Sunday, April 29, 2007

What Zeesie Saw on Delancey Street

-by Elsa Okon Rael and Marjorie Priceman

This beautiful book is a story about a 7-year-old girl named Zeesie who is allowed to accompany her parents to a 'package party' in the early 1900s. Taking place on the famed Lower East Side of New York City, we are able to gather information about certain aspects of life some Jewish immigrants faced as they began their lives as citizens in this country.

This book has a unique approach to showing life as an immigrant in that it does not expressly call them immigrants, nor does it make obvious the point that the people in this story are struggling or poor. In fact, the setting is a party and for everyone else attending, it is just that.

The book leaves behind the simple 'Jewish people surviving' facade and takes on a more universal appeal when Zeesie sneaks into a room that only the men are allowed to go into. The Money Room is so named because all of the men go into it one at a time, and either leave spare money they have, or take any they need to help feed their families. The book does a beautiful job showing how this community, and others like it, come together to support one another and ensure success. It is an example of human beings reaching out to others in need, something all communities do, immigrant or not. When Zeesie realizes the power of the room, she leaves the dollar she has saved up, knowing that she is helping another person, even though they will not know she directly helped, and that she can no longer afford to go to the movie theater as she planned. She knows the dollar is better spent in that room.

This book would be great for units on immigration, because it tells a different side of immigrant life we don't often hear about. It could also help with a unit about New York's olden days, and also for a unit on friendship and/or tolerance.

As far as social justice education, this book achieves levels 2, 3, and 5. They can use Zeesie's selfless act to begin figuring out ways they too can better their own communities and the community at large. They can do this in many ways besides monetarily, striving to really fix the problems they see rather than just slapping a band-aid over.

**Posted by Emily, Valerie, and Amanda S.**

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Peace Crane

Author: Sheila Hamanaka

Summary: A girl questions the world for a chance at peace, "for a world without borders, of a world without guns, of a world that loves its children". As crane's are a symbol of long life in Japan, the girl in the book sends her paper crane throughout the world and remembers the good she has seen in the world, along with the bad. This story is based on Sadako Sasaki's belief that if you fold a thousand paper cranes, you will be granted your wish for health. The story gives a brief history of the US bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan and Sadako's story.

Reflection: The book has beautiful illustrations that are coupled with poetic lines and verse that tell this story. We follow the journey of a peace crane throughout the book and see wherever it goes peace or health is restored. Yes, this sounds mythic and optimistic, but I think the book sends a message of hope for children who are constantly questioning their world. This book tries to inspire children to take initiative and make a change in their environment.

  1. This would be a good book to couple learning about the history of war, such as WWII, or the history of Japan, or learning about unfairness and violence in the world.
  2. Students can think about their injustices in their communities and make a list. A discussion can follow asking how students can make social change about these injustices. Students can write their idea for social change on a piece of paper and will make a paper crane out of it. The cranes will hang in the classroom to remind students of their ideas, and the teacher can facilitate helping children take action.
  3. The book can be used to integrate social studies and poetry. The book has wonderful poetic lines, and is presented in poetic verse. It is a great example of description in writing.

Social Justice Curriculum: This book focuses on stages 1, 2, 3, and 5.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Korean Children's Day

Summary: Korean Children's Day is a story about how Mrs. Carnie's 4th-grade class became the Tae Kwon Do champions of Raymond Elementary School. Young Soo Newton, is an adopted boy from Korea who lives in America with his family. He takes Saturday classes at the Korean Institute because his adopted parents want to make sure he never forgets about Korea and his Korean heritage/traditions. He decides to bring his friend Jeremy along one Saturday, because they are celebrating Korean Children's Day. Jeremy, as well as the reader, learn about Korean Children's Day and Korean culture/traditions. In the end, Jeremy is so takenaway with Tae Kwon Do that he suggests to Young Soo Newton that their whole class at school should partake in this tradition. In the end, Mrs. Carnie's class becomes Tae Kwon Do champions of Raymond Elementary School.

Reflections: This was a great book because it shows how people can appreciate, learn, and participate in the traditions of another culture. It shows cultural appreciation not only on the intercultural level, but also on the level of adoption and identity. The fact that Young Soo was an adopted child from Korea makes the story more real. His parents make an effort and show appreciation to their child's country of origin. Often when children are adopted they are forced to assimilate with the culture of their adopted parents and forget where they came from. The illustrations are done in what appears to be colored pencil, which is interesting and different.

How would I use the book/curriculum units: This book would work well with a discussion on appreciating cultures and traditions. It could be used along side a curriculum on cultures and traditions of students in the classroom. Having students listen to this story and then share their own cultures and traditions is one idea. In addition, encouraging students to actually perform some traditions, or wear traditional clothing, or eat traditional food from all the cultures of the students in the class could also be a good activity. In additon, if you type in "Korean Children's Day" on Yahoo or Google you will find a bunch of lesson plans and ideas for this Korean tradition.

Domains of Social Justice: 1) Domains of self-love and acceptance: Students learn to love themeselves for who they are. In this case, Young Soo appreciates his Korean heritage and continues to practice and learn about his country of origin. 2) Respect for Others: Students learn to appreciate and learn about the cultures and traditions of others. 4) Social Movements and Social Change: Students learn that they can take a proactive approach to learning about other people's cultures and appreciating those cultures. Taking Social Action: Students learn how they can encourage other people (ex. Mrs. Carnie's 4th-grade class) to appreciate and participate in learning about the cultures of others.

Monday, April 2, 2007

The Butterfly

Patricia Polacco creates this beautifuly story about a young girl in France during a time when Nazi soldiers occupy every inch of her home town. One night Monique, the main character, discovers a little girl in her room and soon unravels the mystery going on in the very basement of her own home. It seems that her mother, who is based on a real woman during the Holocaust, Patricia Polacco's aunt, has been hiding a Jewish family.
This book is an amazing way to get students thinking about heroism, racism, the Holocaust and the true meaning of freedom, which the butterfly is a symbol of throughout the book.
This book can be used for many different activities and can also be incorporated into many different units. A unit on the Holocaust would benefit greatly from this book not only because it takes place in that time period but also because it exemplifies the many brave people who fought against the Nazis in small but powerful ways. Monique's mother in the story is a wonderful example of social justice stage #4 because she takes social action and risks her life to save the lives of a Jewish family. The book also fits into stages, 2: Exploring issues of social justice, 3: social movements and social change and 4: Taking social action.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

What I Like About Me!

Title: What I Like About Me!

