Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Uptown Cover
Uptown, by Bryan Collier

The book is about a little boy, name unknown, and all the things he loves about Harlem (or Uptown). We learn about Chicken and Waffles, the Metro North Station, and shopping on 125th St. The book is done in almost a cut and paste/collage style, and is very visually appealing.
I would use this book in several different ways. I would definitely use it as a Read Aloud. One activity I would do is have the students write about all the things they love about their neighborhood (this could be Downtown, South Side, East Harlem, etc). They could cut and paste pictures from places around their neighborhood or cut and paste other forms of art.
Then the kids could share their stories with each other. This project could also be done in the same art form around different cultures in the classroom. THe students could talk about different things they love
This story could also launch a research project about Harlem. This could encourage students to research Harlem's history; for example, shopping on 125th St today is far different than it was when this book is probably set. Gentrification has set in.
This book revolves around the first two levels of social justice education, depending on the audience. Self love and acceptance is addressed in a classroom set in Harlem because children learn about their own culture. Respect for Others is addressed if the book is read to a class outside of Harlem or predominately white students, because is strengthens intercultural competence about the Harlem neighborhood.

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