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.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Giving Book: Open the Door to a Lifetime of Giving

Author: Ellen Sabin

Illustrator: Kerren Barbas

Grade Level: Preschool - Grade 3

Buy it here!



Appropriately, Ellen Sabin’s The Giving Book begins with a page addressed to the recipient from the giver of the book describing the many benefits of giving. The book also allows the student to add his or her name as a co-author as well as insert the student’s picture on the cover.  The book begins with an explanation of what giving is all about and how it works and contains many colorful illustrations and easily understood language.  A student gets the opportunity to add his or her definition of giving and what “charity” means to the student.  In addition, the book contains many pages that allow the student to write his or her own answers to a variety of questions about how he or she has helped others and what he or she hopes to accomplish in the future with regard to charitable activities.  One section of the book, called “Your Actions Make a Big Difference” provides a place for the student to chronicle who he or she helped and how and provides space for the student to comment.  The book also provides a chart where the student can keep track of the money he or she has saved that will be put in the student’s “giving bag” for future good causes.  Additional pages are provided for the student to draw pictures of himself or herself while helping others.  Overall, The Giving Book introduces the concept of social action in very kid-friendly terms and encourages the student to begin a life-long practice of helping others who are less fortunate.

Element 6: Taking Social Action

I believe The Giving Book is an excellent example for young students to introduce the concept of social action.  Students are given several examples of activities  they can partake in and are also allowed to brainstorm their own thoughts about how they can give back to the community or help those in need.  The Giving Book shows that everyone can make a difference and have a positive affect on the community, even young children.

Class Activity: 

I would use The Giving Book to introduce to my class the concept of social action in the form of charitable giving.  Each student would have a copy of the book and personalize it as Ellen Sabin intended with their name and picture.  The Giving Book, I believe, is something that can be used throughout the school year as a way of incorporating character education.  I would also have my class brainstorm about what kind of social action project they would like to undertake and provide them with the tools necessary to have their ideas become a reality in the school or community.  

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