Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Whoever You Are by Mem Fox

Title: Whoever You Are
Author: Mem Fox

Summary: This beautiful picture books talks about how children all over the world have differences (ie: color, race, education, homes, etc), but that every child shares a common ground. Every child loves, laughs, smiles, and cries.

Reflection: The reason why I really liked this book was because it was very simple yet, very meaningful. The author does explain that every child is different, but the author also mentions the similarities all children have. This would be a great story for the first day of school or even just for a read a loud. I would use this book to help create a comfortable, safe, learning environment that embraces all differences. The illustrations are absolutely beautiful and the book is very engaging.

Activities: I would read this book before the students make self-portraits. I would ask the students to list their unique traits and ask them to express those traits in their self-portraits. Then, I would make a Venn Diagram to show similarities and differences students have in the classroom. Students can even make a Venn Diagram with just a partner. One student can write their traits in one circle and the other student can write their traits in another circle. In the middle, they can write the similar traits that they share. This activity would help students to appreciate themselves and also learn about their peers. I would also have them do a writing assignment in relation to their self-portrait. The students would write and explain what they drew in their self-portraits. This would be a great way for students to take pride in their work and in themselves. I would also make copies of the picture on the cover of this book. I would ask the students to write what they think the picture means. Students would share some of their ideas and interpretations.

SJE: This book fits into the stages of social justice education. Through this book, children can learn about themselves, their culture, their personality, etc. They are also given the opportunity to learn about others and appreciate others. This book can lead to a discussion on social issues like racism and discrimination, which then brings the opportunity to talk about social movements and social action.

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