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

Amazing Grace

Author: Mary Hoffman 
Illustrated by: Caroline Binch
Reading Level: Ages 6-8
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.

Buy Amazing Grace here!

Resources for Teachers

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Amazing Grace is a children's book about a young girl "Grace" who loved stories. With her vivid imagination, she transforms herself into different story characters creating adventure along the way. When her teacher decides to perform the play "Peter Pan" with her class, Grace is determined to play the leading role. However, when her classmates tell her she is unable to play the part because she's a girl and also black, Grace becomes sad. Grace's family reassures her that "Grace can do anything she puts her mind to" which is just the support Grace needs to audition for Peter Pan and get the leading role.

Element #1- Self-Love and Knowledge:
Amazing Grace is a great story about deconstructing negative views of individuals based on race/ethnicity, gender, religion, culture etc. It shows how a negative stereotype posed a challenge for Grace and how support helped her overcome this obstacle. Grace shows readers that it is not good to internalize hurtful stereotypes but to embrace your differences and believe in yourself. Amazing Grace provides the foundation for self-love and knowledge in that students learn not to let negative stereotypes affect their self-identity.

In order to incorporate element one into a unit, teachers can have students draw a picture of a person in their family who they resemble the most. Students can then orally explain to the class what these attributes are (i.e eyes, skin tone, lips, nose etc). The teacher can then have the students take the assignment home and have the family member explain the history of their appearance ( i.e grandmother was of a certain race which may explain eye color, skin tone, shape of lips, nose etc). This assignment will teach students the different aspects of their identity and the history associated with it.

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