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, December 1, 2014

Book Cover

The Day the Crayons Quit

Element #6: Social Action

Author: Drew Daywalt

Pictures by: Oliver Jeffers

Grade Level: P-3


The Day the Crayons Quit is about a boy named Duncan and his box of crayons. He reaches into his desk to use his crayons at school, when he finds a stack of letters. The letters are from each of his crayons, who have decided to write to him stating there complaints, suggestions and there decision to quit. Each crayon complains about something different. The red crayon complains about being overworked, the yellow crayon complains about the orange crayon and there debate on what the proper color of the sun is. The white crayon states he feels empty for only being used to fill in space between things, and the list of complaints goes on. By voicing how they feel, at the end of the story Duncan comes up with a creative way to make all of his crayons happy once again. 

Element #6: Taking Social Action

This book is a good example of Element 6, Taking Social Action, because it tells a story of a group of crayons taking a stand for what they feel needs to change. This story represents stereotypes, and how those who are stereotyped are tired of being categorized and want to be treated as equals. This book shows its readers a way to take a stance and change what they believe is wrong in a productive way. By writing these letters, it shows readers a form of protest that allows every crayon to express how they feel, and give suggestions on how to make things more fair. This book teaches students to take action on issues that affect them and there community, and to help gain skills that can help them address these issues and make a positive change. 

Follow Up Activity

After reading this story to my students, and teaching them the meaning of social action, I would like them to take part in making a change. Students will be asked to think of things in there school or community that they would like to see changed for the better. Students will write a well formatted letter that once completed, will be mailed to the town or school and hopefully published in the local paper. In the letter students should include, how they feel, what they want changed, and a suggestion on how to change it, like the crayons did in the story.

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