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.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

In Our Mothers' House

Title: In Our Mothers' House
Author & Illustrator: Patricia Polacco
Grade-Level: First-third grade

Purchase this book here!

Find more of Polacco's books here!

Click here to learn more about the author.

Click here for an example lesson plan.


In Our Mother's House is a story about a interracial family filled with nothing but love. The family consists of two mothers and their three adopted children that come from various parts of the world. The story talks about how much their mothers love each and every one of their children, and how special the house is to each child. Throughout the book, the children each recall something different about the house that is special to them. However, the children soon learn that even though their family is full of love, it does not mean that outsiders share that same love and respect. This story shows that families are made up of different types of people, and even if each person has their own story, they can all come together as one big loving family. 

Element 2: Respect for Others

In Our Mothers' House is a great book for Element 2. Element 2 is all about students sharing knowledge about their own cultural, families, and having respect for diversity. This book gives teachers the opportunity to talk about different family structures, the different types of people that can make up a family, and how families come in all different sizes and shapes! The overall purpose of this book is to teach students that families consists of all different types of people. Even though each child is from a different culture, including the parents, it does not effect how much love they have for one another and how happy and complete their family unit is. Each child in the book talks about how their family is special, and explains how they were united with their mothers.

Follow-Up Activity

After the read-aloud, students will be asked questions that discuss the book. Students will be asked to share something that makes his or her family unique, like the family in the story. The teacher and students can also discuss qualities that makes families different and or the same. Students will then be asked to draw a picture of their family to then share with the class when completed.

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