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Amanda Kronenberger

December 8, 13
Classroom Library
EDCI443 Swan

Part 1
The main goal of my classroom library is inclusivity. I feel there should be a book
that every student can relate to in some way. While this is difficult to touch on every
topic in 15 books, I will keep in mind what I am missing so that I can build on it in the
future. My library is made up of numerous picture books which all have elements of high
quality childrens literature. Picture books are intended to be read out loud to a child by
an adult as the child follows along with the illustration. Keeping a child engaged and
interested in a story requires numerous different elements. The words of the story and
illustrations must work together to successfully tell, enhance and/or expand on a story.
The text must be simple enough for the child to understand, while sparking the childs
interest as well. (Horning, 85-88) Most importantly, in my opinion, books must also be
evaluated based on the word the children live in, to see if it addressed any social justice
issues, and how.
Children have limits to how much they can understand, so the story cannot be
presented in a way that is too sophisticated. Horning says the text should be short and get
to the point, so lengthy descriptions are pointless. (Horning, 88) While I believe this to be
true for some stories, others cannot be presented in such a way. While the text should be
simple, the length should not be restricted to being short, because the story may not be
able to be told in a just a few words per page.
Another important thing to understand when evaluating picture books it is not just
what the story is about, but also how the story is told. This is called the structure of the
book. For example, rhyme and repetition are features of structure. Rhyming helps a child
pay attention to the story because it keeps them actively engaged in listening. (Horning,
90) Every time the child hears a familiar word or phrase, they are brought back into the
story. By using the same sentence structure, actions, or phrases, the child can easily
follow and predict what will come next.
Aside from the way the text is structured, the illustrations are just as important, as
this is what the children will be following. The illustrations must be visually appealing,
while directly relating to the story as it is being told. They are important to keep the child
entertained as the story is being read out loud, as well as offering another way for
children to follow along. Examining an illustrators work critically will allow you to see
the illustrators intent in the pictures. It may tell the readers something about the
characters, show action or depict a mood the reader may not feel even in the reading.
(Horning, 100) The illustrator can use lines, shapes, colors or many other elements to
bring attention to or away from things in a picture to convey a message.
One of the most important things to remember when selecting books for a
classroom is that you must be inclusive. Most classrooms are very diverse and all the
children in your classroom will come from numerous different backgrounds and will have
been raised in many specific ways. It is our job to present books in which they can all
learn from and relate to. Some books may present a social justice issue, such as race,
ethnicities, sustainability or gender representation. It is important to analyze whether the
books challenges or perpetuates these concepts. While all books may not present such
issues, it is important to closely analyze the ones that to make sure they are appropriate,
unbiased and accurate.
Part 2
Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman (Grades 1-3)
Amazing Grace is the story of a young African American girl named Grace, who
was told she could not play Peter Pan in her school performance because one, she is a girl
and two, because she is black. Faced with discrimination by her peers, Grace is
determined to earn the role, regardless of the stereotypes she may face. This story teaches
students that no matter who they are or what people say, they can accomplish their goals.
The illustrations represent African Americans accurately and correlate with the story
being told very well, which is good for the students following along with the story. This
is an inspiring book that shows the determination of a young girl to rise above prejudice.
Gender representation and racism are presented in such a way that students will learn that
no matter who you are or what people say, you must rise above.
Cinder Edna by Ellen Jackson
Cidner Edna tells the story of two young women, Cinderella and Cinder Edna,
who are both forced to work for their wicked stepfamilies. The difference between the
two is that Cinder Edna has much better values than Cinderella, and in the end lives a
much happier, humble life with a man who shares similar values. This book is a great
spin on the classic Cinderella stories that can send young girls the wrong message about
what is important in life. Cinder Edna teaches the importance of independence and that
there are many more important things than appearance in life. Personality and values are
proved to be much more meaningful in the end. This book is high quality because it is
both entertaining for the student, and the adult reading the story. While the text is long,
the pictures correlate very well so that the student can follow along with the story.
Nine Days to Christmas- a Story of Mexico by Marie Hall Ets and Aurora Labastida
