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 29, 2014

How My Family Lives in America

Title: How My Family Lives in America
Author: Susan Kuklin
Illustrator/Photography: Susan Kuklin
More resources can be found here!

How My Family Live in America by Susan Kuklin is about celebrating different cultures. Susan Kuklin tells about three children who have parents that grew up in countries other than American and still practice many customs from their homeland. These children, who live in New York City, share their stories about how they integrate their customs into their family life on a regular basis. The children in this story include Sanu, whose dad is from Senegal; Eric, whose dad is from Puerto Rico; and April, whose parents are from Taiwan.  Each of these accounts tells how ethnic traditions have been adapted into American families.

Element Two - Respect for Others:
In element two, students share about their own cultural background. To do this, you must create a safe environment that allows for respect and allows for students to share about their cultural identity. How My Family Lives in America helps to create this climate of respect. Hearing accounts from other students’ cultural backgrounds in the story will show that cultural traditions are important and can be fun to share with classmates. This book provides a great foundation for students to then share about their own cultural traditions.

Classroom Activity:

I would start by reviewing key phrases like culture, ethnic, and traditions. I would then read How My Family Lives in America aloud to my class. I would ask my class, “Does anyone have any cultural traditions that you do within your family?” After the class discusses this and after I share some of my families cultural traditions, I would have them do an activity. Each student may draw a picture of a cultural tradition that they practice with their family. They can also draw any new tradition or activity that they do with relatives or friends. This exercise would allow the students to share about their own ethnic traditions in their family and have them learn about new traditions from their peers.

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