Author: Allia Zobel-Nolan

Summary: This book is about children who each tell the reader something they like about themselves-they wear braces, they have curly hair, to even having big feet. The illustrations are great and there are all sorts of pop-outs, pull tabs, and touchy items in the pictures, that make the book so much fun to read.

Reflection: I love this book because it teaches students that everyone is different and special in our very own way. In addition, it helps with issues of self-esteem which is a very important topic and needs to be talked about.

Lessons/Curriculum: There is so much that can be done with this book. The last line of the book poses a question to the reader, “and what do you like about you?” with an actual aluminum mirror so you can look at yourself. Teachers can use this question to start teaching about self-esteem and have students do self-portraits, including writing about themselves and what makes them so special. In addition, another creative idea might be to instead of having students write about themselves, they write about someone else in their class and why they feel that person is special. This way self-esteem is not only taught about, but social skills (ex. classroom community) as well.

Social Justice Curriculum: Stages 1 and 2 are strongly addressed because students are learning to love and respect themselves while at the same time for others too.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The People Could Fly

Title: The People Could Fly
Author: Virginia Hamilton
Illustrators: Leo and Diane Dillon

Summary: .
"The People Could Fly," is a fantasy tale that tells of how some enslaved Africans had wings and could fly. In order for them to escape the abuses of slavery, they began to sing some ancient African magic words. This allowed their bodies to lift into the sky and fly away to freedom.
This would be a great book to use for Social Studies. Lessons could be taught on how the Africans were taken from their homeland and put on slave ships and brought to new lands as slaves. I also think that this book could be used for a performance in Drama. I would have students create costumes with wings, and have them re-enact the story. .
Social Justice Education:
This book covers all 5 areas of social justice. Students can learn to love and accept themselves and their roots, while others can respect their differences. Students will learn the forms of oppression of slavery and racism, and how they can use books like this to create non-violent social change. Additionally, students can take social action to protect people's rights.

Monday, March 26, 2007

When Marian Sang, The True Recital of Marian Anderson
By: Pam Muñoz Ryan, Brian Selznick

This book tells the story of Marian Anderson, a very talented singer. The story begins when she is a gifted child, travels with her as she is faced with racism and concludes as she makes history by being the first black person ever to perform at the Metropolitan Opera House.

How I would use this:
I would use this book in TWO ways. THE FIRST is to have a discussion about racism and prejudice. Marian is not allowed to enter music school because of the color of her skin. Is that fair? Also, she is only recognized as being ‘worthy’ later because of her beautiful singing voice. Shouldn’t every one be equal, not only if they have special talents, but just because they are human beings? THE SECOND is to discuss ways in which people fight what they believe to be unfair. In the book it seems as if Marian quietly waits until the world accepts her. Other people, such as Eleanor Roosevelt, campaign for her. What are they ways in which people fight for social justice, and what are the pros and cons of each method?


Social Justice Education:
This book deals with all steps of social justice education and can lend itself to the fifth stage. Students can select a social justice issue that they would like to combat and also select a method that they have studied that they would like to use to fight it.

*Posted for: Valerie Bracco*


Title: Weslandia
By: Paul Fleischman

This is a very funny story about a very creative boy who just doesn't quite fit in at school or at home. Wesley, the main character, is an outcast from the civilization around him so he decides to devote his summer to a wonderful project- creating a new civilization. He starts his project by planting his own staple food crop. Soon his seeds turn into a magical world. Wesley moves into this beautiful new civilization and survives on the fruits and veggies produced by the seeds that he planted. Using all natural products from his garden Wesley is able to weave himself new clothes, ones that are much cooler and more comfortable then the jeans and t-shirts everyone else is wearing. Soon all the children that used to make fun of him are curious about Wesley's "summer project" and want to see what his civilization is all about. Wesley realizes that his civilization would benefit from the help of others and he invites his schoolmates in. The other students also gain an appreciation for Wesley and admire and praise him for his talent and creativeness.

Lesson Ideas:
There are many topics that could be taught as a follow up to this read aloud. This could be the start of a fiction writing unit where students can create there own "civilizations". The unit could be _____landia and the students names would go on the line. They could use this book to help them get idea's about a creating a land where they can chose what clothes they wear, what language they speak, what food they eat, etc. This book could also be used in a unit about planting. For younger grades studying the life cycle of plants they could talk about the stages that the plants in the book went through and all the different purposes that the plants served. This book could also be used on a unit about the importance of being yourself, and how it's okay to be different. Students learn from Wesley that it's okay to embrace your differences and not follow what everyone else is doing. This book can also be used for a lesson where you want students to notice change in a character over time. In the beginning of the book Wesley is sad, and depressed because he has no friends and doesn't fit in, and by the end of the book Wesley comes out of his shell and has a much improved morale.


Social Justice:
1. Self love and acceptance
2. Respect for others
Touches on #3. Issues of Social Justice- bullying

Friday, March 23, 2007

I Love Saturdays y Domingos

I Love Saturdays y domingos, by Alma Flor Ada, is about a young girl who spends the weekends with her grandparents. Saturdays are spent with her English-speaking paternal grandparents, and Sundays are spent with her Spanish-speaking maternal grandparents. She explains how she celebrates both English and Spanish culture by engaging in various activities with each set of grandparents. The girl uses Spanish words when talking about what she does with her Spanish-speaking grandparents, but the words are easily identified in context.

This book can be used to teach several lessons. It can be used to teach students basic Spanish words or to teach them about Spanish culture. Teachers can also use the book to show students how it is possible to celebrate different cultures and traditions. Students can then explain the different ways in which they celebrate different cultures.

The book addresses social justice levels 1 and 2. It teaches students to appreciate their own cultures, as well as diversity and the cultures of others.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Poetry for Young People, Langston Hughes

I was originally going to post for "The Little Prince" but I couldn't once I found this book in the school library. This is a collection of poems that addresses every level of the social justice curriculum. Self love and acceptance is addressed in "My People", acceptance of others is addressed in "Harlem", social movements is addressed in "Words Like Freedom" and "I Dream A World". There are poems of African history, about slave drums and jazz beats, about Jim Crow laws and segregation. Students who read these poems, will be exposed to language that is beautiful and descriptive as well as being exposed to African American History. Their are so many wonderful experiences students can have as a result to reading this poetry. They can create their own poetry and illustrations to create a class book of their own, students may also be inspiried to learn more about the actual history to go a long with the history that is described in the poems. As New York City school teachers, we may feel pressure to teach the "Teachers College" version of literacy, this will be a great resourse to teach poetry and all the levels of social justice at the same time.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Angel Child, Dragon Child

Angel Child, Dragon Child
By: Michele Maria Surat

This story is about a Vietnamese child, Nguyen Hoa, who was trying to adjust to life in the USA. Nguyen was also called “Ut”. When Ut first started school she was ridiculed by the other kids because she was different than them. She wore traditional clothing, which the students thought looked like pajamas and she did not speak much English. Ut carried a box around with her which had a picture of her mother. Ut missed her mother very much but her family did not have money to bring her to the U.S when they came so she was still in Vietnam. Ut made a friend at school and he helped her raise money by holding a school Vietnamese fair. Her mother was able to migrate to the U.S.

