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, November 17, 2014

Pinky and Rex and the Bully

Title: Pinky and Rex and the Bully
Author: James Howe
Illustrator: Melissa Sweet

Grade Level: 3-5

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Pinky and Rex and the Bully is a chapter book about a boy named Pinky who gets bullied by an older boy named Kevin. The story begins with Pinky being called a “sissy” and a “girl” because his name relates to the color pink, which according to Kevin is a girl’s color. The next day when Pinky goes to school, he continues to get bullied by Kevin. Kevin even tries to have other boys join in with the name calling. However, Pinky’s friend Anthony and his neighbor Mrs. Morgan come to Pinky’s rescue by confronting the bully on various occasions. Kevin continues to bully Pinky even when being confronted by other people. Pinky gets so sad, that he even considers changing his name. However, with the support of his friends and family, Pinky knows that he needs to change. Pinky learns that he can no longer hide behind other people and needs to stand up for himself. After realizing that he has friends and family that care about him,  Pinky knows that he is the only one who can stop his bully.  

Element 5 Raising Awareness
Pinky and Rex and the Bully is a great book for Element 5. Element 5 is all about students raising awareness, and the characters in this story raise awareness about bullying by teaching Pinky different ways he can confront his bully, Kevin. This book gives teachers the opportunity to talk about bullying and that bullies can come in all different sizes and shapes. Bullies can be girls, boys, young, and old. Pinky’s friends and family teach Pinky that he should not change who he is in order to please a bully. A bully will find any reason to bully. The overall purpose of this book is to teach and bring awareness about bullying. Pinky, the person being bullied, eventually stands up to Kevin with the help of his friends. Students will learn what to do and how to help someone who is being bullied.

Follow-Up Activity:
This book can either be read as a read-aloud or independently. Teachers could read this book as a read-aloud and have students converse about the topic of bullying. Before the story is read, students would be asked questions about what they know about bullying. After the read-aloud, the teacher would create a T-chart comparing what to do and what not to do if being bullied by another person. Once the T-chart is completed, students will then be asked to write at least one paragraph about what they learned, or write about an experience or situation involving bullying.

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