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 23, 2014

Title: Recycling is Fun

Author: Charles Ghigna

Illustrator: Ag Jatkowska

Grade Level: Kindergarten


In Ghigna's story, he shows how recycling is an enjoyable task that everyone can do.  This book demonstrates the different types of items people can recycle such as paper, plastic, glass, and clothes. With colorful pictures of excited children, this book entices students to feel motivated to take part in bettering their world and can look forward to having a good time doing it!  By showing fun ways to recycle and even use old items to make new toys, Ghigna shows that taking care of your planet is not only the right thing to do, but the fun thing to do.  

Element 6: Taking Social Action:

In Element 6, teachers give their students the opportunity to address an issue they see in their world. After students share a topic they feel passionate about, they then have the chance to give back to their world/community by participating in an action to improve the problem.  In this book, it establishes that recycling is important to help better our world.  Students can see how other children find enjoyment from helping their world and in turn, desire to also recycle as much as they can to make a positive impact on the environment they live in.  

How I Would Use This Book:

I believe that this book is appropriate for a kindergarten classroom.  As the teacher, I would first introduce the topic of recycling by asking my students what recycling is and also ask if they have recycled before.  This allows me to have a base line understanding of what my students do or don't already know.  Then I would read this book aloud to my students.  After reading, I would have an open discussion by first asking the students how they can recycle at home and at school.  Then I will tell the students we are going to collect plastic bottles for an entire month (and students are encouraged to bring empty plastic bottles from home).  We will set a class goal and at the end of the month, we will take a scheduled field trip to our local recycling facility where students can learn and see how bottles are recycled and also discover how they are helping save their planet by recycling these bottles.  


I enjoyed how this book showed that taking part in recycling is in fact fun.  It also engages students as it explains how you can take old items and make them into new things, such as toys.  This book encourages positive social action even at a young age!

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