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 30, 2013

A Life Like Mine--How Children Live Around the World -- Element 2

Title: “A Life Like Mine: How Children Live Around the World”

Author: Dorling Kindersley, in association with UNICEF

Illustrator: Real photographs are used

Appropriate for: Children 9 and up, but adaptable for any grade level

Link to Purchase: Buy it here and here 

Resources: click here

Short summary: A Life Like Mine is a wonderful book for children ages 9 and up. In the book, we meet several children from around the world. We see what their everyday lives are like, where they live, what their routines are, etc. It talks about the necessities of life like food, water, shelter, and what all children need to survive and be happy in this world, regardless of whether they are lucky enough to have access to it. Most importantly, the book conveys this in a way which is appropriate for a child to understand. According to the United National Convention on the Rights of the Child, it focuses on the 4 major components children need for a happy life. They are: survival, (food, water) development, (school, knowledge) protection, and participation (religion, ethnicity, etc.) Each section shows children who both do and do not have their needs met, but every child deserves that right. With this book, a sense of dignity is established in the student, as well as self-identity and connections to their own cultural heritage.

Element 2—Respect for Others: This book supports Element 2—Respect for others because it provides teachers with the opportunity to take the chance and talk about each of their students in the classroom; who they are, where they come from, where their ancestors were born, what their culture is like, etc. However, it also gives students the opportunity to see that all children are equal and entitled to the same rights as we are, no matter where we are located on the globe. Even though we are all different and may come from different cultural backgrounds, we should stand tall and be proud of who we are, and develop a strong sense of self-respect, respect for others, and a worldly appreciation.

Classroom Use: For a more formal activity, it may be a good idea to do a compare/contrast activity with a Venn Diagram. The Venn Diagram could be “How Other Kids Live/How I Live/How We Live”.  For a more fun/informal activity, it may be a cute idea to do a scavenger hunt in the classroom based on facts students’ learned from each of the children from the book. An "About Me" activity can be used with this book also, one in which students write a few paragraphs about themselves and photos to represent their culture/background. Then they could be hung all around the classroom. 


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