I would definitely recommend this book because I feel many people could relate to it. So many families migrate to the U.S in hopes of a better life for themselves and their children and adjusting to this new lifestyle can be so difficult. Their children can experience a rough time getting through school because of factors like a language barrier. This book does a great job of showing that it is not okay to judge someone by their appearance. People should accept or embrace one another’s culture and learn from one another. It’s a great read aloud and a great book to use in a social studies unit about the Vietnam War. You can integrate Social Studies, Geography, and Writing. Furthermore, this book touches on all five domains of social justice: self love and acceptance, respect for others, taking action, social issues, etc.

A New Barker in the House

Author: Tomie DePaola

Summary: This is the story of an English speaking family that adopts a Spanish speaking child. At first, the English children have a difficult time understanding their new brother and try to force their ways upon him. Eventually, the English family members begin to learn Spanish and the baby learns English.

Social Justice Education: This book deals with self-love and acceptance, and respect and tolerance for others.

Lessons and activities: I chose this book because it could encourage children to embrace languages in addition to English. Whether this meant that children would retain and be proud of their native language or encourage them to learn a different language it would be meaningful. I think this book could be a good introduction of the benefits of learning and speaking another language. The book is best suited for younger grades.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Multicultural Fables and Fairy Tales: Stories and Activities to Promote Literacy and Cultural Awareness

Title: “Multicultural Fables and Fairy Tales: Stories and Activities to Promote Literacy and Cultural Awareness”
Author: Tara McCarthy

Summary: This book includes many fables and tales from around the world/different cultures. The book is separated by four categories of tales:
Section 1 – Trickster Tales
Section 2 - Fables
Section 3 – “Why” Stories and Legends
Section 4 - Fairy Tales
Some stories that are included are “Tortoise Ticks Leopard” (Liberian), How the Beetle Got Her Colors” (Brazilian), “The Fox and the Drum” (Indian), and “The Tongue-Cut Sparrow” (Japanese). There are some lesson plan ideas that accompany each lesson as well as some suggested activities. For example, the objective of the “Coyote Places the Stars” tale is to predict what will happen in a trickster tale. The children will practice making predictions in the story using evidence.

I think this is a very good book to use in the classroom. It contains many different stories from around the world, which will expose students to other cultures and beliefs. Additionally, the book offers suggestions on how each story can be used according to different objectives (identifying values in trickster tales, relating fables to real life, etc.).

This book can be used when doing a unit study on fables/legends. Children can write and act out their own fable/fairytale after reading through a few of the tales in the book and examining the traits of fables/fairytales (setting, types of characters, values, etc.).

Levels of Social Justice Education:


Boys and Girls of the World: From One End….. To the Other By Nuria Roca

“Boys and Girls of the World: From One End….. To the Other”, explores the lives of children all over the world. Readers will learn about different cultures, languages, holidays, schooling, climate, and environmental situations in places such as, China, North Alaska, Japan, Yugoslavia, Africa, Australia, and Egypt. Readers will meet a little boy named Pall from North Alaska who receives home schooling during the coldest months with the assistance of a computer and books on the internet, and another little boy named Draco from Yugoslavia, who was injured during a recent war. In addition, this book includes activities and guidelines for parents and teachers. This book will encourage students to learn about other children’s cultures all over the world and appreciate their diversity.

This book could be used to expand student’s knowledge and appreciation about diversity, and motivate them to become familiar with their peers culture, language, religion, and environment. Students will develop self-love and acceptance, respect and tolerance for oneself and others, and exploring issues of social justice in the classroom.

This book is a wonderful resource to use when teaching a lesson appreciating diversity and motivating students to acknowledge the differences and similarities between their peers. I would begin my lesson reading this book then have the students turn and talk sharing their ideas on what they noticed was different and the same between the children in the story. This will be followed by a class discussion. After the class discussion, I would pose an open-ended question such as, how do you celebrate your birthday? Independently, the students will write their response and draw a detailed depiction showing the traditional foods, games, and dances. When the students are finished they will post their writing near their drawing on the wall. The students will have 5-10 min. to walk around and observe their peers traditional way of celebrating their birthday. During the class discussion, I will motivate the students to share their ideas, opinions, and questions about their differences and similarities with their peers in a positive manner.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Chi- Hoon

Chi- Hoon by Patricia McMahon is the photo/ diary compilation of a young girl growing up in Seoul, South Korea. This beautifully glossy portfolio follows Chi- Hoon through a week of her life, giving the reader rich insight into cultural customs and traditions. Since my students were very excited that I was going to Korea, I promised to bring back something that we could learn about as a class. This book is the perfect instructional jump- off point: The reader can select virtually anything from the book and delve into a cultural study of it.

Josephine's 'magination by Arnold Dobrin

Couldn't find a picture for this one, and it was first published in 1973 so this may be due to an elderly book. not sure. Regardless, this is a great book for teaching multi cultural education. I chose this book for a couple reasons. One thing i really liked about this book is that it doesn't hit you over the head with the multi cultural content. What i mean by this is there is no racism or injustice really in the book. Instead the author chooses to tell a story of a young Haitian girl who accompanies her mother to the market one day to sell brooms, where she meets an older man who explains to her that she can make new things out of old stuff using her imagination. The illustrations are vivid, alternating between color and black and white, and the book would be appropriate for K-3rd grade, however it is not a short book, with about half text/half pictures for every 2 page spread.

