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, November 18, 2014

Mangos for Max

Title: Mangos for Max
Author: Dr. Jessica St. Louis
Grade Level: Pre-K- Early Elementary
Social Justice Element: Element 5 Raising Awareness
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Mangos for Max is a book that introduces allergies in a child friendly way. Max is a monkey who is allergic to bananas and must eat mangos instead. This book takes its readers on a journey through Max's life and discusses what it is like to have food allergies in a fun and engaging way. These concepts are introduced through rhymes and illustrations that children can relate to. Max and his friends learn about allergies and ways in which they can keep everyone safe.

Social Justice Element:

Mangos for Max is a great book for teachers to use to introduce element 5 and raise awareness in their classrooms about food allergies. Since many students have allergies to certain foods, it is extremely important that not only they know how to prevent and react to any outbreaks, but also that their classmates are aware as well. Mangos for Max was written for the classmates of students with allergies so they can understand what it is like to have a food allergy and the steps they need to take in order to keep everyone in the classroom safe. This book is a great resource to implement and practice food allergy education in a way that is accessible for young students.

In-Class Activity:

In order to raise awareness amongst young students, it is essential that you find material that they can relate to and engage in. Mangos for Max is a great book that can be read aloud to students in order to introduce the danger of allergies. After a read aloud, teachers can engage students in an activity in which they create a class contract or list of things the class can do in order to reduce allergens in the classroom. Some examples could include no food sharing/trading, hand washing before and after eating, using non food items for class projects and crafts, etc. Once students have come up with a list of ways to keep students with allergies safe in the classroom, they can then bring it to the attention of the whole school. By raising awareness of food allergens school wide, students will not only learn what allergies are, but also how to be aware of these allergies in communal areas such as classrooms and the cafeteria.

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