Nine days to Christmas tells a story of the preparation for the holiday from the
perspective of a five-year-old Mexican girl and how Christmas is celebrated in her
Mexican town. This story will show a different perspective from the usual Christmas
stories students are probably used to hearing and may be the way that one of the students
in the class celebrates the holiday. The girl, Cici, is finally old enough to attend her first
posada, which is a party held on every night for the nine days before Christmas. Students
will learn Mexican traditions, values and culture through this book. Nine Days to
Christmas was the winner of the Caldecott Medal in 1960, which supports the quality of
the book. While the award was given many years ago, the information is still relevant to
Mexican Culture because this is still carried on today. On December 3, nine days of
public prayer is begun in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe, which ends on December 12
with a large feast. This book also introduces students to Mexican language.
Grandfathers Journey by Allen Say
Grandfathers Journey tells the story of a mans life living in both Japan and
California, form the perspective of his grandson who goes on to follow in his footsteps.
He realizes that when he is one country, he longs for the other, which is the conflict that
his Grandfather was facing at the end of his life. The main theme of this books is how the
two cultures are blended, that of Japan and America. Students who have come to
America from different countries can relate to this, as well as students who have parents
from different countries. The illustrations by Say are very beautiful and show why the
men had such trouble living away from each culture. With one sentence per page that
correlate with the pictures, students will be able to follow with the story, while also
learning through these cultural experiences.
Mufaros Beautiful Daughters, an African Tale by John Steptoe
Winner of the Caldecott Honor, Mufaros Beautiful Daughters, tells the story of
Nyasha and Manyara, Mufaros two daughters. Everyone in the village knows that
Nyasha is very kind and selfless, while Manyara was the opposite, with a horrible temper.
Manyara is always telling Nyasha that her kindness shows weakness and one day she
would be her servant. When the great King of the city called for a wife, Manyaras
selfishness was shown and Nyasha become the wife of the king, because he saw her
beauty inside and out. Steptoe created a modern folktale that teaches students the
importance of kindness. This story also exposes students to the historic culture of South
Africa, accompanied by very high quality illustrations, which is why it was awarded the
Caldecott honor. The illustrations are very warm and use earth tones to successfully
create beautiful imagery of the people, as well as the land.
The Boy Who Lived With The Bears and Other Iroquois Stories told by Joseph
Bruchac
Joseph Bruchac is a very high quality author because his unique retold Native
American stories teach numerous important morals. This book includes the stories,
Rabbit and Fox, The Boy Who Lived with the Bears, How the Birds Got Their Feathers,
Turtle Makes War on Man, Chipmunk and Bear and Rabbits Snow Dance. All students
can relate with the stories, especially those from Native American backgrounds. The Boy
who Lived with the Bears tells a story of a young boy whos family passed away and is
forced to live with his uncle who treats him horribly, so the boy finds love in a family of
bears. The moral of the story is to teach adults to always treat their children with love and
compassion, like a bear treats his cubs. Stories like this have been passed down through
many generations of Native Americans and are major part of their culture. These stories
are high quality because people of all ages and relate and learn from them. This story
benefits my classroom because it touches on the issue of child abuse, which may be
something children face at home. Opening up a discussion like this can make a child feel
comforted and supported, so they are willing to seek help from the teacher.
I Like the Way You Areby Eve Bunting
This story is about two turtles that are best friends, despite their differences.
Spottie and Turtle are both good at doing certain things, but also bad at doing others, like
most people. They always except this and encourage each other regardless, which is why
they have a great friendship. Their attitude is displayed through this quote- Isnt it
nice? Turtle said. One turtle is good at one thing. Another turtle is good at something
else. His friend agreed, Together we are good at twice as many things. This is a great
book for young students to be exposed to because it teaches a valuable lesson of
friendship. If their friend is bad at something, they may immediately start making fun of
them, which can hurt their feelings. However, they must realize that everyone has
strengths and weaknesses, and true friends are accepting of these. This book can be tied
in to the social justice issue of bullying because it shows the opposite of how a bully
would behave, which is the right way. It encourages students to be supportive of one
another, rather than bully someone because of their weaknesses. Also, this book features
repetition, which keeps students actively engaged. Bunting writes, Turtle was very good.
Spottie was not. If they are distracted, the familiar line brings them back into the story.
Smokey Night by Eve Bunting
Winner of the Caldecott Medal in 1995, Bunting tells the story of a Mother and
