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.

Saturday, November 28, 2015


Author: unknown
Illustrator: Jess Stockham 
Grade level: Pre-K-Kindergarten 

Element 6: Taking Social Action 

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Summary: Recycling! is a great children’s book that helps readers understand how we can recycle in our daily lives. The story follows two children and their mission to recycle and make the environment a better place to live in by using the Three R’s; reduce, reuse, and recycle. In order to reduce the damage to their environment, a few of the actions the characters take include recycling their batteries and cans, reusing each other’s clothes, and planting their own vegetable garden. The detailed illustration helps readers visually see how they can recycle and provides children with real tasks that they can accomplish on their own. The book also does an excellent job raising key vocabulary that is essential to know about recycling. Once readers come to the the end of the book, there is a glossary that explains what happens to our recycling and a description of the Three R’s, which is helpful for children who need further explanation.  

Element 6 (Taking Social Action): This book exposes the various social actions that two children take in order to help their environment. The illustrations help young children see how they can go about helping the environment and certain symbols provided on the images show children what they should look for in their own environment, when they want to reduce, reuse, or recycle. Furthermore, readers see characters their own age take part in a social action to save the environment and this can captivate their interests to help, too. After reading the book, a teacher can have their students take the social actions seen in the book and implement them into their home and school life. For example, a teacher can provide various bins in their classroom that can be used to recycle different materials or make a vegetable garden with their students. There are countless social actions that can be taken after reading this informational book to children.

Activity: I will use this book in a kindergarten classroom. After reading the story, I will have my students get together on the reading carpet and come up with “Go Green Tips” that we can practice in our classroom. After coming up with the ideas, the students and I can work together in order to make our classroom more environmental friendly. Once we complete this activity, students will create their own booklet of how they can reduce, reuse, and recycle in their own home or school environment. Since this activity will be done with kindergarteners, clear images of how we can recycle will be on paper, and students will be asked to color the images, cut them out, and make a booklet. Writing will not be necessary, however, students should be able to explain each image and how it represents one of the Three R’s.  

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