Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Selavi, That is Life: A Haitian Story of Hope

Selavi, That is Life: A Haitian Story of Hope
Author: Youme Landowne

This book tells a story of Selavi, an orphan boy who finds himself homeless on the streets of Haiti. While living on the streets, he meets another boy named Tifre, who introduces Selavi to other homeless children who are willing to share their food and a place to sleep. Throughout the book, Selavi and his friends face many struggles, however together they overcome such challeges, through their strong determination and the help of a local church.

In the classroom:
This book can be used in many ways in a classroom. This book can be used as a read aloud to begin a unit on Haiti or a unit of the world countries. It can help segway into the conditions that some children are living in in Haiti. It is important that the students not look at Haiti in pity, but in ways to spread knowledge of these conditions. This book also can be used to try to build a community within the classroom. This book does a great job shedding light into the ideas of differences in social class and stereotypes. Not only does this book highlight the differences but it also shows that among the differences of people there are also similarities and that all people can get along. This book can help students to find things that can help them relate to each other. This book could help students look past social class as well as color of skin and typical generalizations that they may come across.

Social Justice Education:
What is unique about this book is that the later stages of social justice education are heavily discussed rather than earlier ones which we have seen so many times before in other texts. The reader is forced to delve right into the third stage of Exploring Issues of Social Justice. The first sentence ends, "leaving a small child alone in the world." The unfair conditions some children experience in Haiti are exemplified in this text. At one point each child recounts their own traumatic injustices they have experienced and the hardships they have faced. A powerful metaphor that recurs is though each child alone is a single drop of water, together they make can be a mighty river. The children work together not once but twice to take social action, the final stage of social justice education. They make the change to help save children's lives by building a place for those youngsters without homes to find refuge. Though their new dwelling is destroyed, again they come together to once more take action for social change. This time their efforts are doubled. A radio tower is built and they are able to send out a message to the public. "We will write out messages in the air where they cannot be painted out." The children not only take action but implore others to do so as well. This book is an excellent resource to use within a social justice curriculum.

To purchase and for more information:

BY: Alexis, Hanna, and Josephine

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