her son when rioters break into and burn down surrounding shops. Eventually, they have
to evacuate their building because they set fire to it as well and Daniel has to leave
without finding his cat. They take refuge in a local church where he discovers that Mrs.
Kim, the woman who owns the market across the street whom they do not get along with,
has lost her cat as well. Daniels mom and her do not get along due to cultural differences
and whenever their cats meet, they fight and hiss at each other. This book brings out the
social justice issue of racism, because both are unaccepting of each other. Although race
is not identified in the text, Daniel says his mom does not want to go to her market
because, its better if we buy from our own people. When at the church, a firefighter
comes in with both cats that were found hiding together, holding paws. Daniels
mother suggests to Mrs. Kim that she can her cat come over one day, showing that they
are settling their difference, just as the cats have seemed to do. Smokey Night teaches
children that it is not right to judge others, based on culture. This book is based on the
Los Angeles Riots, which can be a difficult topic to discuss with children., however, from
the perspective of a child can, it becomes much more clear to them.
How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon? By Jane Yolen
How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon is a story that asks this question throughout-
what do they do when they are sick? This book is very entertaining because it features
large dinosaurs experiencing what all kids go through when they are sick. Yolen says,
Does he drop his dirty tissues all over the floor. Does he fling all his medicine out of the
door? At the start of the book, the dinosaurs are not doing the right thing while they are
sick, then it transitions to them cooperating, like taking their medicine without a fight. All
children can relate to being sick and not wanting to do the right thing, but they have to if
they want to get well, like the dinosaurs. The rhyming in the book keeps students
engaged and adds to the flow. Each picture shows and labels a different type of dinosaur,
so it is also informative.
The Random House Book of Poetry for Children selected by Jack Prelutsky
This book contains 572 poems for children, with a variety of difference topics and
authors. With such a variety of poems, there is something in this book for everyone. It
features many credible authors, such as Shel Silverstien and Dr. Suess. This book would
be great to have in the classroom because there are poems for boys and girl of all
different cultures of back rounds. Poetry is a very important form of literature that
students should become familiar with
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
This picture book is about two boy Penguins, Roy and Silo, who live at the
Central Park Zoo and fall in love. Like the other couples, Roy and Silo want to have a
baby, and with some help from the zookeeper, they are able to have a family of their own.
This book is great for children who come from families that have two moms, or two dads.
It also shows other children that this type of family structure is not odd, just different
from their own. Tango, Roy and Silos son, is given just as much love and care as others
do from their caregivers. This book is high quality because of the powerful message it
sends, as well as the illustrations. It shows all different types of families visiting the zoo
and coming to see the penguin exhibit. This is important to share because it shows
students that families come in all different forms. The social justice issue of sexual
orientation is introduced in this book. While younger students may not be able to
understand this yet, the notion is given to them at an early age that people should not be
judged by who they love, and do be accepting of this.
So Far from the Sea by Eve Bunting
So Far from the Sea tells the story of a young Japanese girl who visits an old
Japanese Relocation Camp, where her father lived as a boy and where her grandfathers
grave now is. Bunting describes what happened, from the fathers point of view, not with
anger, but forgiveness. He says that it is just a thing that happened long ago that cannot
be changed now, so they must put it behind them. He explains to his children that after
the Japanese attacked America, there were a lot of fears. It was mean of the
government force them to live in the camps, but it was also mean of the Japanese to
attack America. The pictures in this book are very high quality because the features of the
Japanese were done very accurately and with much detail. Additionally, the pictures of
the family visiting the camp were in color, and all the pictures of the fathers memories
were painted in black and white. This makes it clear to children what the camp looked
like in the past, as well as how it looks now, which will help the follow along with the
story. This is especially helpful because this book has a lot of text. So Far from the Sea is
a great way of explaining to young students what happened in history after the Japanese
attacked Pearl Harbor in 1942, when people of Japanese ancestry living on the West
Coast were forced in relocation camps, regardless if they were American citizens. It
would be very helpful if tied into a social studies lesson on this topic.
Kate and the Beanstalk by Mary Pope Osborne
Kate and the Beanstalk tells the story of a young girl who goes against an evil
giant in order to save herself and her mother from starving. This is a twist on the original