The multi-cultural content comes from the book taking place in a poor neighborhood on Haiti, a country i assume most young urban students are not familiar with. Students learn about different cultures and people and there is also a bit of self love and acceptance in regards to the character of Josephine. (she learns she can have fun and make toys even though she has no money to buy anything, accepting her situation and making the best of it) I would use this book as an opportunity to introduce Haiti and Haitians to students. Where is Haiti? What continent is it located on? What is the weather like there? Can we determine any of this from the illustrations or how the people dress? What language do they speak in Haiti? (French) Why do they speak French? (Haiti was a French colony as well as many other North African states)What's a colony? etc. you get the idea. Any number of engaging and enlightening questions could be asked. For more advanced or older students you could have them do their own research and investigations into the Haitian people, culture, and history. One must keep in mind however to prepare students with adequate research skills and strategies before assigning such an activity.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Somewhere Today... A Book of Peace

Somewhere Today..A Book of Peace by Shelley Moore Thomas
At first I felt as though this book did not really have much to do with peace at all because it only presented alot of positve scenarios, but after observing the literary specialist in my school do a read aloud with this book I realized that there is alot of potential to discuss what peace is and contrast the postive imags with other negative aspects as well. This book goes through different activities that children are doing throughout the world that help make the world a better place. I love that the book has actual photographs rather than illustrations as well. More than that this book presents taking social action in a way that children can relate to and dispels the idea that social action has to be some grandiose display, that way children can see it is possible to be a social activists no matter how old and how little a taks may seem.

Social Justice
Social Movements and Social Change
5. Taking Social Action

Lesson Plan Ideas.
I think this book would be a great book for a writing unit where children are making their own books, as well as a poetry unit.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

"I Love My Hair" by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley

Title: "I Love My Hair"

Author: Natasha Anastasia Tarpley

Summary: "I Love My Hair" deals with a young African American girl who describes her hair in many unique ways and the different ways she can wear it as well. This book is definitely empowering and brings an excellent message about appreciating who we are and where we come from. In addition, it encourages kids to feel proud of their heritage and appreciate each individuals uniqueness.

Reflections: I strongly recommend this book for any grade level. Its illustrations and colors make images vivid and immerses readers into a realistic flight of heritage celebration. Overall, it is a beautiful story about self-love and acceptance.

Social Justice Education: This book could be used in lessons that deal with self-love and acceptance, respect and tolerance for oneself and others, and exploring issues of social justice in the classroom. Also, it is great to read to students when introducing appreciation of diversity in the classroom.

Lessons and activities: This book is an excellent resource to use when teaching a lesson on the Appreciation of Diversity. First, I would read this book to my students and after ask them to draw self-portraits. When finished, I would allow students to comment about their differences in a positive way while they travel around the room viewing their drawings.

You may also want to visit this interesting link: A unit on "Celebrate your Heritage"

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon

This book is a "heart-warmer" about a little girl named Molly Lou who is smaller than all the other children her age. Her character is developed after she moves to a different town. She always remembers what her grandmother told her and is able to battle the bullies.

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon would be useful in the younger grades as it has very simple language and bold pictures. This would be good for character development lessons and the theme of being proud of who you are. It also is a good example of how we need to to accept people who are different than us. Some possible lesson ideas would be to have children compare the situations from the book to things that have happened to them. Another idea would be to use this as one book in a character study unit. Students could record aspects of Molly Lou and what makes her who she is.

This book does not reach all of the levels of social justice education. It clearly touches on self-love and acceptance as she is constantly reminded that she can do what everyone else can do. It is also able to be incorporated into the "respect for others" category because the bully Ronald learns to accept Molly Lou for who she is.

Some useful links:


Written and Illustrated by Peter Spier

People is an excellent book to use in the classroom to expose students to the differences in people from around the world. Spier's book sends the message that everyone has the right to be different and that people should be proud of their differences. Spier examines an array of characteristics that make human beings unique. His words and illustrations show the differences in physical traits (body size, skin color, eye color, hair style), clothing styles, interests, dwellings, holidays, foods, religions, and languages of individuals from many cultures. At the end of the book, Spier asks the reader to imagine how dull the world would be if everybody looked, thought, ate, dressed, and acted the same. This book makes you think about how wonderful it is that each one of us is unlike any other.

Anne Marie and Bree pointed out one area to watch out for: towards the end of the book, Spier writes about the different kinds of leaders. We noticed that the illustrations for this page are all of white males. When using this book in the classroom, it might be beneficial to discuss this or to skip the page entirely.

I think this book touches on the first three levels of social justice. When reading this book, children and adults consider their own cultures. They also learn about cultures that are different than their own. Spier helps his readers realize the importance of differences in the world.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Fire at the Triangle Factory by Holly Littlefield

Fire at the Triangle Factory by Holly Littlefield

Available for Purchase at: Amazon

Summary: This book is about two 14-year-old girls, Minnie a Jewish girl and Tessa an Italian Catholic girl, seamstress coworkers in a crowded work factory on the upper floors of a building in Greenwich Village (Now the Silver building on NYU’s campus) in 1911. One day a fire breaks out in the factory, resulting in the deaths of 146 workers. The book tells the story of the two girls struggle for survival. This historic event in history changed the labor laws and safety codes for the future generations.

My Opinion: I love this story because it tells a story of child labor, religious differences, and overlooked labor laws. It is a story of tragedy that results in social change. It also is very relevant for children in New York City because it tells of specific landmarks and communities that the children live in today.

Possible Topics: You could use this book for numerous lessons and unit studies! It covers topics of labor laws and how they were neglected and obscure before the fires. It covers child labor. It discusses the importance of safety and evacuation plans. It discusses the life of immigration work and New York City. It also talks about the religious differences and family opposition among the Catholics and Jewish communities of the early 20th century.

Lessons in literacy/ social studies:
· The students can role-play and write a letter from one of the girls’ perspective to the other girls’ perspective telling about why they think their parents dislike each other.
· Write diary entries from the girls’ perspective about the daily life in the factory or the day of the fire
· Write letters to the government officials to make labor laws stricter and enforced
Lessons in math/social studies:
· The students can research and calculate how much money the workers made at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory
· The students can calculate the ratio of how many people died in the fire and how many people were working there.
Lessons in Science/social studies:
· The students can research how the fire began and what caused the fire.
· What made the fire spread so rapidly?
· Brainstorm solutions and preventions that could have been enforced to prevent the fire.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Angel Child, Dragon Child

Angel Child, Dragon Child
By Michele Maria Surat

Ut is a new girl that has just come from Vietnam. The students in her class make fun of her because of her language and identity. She struggles attending school in the United States. Her mother is left behind Vietnam, but her once enemy, but now friend at school, gives her a big, great surprise at the end of the story that she will never forget.

1) This book would be great to read on the first day of school. It will allow students to understand how other students might feel on the first day. Students can also learn that English is not the first language for all students. The teacher can maybe speak in another language and ask the students how they felt when they heard the language. This will allow the students to think about how others would feel.
2) I also think this would be a great book to introduce the Asian culture. Since many students might assume that all Asians are Chinese, this book can lead to an Asian culture study. Students can learn that Asians are Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Taiwanese, Indonesian, Vietnamese, etc. I find that it is important to understand that concept.
3) This would also be a great book for students to understand what it means to help others. One of the characters in the book help Ut, the Vietnamese student, bring her mom to the States. This can help create a positive learning environment.

