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, September 23, 2015

The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss

Title:  The Sneetches
Author and Illustrator:  Dr. Seuss
Grade Level:  K-5

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SummaryThe Sneetches, written by Dr. Seuss, tells the story of two types of creatures living on the beach; Star-Bellied Sneetches and Plain-Bellied Sneetches.  Although these creatures were all Sneetches, those without the green star on their belly were seen as inferior and faced discrimination. The Plain-Bellied Sneetches wanted equal treatment and seemed the help of Sylvester McMonkey McBean, who came to their town with a machine to add green stars to their bellies. The original Star-Bellied Sneetches became outraged because they still felt superior, despite having the same green star on their bellies. The Sneetches added and removed green stars back and forth with the machine, until ultimately, they forgot who is who and realized that it does not matter whether a Sneetch has a star- belly or not-"Sneetches are Sneetches, and no kind of Sneetch is the best on the beaches."

Element 2:  Respect for Others:  This story ties in well with Element 2, "Respect for Others", as it provides students with the opportunity to discuss the importance of respect for diversity. Students should be introduced to the subject of acceptance and diversity at an early age; we must all respect each other's differences and recognize diversity as a part of beauty in the world. Students are also given the opportunity to reflect on a time if they may have felt like they were treated unfairly, or how they might feel if they were treated unfairly because they are different. Students will gain more insight on critical topics of respect and diversity, two subjects that are often times not discussed because of their sensitive nature.

Classroom Activity:  After reading the story, a classroom discussion can take place revolving the topic of diversity, what makes us all different, the same, and how we should treat others despite having differences. The importance of respect for others would be emphasized. A good question to start off the class discussion is, "was there a time you felt like a Plain-Bellied Sneetch or a Star-Bellied Sneetch?". Art can be incorporated into this activity; we can have students create their own "Star-Bellied Sneetches" and write down what makes them special or unique (for example, something they're good at, or perhaps heritage they're proud of) and then discuss with their groups why they chose that characteristic/specialty.  This gives students an opportunity to not only reflect upon their own uniqueness, but also. gain an appreciation and respect for diversity among others.

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