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, December 2, 2014

Everyone Matters: A First Look at Respect for Others

Author: Pat Thomas

Everyone Matters is a great book to help teach children about respect. The pictures show differences between people. They show that there can be many differences between people. Differences such as; hair color/type, skin color, ability, height, weight, etc. In all pages, kind gestures are being shared between the characters in everyday locations; school, park, home, and streets.  Everyone Matters explains that despite any physical differences, what really matters is what we have in our hearts. It teaches that respect is given but also has to be earned. From keeping promises to loyalty and honesty, this book teaches children that respect is a reciprocal concept between members of our society. To receive respect you must earn it. If you want people to treat you with respect you must treat them with respect. 

Element Two (Respect for Others):
In Element Two, teachers must make a classroom an environment that is filled with respect. Reading Everyone Matters is a great way to give an example of respect. Through the illustrations, children see that there are many different kinds of people in this world that do not necessarily look like them,but we should be kind to them. Even if their hometowns do not have too many cultures and races, Everyone Matters, is a perfect tool to emphasize the importance of respect for others, as well as respect for oneself on an everyday basis. It will demonstrate to the children that people are different and they need to respect the differences. 

Classroom Use:
This book can be used in a read aloud. It would be a great tool to introduce respect and teach children about it. It would be a great way to have an understanding with the class about respecting everyone. In every page, the teachers can have her students point out the different kinds of people in the pictures. They can continue by explaining what each person is doing in the scenes. After the book is read, teachers can ask their students to draw pictures like the ones in the book. Each picture should show people of different characteristics doing kind and respectful gestures for each others. We will make a list as a class to determine how we are going to respect others. That list will hang up in the room the entire year. Lastly, they can take activity sheets home to work with their parents so they are aware that respect is not just something for school; it takes place in any location, at any time, with anybody. 

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