Social Justice Education:
I think this book mentions self-love and acceptance, respect for others, and taking social action. Students learn to love themselves and their culture, have respect for the cultures of others, and also learn the importance of helping others out.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Keeping Quilt

A little girl, Anna comes to America from Russia with her family. When her and her family's clothes don't fit anymore, they use scraps of it to make a beautiful quilt to remind them of backhome. The quilt served many purposes throughout the years, as a wedding huppa and wrapping the newborns of each generation. The quilt is passed on to each daughter.

This book is a great memoir piece that uses an item, the quilt as a unifier. It is also great for studying cultures, traditions, immigration and families. It explores the changes that most families go through after they immigrate to America.

1. Self Love and acceptance: the family is Jewish and passes on the traditions and cultures to each generation.
2. Respect for others: exploration of Jewish culture; throughout the generations, more people of other cultures are invited to the Jewish weddings.
3. Exploring issues of social justice: the symbolism of the quilt- all the things the family left behind to come to America and what identifies them.

Don't Laugh at Me!

This book, "Don't Laugh at Me", by Steve Seskin and Allen Shamblin, with illustrations by Glin Dibley, is really a book form of the song "Don't Laugh at Me!" by Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul, and Mary fame). It is an excellent resource for teaching an anti-bullying curriculum, as well as for the opposite of bullying, community building. It's hard to find in print (none of the book stores down here had it, but there was talk of the Barnes and Noble on 82nd...right...), but it IS still in print, and apparently comes with a recorded version of the song, which I think is really helpful for students who maybe can't read the words on their own.
My main concern with this book, however, is the fact that 'the chorus' says, "In G-d's eyes we're all the same", which is a really nice sentiment, but isn't great for community building if some students in your class don't believe in G-d or might get upset because they believe in another G-d or a different version OF G-d. I would try to find a more neutral way of expressing it - I was playing around with "in real life, we're all the same".

I believe this book hits the following levels of Social Justice Education:
1) Self-Love & Acceptance: it's okay to be different
2) Respect for Others: The basis of not bullying
3) Exploring issues of Social Justice: Why people get bullied, even though it's not okay OR their fault
4 & 5) dependin on how you use it: if you use it to discuss how a person's skin color has been a source of discrimination for hundreds of years, you could work this book in. If your students want to create a school-wide anti-bullying campaign, this would help.

Links: (a page with the actual song playing behind it!)

links reviewing the book:

Saturday, March 10, 2007

We Dream of a World

Title: We Dream of a World...
Authors: Scholastic; Classroom of students from University City, Missouri

This book is made by a classroom of students and dedicates a page to each social justice issue they wanted to focus on. Each page/topic includes facts and a few ideas of what we can do to help this issue. Some of the issues include hunger, homelessness, education, pollution and peace. This is a great way to not only introduce many topics of social justice to your class, but also to show them that kids can make a difference.

I would use this book to introduce and incorporate social justice themes into my classroom by reading a page/issue biweekly. This would give them a chance to brainstorm ideas of how they could help. They would then be encouraged to write letters, educate their peers, or incorporate other ideas and activities to take social action. This book could be incorporated into thematic units, or integrated into multiple areas such as literacy, math, or science and health. An example would be to look into a nutrition unit and encourage the school to sell healthier snacks in the lunchroom by writing letters to the school board.

This book covers three levels of social justice education. 3 because it shows issues of social injustice; 4 because it suggests ways for social change; and 5 because it encourages the opportunity to make a difference.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Dinner at Aunt Connie's House BY Faith Ringgold

This is a story about a young girl named Melody who goes to her aunt Connie’s house every summer for dinner and a special showing of her aunt’s artwork. Melody meets Aunt Connie’s adopted son Lonnie and they play hide and seek, in the house, before dinner. While playing hide and seek, they find Aunt Connie’s portraits of African American Women who have made great contributions to American History. The portraits talk to Melody and Lonnie; they tell both of them about their lives and how they contributed to American History. This book is great because it gives a brief description of these women and you can see how they look. This good contains a lot of valuable information that used in many different ways in the classroom.

This book can be utilized in the classroom by having students draw their own self portraits and write their own description of themselves. They can write about what contributions they made. This book could also be used as a starting point for research papers. Students could pick one woman they want to learn more about and they can research and make a presentation to the class. The students could even do a skit and act like the women they are researching. They could even act a dinner scene in which they students are portraying the women in this book. The students could also write something that they would want their portrait to say 50 years from now. How do they want to change the world? What do they want to be known for? The first woman to do… The first man to do… Being that the book was inspired by a quilt; the class can make a quilt out of their own portraits.

This book addresses all the stages of Social Justice Education.

A Friend Like Ed by Karen Wagner

Summary: Differences are celebrated and the value of real friends are learned. It is about two offbeat, lovable, unforgettable characters and their true and everlasting friendship.


1)Self-portraits & write about culture, interests, talents and what friendship means to you

2) Poetry Lesson

3) Write appreciation cards/letters

4) Civil Rights Movement

5) Racism, sexism, stereotypes

6) Community awareness- bringing differences together

7) Learning how to write detail


1) What does it mean to write from the heart?

2) What are you thankful for?

3) What makes you laugh so hard that you cry?

4) Are you a risk taker?

5) Embarrassing moments..

6) Strange hobbies

7) Talents

8) Times when you feel lonely...


Falls under all categories

Thursday, March 8, 2007

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

This book tells the story of a little girl named Wanda Petronski. She’s not like her classmates, she has a funny name and wears the same faded-blue dress to school every day. Though she wears the same dress everyday Wanda claims to have one hundred dresses lined up in her closet at home. Her claim among other things makes her a target for the bullying by several other girls in her class Eventually, the bullies come to find out that Wanda did have one hundred dresses and also find out how their teasing game effected Wanda.
I think this book addresses many issues related to social justice such as immigration, poverty, and bullying. I think it does a good job of showing how bullying does not always have to be a physical assault and that words can really hurt. I also like how these issues of social justice are intertwined and that the book addresses the effects these issues have on children.
This website offers some lessons on how to use the book to engage students in a discussion about having courage and standing up for things they know are wrong
I think this book addresses these levels of social justice: Stage 2 because it teaches students that people that are different from them have talents and qualities that they can appreciate. Stage 3 because it explores the issues of poverty, immigration/racism, and bullying. I think that this book could definitely be used to motivate students to work for change especially through such lessons that put them in a characters role and challenge the students to act in a way that may be different from their normal manner.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

My Painted House My Friendly Chicken and Me


Summary: The book is from the point of view of a 8 year old Ndebele girl from South Africa named Thandi, meaning hope. She describes her life in the village: her best friend who is a chicken, the houses that they paint in the village, and also the beads that her mother wears. She is asking the reader to embrace her life and become her friend. The photographs in the book are real photographs, making the reader feel so close to the village. The books is also interestingly designed because the layout of each page is very different. Not only do the layout of the pictures change but the fonts size and style also changes.

