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.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Kids Like Me In China

Author: Ying Ying Fry with Amy Klatzkin

Photographs by: Brian Boyd, Terry M. Fry & Ying Ying Fry

Grade Level: 4 and up

Buy it here!



Kids Like Me In China is a large hard-back book written by eight-year-old Ying Ying Fry, a Chinese American girl, who lives with her adoptive parents in San Francisco.  Ying Ying wrote the book to tell her own story about spending the early months of her life in an orphanage in China, and how important her Chinese heritage is as an adopted child growing up in the U.S.  The book is full of photos of Ying Ying’s visit to Changsha, Hunan province from the babies, children, and staff at the orphanage where she lived as a baby to her encounters with other school children and families.  Ying Ying identifies with these children and their lives, she experiences their language, environment and culture first-hand, and she recognizes that this is a place where she truly fits in and belongs.  While she is there she gives thought to the plight of many Chinese babies, mainly girls, and the babies with special needs who are removed from their families and put up for adoption overseas.  Ying Ying is happy to discover her Chinese roots and heritage because this is part of her own life story and identity as both a Chinese and American girl.   

Element 5 – Raising Awareness

            Social justice means raising awareness of the issues facing children in adoption situations.  For Ying Ying this meant writing a book about her life as a baby in a Chinese orphanage after having been abandoned by her birth family.  Even though Ying Ying was adopted early on by an American couple and raised in San Francisco, as any other American child, she feels the need to claim her own life story as a daughter of China and a Chinese family.  She has gained so much from the experience of discovering her roots that she wants to let other people know that their heritage and culture is important.  And she wants to give hope and inspiration to other adopted children that they too can find their true identity and begin their own journey of self-discovery.  By writing her book Ying Ying is educating everyone who reads her book about what it means to be adopted and helping other adopted children to recognize themselves in her story.  Ying Ying is telling all adopted children that they can claim their own heritage as children and do not need to wait until they are adults.  American families have adopted many Chinese babies over the years.  This book helps these children tell their story.

Follow-up Activities:

            I would use this book in our classroom library and include it in any unit on families and diversity or as part of an ‘All About Me’ project.  This would be a good opportunity to incorporate adoptive families in the unit using a concept map for different types of families.  If anyone in the class is adopted they might want to bring their families into the classroom to tell their stories.  For ELL students from China there are many photos in the book that tell Ying Ying’s story even without the words.  As a primary source, it could also be part of the social studies curriculum on China and social policy.

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