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.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Ayobami and the Names of the Animals

Author:  Pilar López Ávila

Illustrator: Mar Azabal 

Grade Level: Pre-K-3rd grade

Summary: In Ayobami’s town war had just ended and the teacher began going door to door to let everyone know school was going to reopen. Ayobami was excited until she realized the path she had to take to get to school, in order for her to get to school she had to travel through the jungle. On her journey through the jungle she meets different types of animals, all who did not want Ayobami to pass, but she made promises of writing their names on a piece of paper on her return home if they let her pass. Each animal lets her pass because not one another had seen them name written. On her journey home from school, Ayobami fulfills all her promises to the animals, but when she gets home, she does not have anything to show her parents of what she learned in school. Later at night, the wind blows all those pieces of paper to Ayobami’s home and it shows that she learned to read and write in school.

Element #5: Raising Awareness: This book captures the essence of Element #5 because it helps to make the students more aware that they things they do, such as go to school, are not guaranteed for every child their age. Some children they age struggle to go to and from school, and some do not have the opportunity to go to school for very serious reasons. This book helps to show students that there are issues others face, that they do not; bringing in the question what is fair and just? A question that can be raised about many other issues they may be passionate about.

Activity: For classroom use, I would have students write down 2-3 things they are passionate about on separate sticky notes and place it on their desks. After that I will begin to remove the sticky notes from some of the students’ desks and begin asking them questions such as, What if I took this way from you? What if it took an extra hour to do this? What if I told you you could not do this for the next year? Beginning a conversation about some of the issues people in the world face that we may not encounter.

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