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

The Crayon Box that Talked

Title: The Crayon Box that Talked
Author: Shane DeRolf
Illustrator: Michael Letzig
Grade level: Preschool - 2nd grade

Buy it here!

Short summary

The Crayon Box that Talked has become a popular children's book since it was first published in 1997. With the help of vibrant illustrations, children can learn how to celebrate diversity and work together as a team. The story begins with the scene of a box of angry crayons who do not like each other without any particular reasons. One day a little girl buys the box of crayons and takes them home with her. She starts drawing and she uses each and every color to complete her picture. Then something changes. The crayons soon realize that if they work together, they make the little girl's picture more interesting and beautiful.

SJE -  Element 2: Respect for Others

"We are a box of crayons, each one of us unique. But when we get together... the picture is complete." Social Justice Element Two teaches children to respect each other, learn, and share their cultural backgrounds. Reading this book in your classroom is an excellent way to provide students opportunities to learn about diversity. The central message of "The Crayon Box that Talked" is to celebrate diversity, appreciate each other's differences. We have different skin colors, cultural backgrounds, and we come from various family structures. Through the simple lines and colorful pictures young children can understand that instead of fighting, we can work together if we accept our differences.


After reading the book as a whole class, teachers can create many classroom activities relating to the story and its message. One way to make children realize the diversity of their classroom community is to ask them to create their own personalized crayon. For this activity, we give students a blank pre-cut crayon shape and ask them to decorate the crayon the way that represents who they are. When the children are done, the teacher collects the colored crayons and puts them in a big crayon box for display. It serves as a kind of visual for the students to see how different they really are. To see this activity or to get more ideas visit pinterest.

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