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.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Maddi's Fridge

Title: Maddi's Fridge
Author: Lois Brandt
Illustrator: Vin Vogel
Publisher: Flash Light Press
Grade Level: 1-3
Age Level: 6-8

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Click here for more resources on how to teach about child hunger.

Summary: Maddi’s Fridge is a book about two best friend, Maddi and Sofia, who live in the same neighborhood and go to the same school. After a full day of playing in the playground, Sofia gets very hungry, and runs to Maddi’s house to grab a snack. When she opens the refrigerator, she is very surprised to find that Maddi barely has any food, and only has a small cartoon of milk for her little brother. She learns that Maddi’s family does not have enough money to purchase food, and is placed in a difficult situation when Maddi asks her to promise to not tell anyone. The book goes on to show that Sofia’s family has money for food and a fridge full of yummy and nutritious snacks, and Sofia’s mom even makes delicious dinner everyday for her and her brother. Sofia’s brother constantly complains about what they have for dinner, but Sofia’s mom teaches them that what they are eating is good and healthy for kids. Sofia then gets the idea to pack lunch for Maddi, but the next day, when it she hands it her, they learn that though certain food may be good for kids, it is not good for backpacks. Eventually, Sofia learns to pack Maddi lunch that is good for backpacks, and even brings her a cartoon of milk for her brother, but she is still bothered by Maddi’s situation. In the end of the book, she decides to tell her mother, who goes on to load lots of groceries and brings the groceries to Maddi and her family. Sofia learns that promises are important but Maddi and her well being is way more important than a promise.
Element 5: Raising AwarenessMaddie’s Fridge falls perfectly with this element because it raises awareness about child hunger. The book is full of super cute illustrations, and they really help show how a child reacts to such a serious topic. At the end of the book, the author even provides some resources and ideas of how kids can get involved and help other kids who might be in need. The author goes on to share a fact that, “One out of every five kids in the United States is at risk of having an empty fridge like Maddi.” This quote is important because it’s raising awareness to an issue that probably takes place in our own schools. I also like how the author added Sofia’s brother because he helps raise awareness that we shouldn’t complain about the food we have at home because while we complain, there are kids who don’t have anything to eat. Sofia also helps raise awareness about child hunger, and takes action to help her friend. Overall, I think Maddi’s Fridge is an excellent book to bring awareness about child hunger in our schools and community.

Classroom Activities – This book is a great resource to explain to young children some of the difficulties that some of their friends, and kids in their neighborhood might be facing. I would incorporate this book into a lesson about child hunger. In the classroom, I would read the book to my students, discuss their reaction, and brainstorm ideas that can be used to help children in our who might be going through the same situation as Maddi. I would teach them about different organizations that can help children facing hunger, so that if a student in the class is facing that, they know where to find help. I would also encourage them to take action, and never keep secrets, but tell someone so that they can help and also tell if they need help. As a class, we can also organize a food drive, visit out local pantry, and raise awareness to help children and families in need.

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