fairy tale, Jack and the Beanstalk, with a female heroine. This book is high quality
because it empowers girls, who are not always represented as strong and brave characters
in books. Kate is smart and witty, so she is able to outsmart the giant and gather the
objects she needs that he has stolen. Kate and the Beanstalk challenges gender
stereotypes by presenting a female heroine, rather than the usual male, Jack. Osborne
uses repetition throughout this book, which keeps students actively engaged. Every time
Kate goes back up to the Giants castle, the story line is the same with slight variations,
depending on what object Kate is trying to capture. Another high quality aspect of the
books is that the text varies depending on how loud or soft the reader should be speaking.
For example, when the Giant speaks the words enlarged and bold. Also, as Kate climbs
the beanstalk the words are vertical and get larger as she climbs higher.
I f the World Were a Villageby Shelagh Armstrong
If the World Were a Village introduces students that various culture we have
around the globe. This book breaks down the world into a village of a 100 people, with
what languages would be spoken, religions practiced, the types of education people
would receive, how much food and water would be available, as well as many other
issues that are important for students to be aware of. For example, there would be some
kids who would not be able to go to school, who would not have enough food; some
would be very poor while others would be rich. All of these are examples of social justice
issues. There are many underprivileged people in this make believe village, just as there
are in the world. Armstrong makes sustainability a large theme by explaining that there is
only so much the village can offer us and we should not take it for granted. The book will
open students minds to the world around them and force them to think outside of only
where they live.
Tell Me Again about the Night I was Born by Jamie Lee Curtis
Tell Me Again About the Night I was Born is the story of a young adopted girl
who loves hearing the stories about the day her parents came and picked her up. While
this may not be how most people come into a family, the girl cherishes these memories
and the family she has. This book is important to present to a class for students who may
have been adopted so that they can relate, as well as showing students who werent how
these families are just as special. The child feels connected to the day she was given to
her parents, rather than upset that feeling disconnect because she is adopted. She asks her
parents about flying on the plane to come pick her up, as well as the first day they spent
together as a family. This book is high quality for many reasons, including the bright
illustrations that children will love, as well as the incorporation of humor that adults can
appreciate as well. The social justice issue of adoption is handled very well and with
great simplicity that makes the love the family has for each other, regardless of the
circumstances, very apparent.
Part 3
While I attempted to be as inclusive as possible so that all students could find a
book that relates to them well, there are some major gaps in my library. Culturally, there
are not books that relate to students coming from the Middle East specifically. They are
talked about briefly in, If the World Were a Village, but I do not think this is enough. This
could be upsetting to children because if they do not see characters that are like them, it
could deter them from finding a connection with literature. To fill this gap I would have
to do extensive research to find books with characters that show positive representations
of Middle Eastern peoples, both through text and pictures. Unfortunately, sometimes
people Middle Eastern people are attached with negative connotations in our country. I
would like students to break this trend. I would use a book like this not only for Middle
Eastern students, but for other students, to show this culture positively in hopes that to
change any negative things students may have been taught to think about this culture.
Another gap I have in my library is there is no representation of children who have
disabilities. One book I would have liked to include is, Dont Call Me Special, by Pat
Thomas. I have heard great things about this book and it would make students who were
in the class with disabilities more connected to literature, as well as the other students in
the class. I would also look into other books that cover this topic. I think it is important to
show these books to also teach students who do not have disabilities about them and how
not to look down upon those who do, but accept them for who they are.
Part 4- Cinder Edna by Ellen Jackson
Social Justice Issue: Gender Roles and Representation
Before reading this book with the class, the students will spend a class period
watching Disneys Cinderella. This will be more relative at the end of the lesson plan.
Next, I will read the book Cinder Edna to the class. After this, students will be given a
worksheet that Ive attached to the document and asked to fill out a Venn diagram to
compare and contrast Cinderella and Cinder Edna, as well as the two men, Randolph and
Rupert. There are a list of questions the students should be answering as they fill out the
chart. The Venn diagram will allow students to examine the multiple perspectives in the
book, as well as examine the relationships between all four of the characters. What I