Activities: 1)Students can make a book about their culture and customs in the same form as this book. They can write it as if they were talking to Thandi or someone who has never experienced their lifestyle
2)Students can find similarities between their life and Thandi's life

3) Students can describe their best friends and what characteristics make a good friend

Social Justice Education:
This book addresses Respect for Others because it exposes kids to another culture and different It also addresses Self-Love and Acceptance because it teaches kids that being different is okay and one should be proud of it.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Fireboat: The Adventures of the John J. Harvey by Maria Kalman

Summary: Fireboat is the real-life story of the John J. Harvey, which was first launched in 1931. After many years of service fighting fires along the Hudson River, the boat was finally retired. In 1995, several New Yorkers bought and restored the old fireboat. This inspiring book tells how, and why, the Harvey was called into service again on September 11, 2001.

1)Students write a poem describing the characteristics of a hero
2)Students make appreciation cards for people who have jobs that impact the students' lives
3)Characteristics of Heroes: Write a list of character traits on the board (like bravery, intelligence, etc). Go through the character traits one at a time and discuss whether each particular trait would make a person a hero. Then have the group write down which of those traits they see in their friends and in themselves.
4) Empathy and Peace Building Activities
5) "If I Were a Hero, I Would…" Will they care about their friends, help their parents, be kind to people, say hello to neighbors? This exercise encourages students to think of themselves as heroes and feel good about it.

Social Justice Education: Covers all areas
Through the activities listed above, students will learn about self-love and acceptance, in addition to respecting and loving other people.

This book can also be used to discuss what happened on September 11th, andthe children can generate ideas on how the protect their country. What would they do if they were the President?

Sunday, February 11, 2007



"I See The Rhythm" is a very rich book with beautiful illustrations on the history of African American music. It goes into great detail how music has evolved over the past 500 years; from early 1500's to present day. Additionally, NYC's legendary Savoy Ballroom, the Apollo Theater, and the Cotton Club are given special focus.


This is a Wonderful book that provides the history of African American music alongside with information and dates of what has transpired historically. Igus makes it easy to connect history to each musical era.

Activity in Social Studies:

Students can work with maps of Africa and the U.S. and show how blacks originated in Africa and migrated to the U.S. They can then begin to connect the different musical eras that have evolved:
Slave Songs, Blues, Ragtime, Jazz, Swing, BeBop, Gospel, R&B, Rock-n-Roll, Funk, and Rap/Hip Hop.

Social Justice Education:

Students will learn self-love and acceptance as they learn about their own culture; respect for others as they learn about other cultures; exploring issues of social justice as racism, sexism, and classism are confronted; social movements and social change show how people have struggled for social change; and taking social action- students will understand how music has worked towards a non-violent social change.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Let's Talk About Race by Julius Lester

Summary: This book explores the issue of race and racism. What would happen if there was no race? Aren't we all the same? Each individual has their own story, and their race is just one part of their whole person. Filled with beautiful illustrations and uses more developed concepts of race.

Reflection: The book presents several stories of different people, and demonstrates how not everyone is the same, however, we all are still human, and therefore, we are all equal. This book gets across this idea strongly, and is a great source for discussion about race and concepts revolving around human equality. I would gear this book to children 2nd grade and above, for maximum advantage.

  • Each student creates a portrait of themselves, and explains their story.
  • Useful for debates about race and its existence in our society
  • Exercise in multiple perspectives and stories of individuals
  • Students create a play in which each child gives a monologue of their own story
  • Make a mural of all students, one with their skin color, and one without, showing that no matter what skin color an individual is, they have the same interests, etc.
**This book reflects all stages of the social justice pillars.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Harlem Stomp: A Cultural History of the Harlem Renaissance
By: Laban Carrick Hill

This is a non-fiction resource book. It is a compilation of texts on the Harlem Renaissance. It does not have to be read cover to cover, but can also be enjoyed in segments. It calls readers to think about this time period in American, and NYC history.

How I would use this:
This sheds light upon a very important question. This book asks, why it was necessary for there to be a Harlem Renaissance. Why was it a big deal that people from Harlem were creating wonderful things? This shouldn’t have been surprising, it should have been assumed that people from Harlem, just like all other people, would be creating stunning work. Through these questions a teacher can include this work in a studies ranging from slavery to contemporary race relations in the US. This book can be used for older grades, but can also be adapted and segmented to fit the needs of younger children. Teachers should use caution when utilizing this work, due to the fact that much of the material inside is sensitive and often not censored.


Social Justice Education:
I feel as if this book is an example of level four, Social Movements and Social Change. It discusses the Harlem Renaissance and provides students with the ability to access this time period.

*Posted for: Valerie Bracco*

The Village Basket Weaver

The Village Basket Weaver by Jonathan London takes place in a quaint Carib village in Belize. This is a touching story about young boy, Tavio, and his aging abuelo (grandfather), Carpio. Tavio spends time watching his grandfather work on weaving a basket used for preparing cassava bread (a bread native to Belize) and starts to realize that his grandfather is not as strong as he once was. At the same time abuelo wonders who will carry on this important Garifuna cultural tradition of basket weaving, since all the young boys in the town are leaving to find jobs in the city. The interesting characters in this story (of African and Carib Indian decent) have done a good job of preserving their cultural but they face increasing pressure from the industrial world to become more modernized.

How I would use this book:

∙ Unit on the importance of preserving culture/ embracing where we come from and who we are.
∙ Unit about breads from different countries
∙ A unit about the Caribbean and/or people from South America

Helpful Links:

Domains of Social Justice: 1) Self love and acceptance: Children learn to appreciate their own culture and the importance of preserving it. 2) Respect for Others: Children can learn about a culture that is very different from their own. 4) Social Movements and Social Change: Children see how cultures are being pressured to change due to globalization.

