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.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Rabbi Benjamin’s Buttons

Rabbi Benjamin’s Buttons
By: Alice B. McGinty
Illustrated by: Jennifer Black Reinhart

You can purchase the book Here
You can find more information on this book Here

Rabbi Benjamin is the town’s favorite rabbi! They love him so much, that they give him a holiday vest that has four silver buttons at the beginning of the Jewish New Year.  Throughout the year, he celebrates all of the Jewish holidays with all of the families and eats so much of their delicious traditional food that the silver buttons on his vest pop off one by one. His congregation adores him so much that when they see he is sad about his broken vest, they make him a new vest for the next year’s celebrations. 

Element Two- Respect for Others:
This book is an excellent element 2 book because of the many details it includes about the Jewish culture. This book talks about each Jewish holiday and shows examples of the traditional foods they eat and traditions they have. It also has a glossary at the end with many traditional Jewish vocabulary, and has a few recipes for traditional foods. Jewish children will be able to identify with the holidays and foods that the story talks about while many other children will still be able to identify with the close family dinners. 

Classroom Activity:
One great idea for a classroom lesson would be to make one of traditional Jewish recipes that are in the back of the book. It would be a great way to incorporate math into the lesson, by letting the students practice measurement types and how to read recipes. Although some classes may not be able to do this because of the lack of availability to a oven, it may be ok to cook them ahead of time for the children to eat, but let them measure all of the ingredients they would need if they were making it. The children can make the exact recipes they read about in the book such as “Mrs. Muchnik’s Delicious Honey Cake” or even “The Three Golswasser Girls’ Crispy Potato Latkes”.

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