expect students to get out of this activity is what each character values in life and how
this affects them. I will lead this discussion with the class, bringing out aspects of critical
literacy. Through this book, we can see the perspectives of the characters on what is
important in life. Based on this, the characters have expectations about how their life will
be. For Cinderella, her life ends up being very different from what she predicted. For
example, Cinderella and Randolph are both descried to be very good looking and they
both value appearance. They are attracted to each other based on appearance, and both
think appearance will help them get to where they want to be in life. In the end,
Cinderella is unhappy because her life is boring and all she does is follow around King
Randolph. However, Cinder Edna, who is described as, wasnt much to look at, ended
up with a very happy life. This is because Cinder Edna valued what was important, which
is personality and high values, which led her to falling in love with Rupert.
Randolph, who is going to be the next king, is seen as very powerful in the book.
His younger brother, Rupert, who did not have nearly as much power as Randolph, was
the brother who ended up happiest. Randolph put him down by saying, Just ignore him,
hes only my younger brother, Rupert. He lives in a cottage in the back and runs the
recycling plant and a home for orphaned kittens. However, as we know, these are values
to be admired in someone, which is what the class will learn from this. Next, I would ask
the class to reflect on what the common assumptions are challenged in this book, which is
that appearance is everything. The students will see, through their Venn diagrams, that
this is very untrue. (Principle #1:Challenging common assumptions and values Principle
#2: Exploring multiple perspectives, and imagining those that are absent or silenced.
Principle #3: Examining relationships, particularly those involving differences in power)
After this discussion, students will realize the problems with the Cinderella story
they watched before we read this book, which is the same as the character Cinderella in
this book, and want to do something about it. I would have the students write a letter to
Disney, telling them how the Cinderella story portrays women negatively. Also, how are
men represented in the movie? If not enough, then explain. They would have to name
three instances throughout the movie in specific that they believed portrayed negative
representation. Next, they would summarize some qualities of Cinder Edna and Rupert
that showed positive representations of women and men, (these can be taken from the
Venn diagrams) and what they learned from this book, as opposed to the negative aspects
they would have taken from the movie. (Principle #4: Using literacy practices to take
action for social justice)
Books should reflect the culture that students are living in. (Collier 325)
Unfortunate, in todays culture, through classic stories like Cinderella and what children
are seeing in the media everyday, value of appearance is a major part of American
culture. Cinder Edna challenges this assumption and allows students to see the issue in it.
While Through the Looking Glass is an article that discusses African American Literature
and how it is beneficial in immersing students into their culture, the same is true for every
culture, even to show the flaws of it. (Collier 235) Collier says that literature should
expose students to the values within society, what are acceptable behaviors, and what it
means to be a good citizen. (Collier 237) Cinder Edna does exactly this by showing the
behaviors of difference types of people and allows them to decide which are acceptable.
It show an example of a good citizen, Rupert, who values recycling to help the planet
very much, which is very important according to Wolk, who says social responsibly
should be taught in classrooms. (Wolk, 33) Wolk says that literature should empower
children to imagine a better word. In addition, it should encourage students to talk about
the issues in our world. (Wolk, 31) Talking about the gender issues presented in Disneys
Cinderella, and comparing it to Cinder Edna, allows students to have a say in what they
believe should be changed about society, why and how it makes them feel. A major issue
is that many children today assume that the Disney versions of fairytales are the original
story, because they have not been exposed to anything else. (Hastings, 349) The problem
with this is that in almost all Disney movies, women are made out to be overly
sexualized, beautiful, unintelligent and only out to find true love. While in the end of the
book Cinder Edna finds love, she was not going to the ball to find a man, like Cinderella
was. Also, she does not fall in love with a handsome prince just because he is royalty and
she wants to live, happily ever after, but a guy with real values and a good personality.
Part 5
The role of literature in the classroom is very important and I have come to see
what a book must have in order for it to be considered high quality. I feel I now have the
skills to independently decide what books should and should not be taught in my
classroom. Most importantly, I have realized the important of books on a cultural level,
so that I can actively engage all types of students in reading. I now understand that
literature can shape the way a child views the world and I have the power to present
books that will help them do so positively, in addition to empowering them critique the
issues.

