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.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Strictly No Elephants

Title: Strictly No Elephants
Author: Lisa Mantchev
Illustrator: Taeeun Yoo
Grade level: Pre-K to 2nd grade

Buy it here!

Short summary:

This is the story of a little boy who wants to participate in Pet Club Day, but he is excluded because his pet is an elephant and the club members say no elephants allowed! When he meets another little girl that has been excluded from Pet Club Day because of her skunk, they decide to start their own club, where everyone is included. Together, they prove that friends come in all shapes and sizes!

Element #2: Respect for Others:

Social Justice Element #2 talks about respecting the differences in others and respecting each others cultural backgrounds. This book showed one little boy who had respect for everyone no matter what animal they had as a pet. Once he opened up his clubhouse to all pet owners regardless of their pet, everyone was able to play together. The book also shows us that friends come in all shapes and sizes and if you leave someone out based on prejudices you may have than you might be missing out. The little boy was left out because of his elephant but once everyone got to know the both of them, they all played together.


This book is really great to promote kindness and respect. I would start a lesson with a read-aloud of the book and have a whole-class discussion about these principles. Furthermore, I might have the students invent their own animals. They would draw their animals and color them. We would then share their creations trying to emphasize that each of our animals is accepted and needed in our classroom.

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