mommy told Molly that “Tommy doesn't know everything.” Molly still wasn't sure so she didn't bring her picture back to school the next day. Ms. Marston told her that she would really like it if she brought her picture tomorrow for the event, and Molly decided to bring her picture back, and she was happy of her family. All the different families came together for “open school night.”

Social Justice Element Five (Raising Awareness): Molly’s Family portrays raising awareness as her classmates were able to see that having two mommies does exist and is possible. The children in the kindergarten class realized that there are all different kinds of families, as other students said they have only one dad or they have a grandma in their family. The book raises awareness to children about same-sex families, such as having two mothers like Molly, and about the differences that we hold. Not only does it inform the students about having two mothers, it also involved the school and community as all the families came together for “open school night.” It is interesting how Mama Lu told Molly that she adopted her because she wanted to share the love, so students are introduced to that concept as well. Molly’s Family raises awareness and discusses the issue of having two mothers delicately and sophisticatedly, as it could be considered controversial for some.

Activity: A great activity for Molly’s Family includes doing a read aloud of the book during circle time, prior or after to introducing different cultures or backgrounds in the Social Studies text. If a teacher doesn't want to necessarily connect it to Social Studies, it can be a time to discuss the students different families, and for them to draw pictures of their own families and households. The pictures can then be displayed in the classroom for everyone to look at.

Other: Author Nancy Garden is an author and a teacher, who has many books published. She shares information about her life and achievements on her website. 

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