Works Cited
Bunting, Eve, and Chris K. Soentpiet. So Far from the Sea. New York: Clarion Books,
1998. Print.

Bunting, Eve, and John O'Brien. I Like the Way You Are. New York: Clarion Books,
2000. Print.

Bunting, Eve. Smokey Night. Harcort, n.d.. Print.

Bruchac, Joseph, and Murv Jacob. The Boy Who Lived with the Bears: And Other
Iroquois Stories. New York: HarperCollinsPublishers, 1995. Print.

Collier, Marta D. "Through the Looking Glass: Harnessing the Power of African
American Children's Literature." The Journal of Negro Education. 69.3 (2000):
235-242. Print.

Curtis, Jamie L, and Laura Cornell. Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born. New
York, NY: Joanna Cotler Books/Harper Festival, 1999. Print.

Ets, Marie H, and Aurora Labastida. Nine Days to Christmas. New York: Viking Press,
1959. Print.

Hastings, A. Waller. "Ethnic and Gender Stereotyping in Recent Disney Animation."
Grade Four to Grade Six (1997): 349-53. Print.

Hoffman, Mary, and Caroline Binch. Amazing Grace. New York: Dial Books for Young
Readers, 1991. Print.

Horning, Kathleen T. From Cover to Cover: Evaluating and Reviewing Children's Books.
New York, NY: HarperCollins, 1997. Print.
Jackson, Ellen, and Kevin O'Malley. Cinder Edna. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard,
1994. Print.

Osborne, Mary P, and Giselle Potter. Kate and the Beanstalk. New York: Atheneum
Books for Young Readers, 2000. Print.

Prelutsky, Jack, and Arnold Lobel. The Random House Book of Poetry for Children.
New York, NY: Random House, 1983. Print.

Richardson, Justin, Peter Parnell, and Henry Cole. And Tango Makes Three. New York:
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2005. Print.

Smith, David J, and Shelagh Armstrong. If the World Were a Village: A Book About the
World's People. Toronto: Kids Can Press, 2002. Print.

Say, Allen. Grandfather's Journey. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1993. Print.

Steptoe, John, John Steptoe, and John Stevens. Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African
Tale. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, 1987. Print.

Wolk, Steven. "Using Picture Books to Teach for Democracy." Language Arts. 82.1
(2004): 26. Print.

Yolen, Jane, and Mark Teague. How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon?New York: Blue Sky
Press, 2003. Print.

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