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.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Element 5: Raising Awareness

Title: City Green
Author: Dyanne Disalvo-Ryan
Illustrator: Dyanne DiSalvo-Ryan
Grade level: grade 1 to grade 3

Hardcover (New): $14.21
Hardcover (Used): starting at $2.97
More information about author and book:

 This book written and illustrated by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan, is about an intelligent young girl name, Marcy, who wanted to make a change in her neighborhood after a building was demolish due to it being unsafe. There stood an empty lot filled with dirt in the middle of a neighborhood. One day, during spring Mercy wanted to make a change. She wanted to do something with the lot.  Herself and her neighbor made a list with a few of the neighborhoods’ signature on it to ask to use the lot by the city. The city approved, so Mercy and her friend started to clean and plant all types of things on it. The whole neighborhood saw what they were doing and decided to step in and help. By the time summer came, there were so many different kinds of things that were growing in a lot that use to be empty. Now this place is an area where neighbors come together to relax and play. All of this happens with one little girls hope and passion to make a change.

SJE Element 5: Raising Awareness:
This book represent element 5 in many ways. It shows a child that with some effort and hope you can do anything to make a difference. They can inspire to make a change in their classroom or neighborhood by involving people around them. Even though this book gave an example of a neighborhood coming together to make an empty lot come to life. The child can use this example and change a view of a person on anything. Such ideas can be something that deals with discrimination, bullying, helping the environment, and more!  The book can demonstrate to a child that by raising awareness on an issue, it can bring people together.  This book also gives great colorful pictures, which will intrigue the students to get involve.

As an activity I would first read this book to the class.  Then I would ask them questions on what they have learned from this and tell me what they liked about it. I would then tell the students that they would try to get the whole student body and parents if possible, to help make a difference around the school. The students will make flyers to help clean the school by picking up trash and painting anything that needs to be painted. The students will be posting these flyers all over the school. They will see that just like in the book, they can get people involve just by making others around them aware of the issue that needs to be done. 

Extra help:
I found this helpful RIF guide for educators made for this book.  It shows you different ways you can teach this book, it includes lessons plans & activities package. It focuses on balanced literacy, vocabulary, and reading strategies.  Check it out the link is right below:

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