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, October 1, 2014

Element 3: The Skin I'm In A First Look at Racism - Pat Thomas

The Skin I'm In A First Look at Racism - Pat Thomas
Reading Level - Pre-k to Second Grade
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Summary: A first look book at the concept of skin color, culture, and religious differences. Making younger children aware of the differences we all have, and how those difference cause people to be treated in an unkind way. The book also has thought provoking questions like: "Have you ever been bullied because of your skin color?" or "What are the variety of skin colors that people come in?" These questions open children's eyes to something they possibly never thought of before. The book also touches on how the way you treat others effects the person on the receiving end. With the moral that we want to treat everyone fairly and equally. No one person is better than anyone else because of their race or cultural connection.

Connection to Element 3: Element 3 is exploring social injustice. As teachers we need to remember to celebrate diversity and push our students to explore how diversity has positively or negatively impacted people. The Skin I'm In allows students at a young age to explore racism and what it means in our society. What is racism, and how could someone thoughts or actions be considered racist. Allowing children to pause and think has this happened to them, or have they possibly been witness to a racist act.

Classroom Use: In a kindergarten or Pre-K classroom this book could be a perfect connection to helping them understand the concept of fair is fair. A unit on Fair is Fair would first consist of a vocabulary lesson that would come prior to reading the book. In that lesson the students would learn the words equal, equality, fair, separate, include, exclude, bravery, and courage. After the class has had the lesson on that vocabulary, the following day we would sit down and read the book The Skin I'm In. We would stop periodically during the book to discuss and see what the children understand. The Skin I'm In would be the stepping stone to the rest of the unit which would expand of the ideas from the book.

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