Thank you, Mr. Falker by, Particia Polacco

Summary: One of the most touching children's books I've read in recent memory. This book is very close to my heart since I can relate to the feeling that the character Tricia goes through. This autobiographical story by the great Patricia Polacco tells how "Tricia" overcame her reading problems with the help of a compassionate teacher. In the book, Tricia, who has a yearning to learn to read because of her family's love of learning, discovers that letters in books seem to be all just wiggling shapes. As Tricia moves through school, students call her dumb. She sadly begins to except their teasing and begins to believe she truly is dumb; until, Fifth Grade when she is blessed with an outstanding teacher, Mr. Falker.


  • I would use this book in the beginning on the school year as a read aloud to teach the students tolerance in the classroom. I want the students to understand that there is no reason for teasing and name calling especially in “our” classroom. After the read alond we would have a class discussion about the book and hurting peoples feelings.

  • It also can be used to show that everyone is different and its ok to be different. And as a class we could sit in a circle and tell something that makes us different from the rest and how that makes us all special. This is another activity that would be done in the beginning of the school year. This activity can also help us introduce ourselves in the beginning of the school year.

  • You can also have the kids go back to ther seats and write a letter to Tricia letting her know that its okay to be different and that she is not alone. Or they can also write about how they would feel if they were in Tricia's shoes.

Curricular units:

  • Tolerance (social studies)

  • Class room behaviors

  • Literacy

  • Self esteem (social issues)

Social Justice Education:

  • Self love and acceptance: This book shows the students that its ok to be different and that they sohould love themselves for who they are.

  • Respect for others: This book skows how they should have respect for others that are different then them reguardless of the difference and that everone should be treated the same way

  • Exploring issues of social justice: This book taught them how it felt to be put down all the time. It shouwed them a form of oppression.

  • Social movements and social change: This book really doesn't fit into this area of social justice.

  • Taking social action: This may show the students that its not right to tease and put other peole down. If they see that happening to someone one day they will have the strengh to help that person out that is getting teased and teach the peson who is doing the teasing something new.

Something Beautiful

Title: Something Beautiful

Author: Sharon Dennis Wyeth

This book, in my ,is a wonderful book that has the potential to leave students aware of the negative social situations that are evident in the community and how to change those situations as well. In this story there is a little girl that describes the different scenes of vandalism, homelessness, and danger in her neighborhood. The girl learns about the defintion of the word beautiful and that each person should have something beautiful in life. With htis in mind the little girl questions members of their community on what is beautiful to them, and finds that everyone has something they treasure for a different reason. In the end the girl decides that she will clean up her neighborhood as a start of making the world beautiful.

Social Justice: I feel that this book fits stages 4 and 5 of the Social Justice track.

Book Club Blog: Fly Away Home

The Streets are Free

The Streets are Free
Story byKurusa
Illustrated by Monika Doppert
Translated by Karen Englander
This is the story of the children of the Venezuelan barrio of San Jose. It is the story of their protest to get a place to play.
This book can be used in all elementary grades- the only difference would be the complexity of the conversations that followed the reading.
Suggested topics for discussion: equity (is it fair that the children have no place to play?); urban development (what does it mean, what effects does it have on space and the community etc); politics and "the system" (how do the students use the system, why does the mayor forget about their project after elections are over?);empowerment- even though they are children they are able to organize and fight for their rights and affect change.
This book can be used specifically to teach reading strategies (empathizing, questioning, empathizing) it can be used as a provocative text to encourage writing and it can also be used as part of social studies units on various topics. PS I just discovered that there is a teachers guide for this book as well (although I cannot vouch for it as I have only seen it online)

Elena's Serenade by Campbell Geeslin

Summary: Elena's Serenade by Campbell Geeslin is a book about a young girl who one day asks her father to teach her how to be a glassblower like him. Her father responds by saying, "You are too little, Elenita, and the hot glass might burn you. Besides, who ever heard of a girl glassblower (p. 4)?" Her brother encourages her to follow her dreams and go to Monterrey, Mexico where the great glassblowers are. She takes this suggestion by dressing up like a boy and heads off to Monterrey. Throughout her journey she plays various Mexican songs through her pipe. Her songs help various different animals who are going through their own struggles. By the time she reaches Monterrey, she proves to herself to be a worthy glassblower and impresses all the great male glassblowers. She returns home and proves to her father that young girls like her can blow glass.

Reflection: This is book was a great book for several reasons. First, the illustrations by Ana Juan are beautiful. Second, the book is about gender issues. Elena's character is a great role model and example for young girls. She not only proves her father wrong, but she also displays courage and bravery when she journeys through the wilderness all by herself. In addition, she helps many animals along the way who voice their admiration to her. Finally, the book has many Spanish words and Mexican songs in it. The book provides English translations on the first page.
How would I use the book/Curriculum Units: This book is just a great book to read, because of the illustrations and story. This book could begin a discussion about gender issues, Mexican culture/experiences, stereotypes, Spanish vocabulary, Mexican songs, and glassblowing. I could also use this book to discuss literary elements such as plot, character development, conflict, point of view, etc.
Domains of Social Justice: 1) Self-love and acceptance- Children can learn about Mexican culture as well as female self-empowerment. Elena, a young Mexican girl, is a character who proves her capabilities to both her father and to herself. 2) Respect for Others: Children learn how one girl earned her respect by go against female stereotypes. 3) Exploring Issues of Social Justice: The main point of this book is to address issues of sexism. 4) Social Movements and Social Change: Children learn how Elena stood up for herself and proved to her father and others that she could be a great glassblower. 5) Taking Social Action: Students can begin to think about stereotypes and what they can actively do to change those stereotypes.


Sadako, by Eleanor Coer, is about a young Japanese girl diagnosed with leukemia because of the dropping of the atomic bomb. Sadako is told that if she folds 1000 paper cranes, the gods will make her well again. Sadako dies before folding 1000 cranes, but her friends finish folding the rest so that she could be buried with them. After her death, a statue dedicated to peace was created in her honor.

When students read Sadako's story and the ways in which the dropping of the atomic bomb adversely affected her, they will be able to connect to a child from across the world, someone from another place and culture. They will learn to show compassion towards people of all races and cultures. I would use this book to begin discussions about war, specifically World War II. The book teaches students that war affects people long after it has ended. It also teaches them that war harms real people and that many of them are children.

In terms of social justice, this book relates to levels 2 and 4. It teaches them to respect other cultures and explores issues of war.

