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, February 9, 2015


Title: Pinkalicious
Author: Victoria Kann and Elizabeth Kann
Illustrator: Victoria Kann
Grade Level: Preschool-Grade 2

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About this book:

Pinkalicious is a story about a young girl that loves the color pink.  On a rainy day she made cupcakes with her mother and of course wanted to make the pinkest cupcakes ever.  Throughout the day she ate way too many cupcakes.  Even when her parents tried to stop her she begged and pouted until she got her way.  The next morning she woke up and her entire body was pink.  Pinkalicious was thrilled, she put on a pink dress and thought she looked better than ever.  Her mom disagreed and took her to the doctor.  The doctor told her to eat only green foods and she would return to normal.  Pinkalicious was so happy about her new appearance that she didn’t follow the orders, and instead ate more cupcakes.  The following day she woke up and she had turned red.  Pinkalicious finally decided to do what the doctor had told her and eats the green foods.  Before long she had returned to her normal looking self.  She realized that was the best way to be.

Element 1: Self Knowledge and Love:
The idea of self-love is really represented in this book.  Often people think that “life is always greener on the other side.”  Based on the illustrations it appears that Pinkalicous’ race is white, but when her skin turns pink from eating too many cupcakes she thinks life will be better.  At first life with skin was great, but when her friends don't recognize her and her skin changed to red, she realized that the best way to be is how you were born.  The book would be great for students of all races to realize you are perfect just the way you are.  Sometimes children wish their skin was different or their hair was a different color or style, and wish they could change, but Pinkalicious shows us that life is truly better when we embrace ourselves for who we are and what we look like. 

Usage of this book in the classroom:
This book could be used in the classroom to start a conversation about accepting and loving yourself.  It is important to begin the book discussion by helping the students truly understand the meaning.  On the surface this book may seem like a book about a girl that loves cupcakes and eats too many, but when looked at in greater depth, it is clear that this book shows us how great it is to just be you.  A fun activity to follow up this story with might be allowing the students to think of someone they might want to be (superman, batman, princess, etc).  The students could draw themselves as that person and think about what life would be like as that character/person.  Then a discussion could form about the realities of being that person.  Students could write or discuss the different aspects of their personal lives that they would have to give up to be this other person.  Hopefully students would walk away from this exercise with a greater appreciation and love for themselves and what they have in their lives already. 

Extra information for expanding the unit:
This book has a series of similar stories as well: "Purplicious", "Goldilicious", "Silverlicious".  Each book is a fun story with a deeper meaning about being yourself and accepting others for who they are.  

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