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, November 30, 2015

Junk Food- What It Is, What It Does by Judith S. Seixas

Junk Food- What It Is, What It Does
Author: Judith S. Seixas
Illustrator: Tom Huffman
Grade: 3rd to 5th Grade

Junk Food- What It Is, What It Does by Judith S. Seixas is a book informing children and other readers about the food we commonly put into our bodies. The book describes the foods we need in our body, how our body works, sugars, fats, salts, additives, meal plan selections, and making your own judgement to help create a balanced diet. The book informs the readers about the dangers in many different junk foods and the negative effects it can have on your body. The book presents itself with a child friendly approach with many illustrations and diagrams to show detrimental treatment to the human body, as well as other long term implications that can be avoided. The book gives you samples of balanced meals and gives a very general overview of what we should or should not eat. Seixas provides the readers with options and examples that children can use. 

Element 6: Taking Social Action
One can debate that this is more suited for raising awareness, but it is a major contributor. With an obesity epidemic on the rise, the book can be used to make changes within people's lives. With a very simplistic guideline and approach, "to watch for additives, unsaturated fats, and foods with immense amounts of sodium", it gives a great opportunity for students to start  looking into the benefits of a proper diet, and what foods like junk foods can do to the body. The book provides not just awareness of these issues, but a solution and a choice one can make. It helps develop a students stance on this issue, and ways to promote the values expressed from the book. Seixas also mentions the amount of water a human should ingest, as drinks with many added sugars and unnatural sweeteners can cause diabetes. 

First the class would have an interactive read-aloud, progressively asking questions about the class's dietary practices. After completing a read aloud of the book, Junk Food- What It Is, What It Does by Judith S. Seixas, students will then have a week long assignment, logging the nutritional facts of their entire meal each week. The diet log can be used in and out of class, strategically in the morning logging their breakfast, after lunch during the day, and dinner done for a homework assignment. They also can log athletic activities they do. With this activity, they can see for themselves what they are eating and the food they are putting in their bodies. The students can write a letter to food companies to stop using additives, or alternatively write a persuasive letter to the board of education about the food selections used in cafeteria foods. 

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