Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Sneetches

The Sneetches is yet another classic by Dr. Seuss that addresses issues of social justice. There are two kinds of Sneetches, “Star-bellied” Sneetches, and “Plain-bellied” Sneetches. The “Star-bellied” Sneetches get to play on the beach and have picnics and the “Plain-bellied” Sneetches can only sit and watch. Eventually Sylvester McMonkey McBean brings a machine that puts stars on the “Plain-bellied” Sneetches. Eventually, no one knows who had a star belly and who had a plain belly and the conflict is resolved. Obviously, this is not going to get the students riled up to go out and save the world, but it is a great way to facilitate a discussion about treating all people as equals regardless of race, class, sex, religion or sexual orientation.

This book addresses the second level of social justice because it encourages children to embrace people regardless of simple differences. One of the reasons I love this book is because it is a great way to begin talks of social justice with a group of young children who may be unfamiliar with the fact that in this world many people are treated unfairly.
  • Read the story-split students up into "Star-bellied" Students and "Plain-bellied" students, have them role play and have a discussion about how it feels to be treated not as equals.
  • Have the students take the perspective of the "Plain-bellied" Sneetches and write letters to the "Star-bellied" Sneetches expressing how they feel about the way they are treated.

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