If You Lived When There Was Slavery in America

If You Lived When There Was Slavery in America by Anne Kamma, describes the intense moments of hardship that slaves faced, and their dedication and determination to be free. This book addresses more than fifty questions about the life conditions of a slave in America. Were all slaves brought over from Africa? What did slaves wear? Did slaves go to school? How would slaves find out the latest news? Could you be made a slave even if you were free? The answers to the questions are honest, straightforward, and simplified for students in the 4th - 5th grade to understand what occurred during the years of slavery.
I was interested in this book because it addressed numerous questions I had as a child, as well as questions my 5th grade students wondered about when they learned about people who fought against slavery, such as Harriet Tubman and Fredrick Douglass. I would use this book to motivate students to think of questions they have about slavery (small group activity) and discuss where they will find the information. What book, magazine, and website address their questions. This activity will encourage students to critically think, ask questions, and explore resources.
This book could be used effectively to address the five social justice education. Students will learn about traditions, values, and ways they can take social action

Big Al and Shrimpy

Title: Big Al and Shrimpy
Author: Andrew Clements
Summary: This book is the story of Big Al, a big fish, and his friend Shrimpy. The fish are friends despite their differences. When a problem arises and Big Al finds himself in trouble, Shrimpy is able to gather all of the fish together to save his friend.
Reflection: With its beautiful pictures and likeable characters, this book is a great way to bring up the subjects of differences, cooperation, and making a difference to a young class. Students see characters who are friends despite their differences, fish working together, and that even the smallest fish can make changes. The illustrations and simple words clearly depict how characters feel and seem to be an excellent starting point for a discussion on any of mentioned topics.
-The book could be read at the beginning of the year to encourage respect and cooperation in the classroom.
-The book could be read to motivate students to advocate for a change.
-If a class is doing an ocean study, this book could be tied in to motivate students to take action on a real issue occurring in the ocean.
-The book could be used to expand adjective use for students and encourage description by having students describe the characters as many ways as possible.
-Science could be investigated by having students look up different types of fish. Students also might investigate the real problems in the ocean if they are motivated by the story. Levels of
Social Justice Education:
I-Students learn they are part of a community.
II-Students learn to respect differences.
V-Students are motivated tomake a difference.
Links: Amazon

Check out Big Al:

Families Are Different

Families Are Different by Nina Pellegrini

Summary: Nico and her older sister are adopted from Korea. One day, Nico is sad because her parents look different from her. She starts noticing that there are other families who do/do not look like one another. Nina Pellegrini(author) illustrated different types of families that we see these days.


I liked this book because it was not all about adoption. I feel like there are enough(?) books about just adoption. Pellegrini did not a good job of making sure that the story is about importance of family.


For younger grades (k-2), it would be a great read aloud to study about family. Children could share that family does not always mean mom, dad, sister/brother who all look a like. Because the book does not mention gay parents, it would be a good conversation to bring up after the read aloud.


I thought of perhaps asking the students if they think it is 'correct' to call 'Parent-Teacher Conference'-- If our school is calling it that, perhaps we gather ideas to change it to be something else. Since the conference is not always between a parent and the teacher.

Possible Activity --- Family Graph

Monday, February 5, 2007

Freedom on the Menu

Freedom on the Menu by Carole Boston Weatherford is a wonderful book about a family dealing with segregation during a time when things were all about to change. In the story a young girl's family is involved in many different aspects of standing up for themselves and their beliefs. Her brother is even a part of the Greensboro Sit-Ins.

I thought that this book was not only a great read but had a wonderful message behind it. Unlike some other books on civil rights and segregation that I have read, this book adds the element of social action that is encouraging for students and can be turned into a major social aciton project by teachers. There are tons of activities/lessons that can be generated from this book. A wonderful discussion about taking action against racism, prejudice and bullying occured in my classroom after I read this book to my 6th graders.

Additionally, this book addresses the Social Justice stages 3, 4 and 5.

Subway Sparrow by Leyla Torres

An English-speaking girl, a Spanish-speaking man, and a Polish speaking woman might not be able to hold a conversation, but they will be able to work together to help a city sparrow escape from the subway car.
I highly recommend this book because students will relate to it since the setting-- a subway-- will be very familiar to city kids. The mixture of different languages adds multicultural value to the book.

1. Discussion about how language does not have to be a barrier for different people to work together.

2. Students can write their own story in a different native language or try to write in any other language they know.

3. Read the Spanish version of the book: Gorrion del Metro. Then you can do a compare and contrast activity through Venn Diagrams, etc.

Social Justice Education domains:
This book addresses Respect for Others because it exposes kids to other cultures and different languages.
This book addresses Self-Love and Acceptance because it teaches kids that speaking different languages or being different is okay as they cooperate with each other.

Units: Science Connection
It can be used with writing, literature, and even science. Kids can explore the different birds found in the New York City and learn how these creatures survive in the city. Then kids can engage in various activities about habitats and how they can help city animals like the sparrow survive in a busy city.

It's Our World, Too! (Young People Who are Making a Difference)

It's Our World, Too!
Young People Who Are Making a Difference, How They Do It- How YOU Can, Too!
Author: Phillip Hoose


This book contains accounts of various young adults who have fought to make a difference in the workplace, to demand children’s labor rights, to promote social and cultural equality, and to raise environmental awareness. It is a guide that can help encourage young children to work for positive changes in their communities. This book also contains a handbook for children on how they, too, can become activists for a better future.

I think it would be refreshing for students to read about how others, who are the same age as them, are changing the world into a more positive place because many of the heroes and civil rights activists they read about in textbooks are adults. Young students may be able to relate to the activists portrayed in this book and may also be inspired to make a difference themselves, especially with the advice offered in the handbook on how one can become more involved.

Sections of this book can be introduced to the class during units of study on activism (social, environmental, etc.).

Levels of Social Justice Education:
I, II, III, IV, V (All Levels)

Related Book: We Were There, Too! (Teacher’s Guide)

Faithful Elephants by Yukio Tsuchiya is a wonderful story that reveals the sad truth about what happened to animals at the zoo during times of war. There were three elephants and other animals that had to be put to sleep because the zoo keepers were scared that if bombs were to drop on the zoo that those animals would run around the city and hurt people.

This story shows that it was not only human beings that were being effected by the war. Animals, too, are being effected by the war. This story can be used in the classroom to show other perspectives of war. Discussions can be lead by this book. Topics such as the feelings of these animals; the feelings of the soldiers. The students can explore deeper issues of the interaction between humans, animals, and war. They will understand that they all are related in many ways.

Stages of SJE: Respect for others is covered in this book because the soldiers really did not want to kill those elephants. Exploring the issues of Social Justice is covered in this book because this book deals with how the animals were killed for not a very reliable reason.

The book is available at