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review 2018-09-09 20:34
Coming to America: The Story of Immigration
Coming to America : The Story of Immigration - Betsy Maestro,Suzanne Ryan

Coming to America: The Story of Immigration is a wonderful book to help students learn about immigration. The text tells the story of various immigrant groups coming to America and the challenges that they faced. The text also celebrates their cultural contributions to our country. As an extension activity, students could be put in small groups where each group researches one of the cultural groups mentioned in the text in depth and then presents their findings to the class. 


Guided Reading level: O

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review 2018-09-09 19:40
Chrysanthemum - Kevin Henkes

Chrysanthemum is one of my favorite childhood books! The main character Chrysanthemum loves her name until she starts kindergarten and is surrounded by peers with short names. However, after a music teacher tells the class that she wants to name her baby Chrysanthemum her spirits are lifted again and she once again loves her name. This is a great book to use in the classroom to encourage students to celebrate diversity. A fun extension activity would be to get each student to make an acrostic poem using their name and using positive adjectives to describe themselves for each of the letters represented. 


Guided Reading level: M

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review 2018-09-09 16:29
The Sneetches and Other Stories - Dr. Seuss

This book would be a PERFECT segway into teaching about diversity! This is the story about sneetches - some have stars on their bellies and some don't. This causes a divide between the two groups. I would read this aloud to my class because it is very long for a picture book and there are many made-up nonsense words that may confuse children if they are reading it alone. I could read it aloud to any grade level and I believe it could be easily understood, but if it were assigned a level for INDEPENDENT reading, I would categorize it as an M using Fountas & Pinnell's levels.

As an activity, I would incorporate some sort of diversity lesson. I may put the children into pairs to discuss how they are different, how they are similar, and how this makes them great friends! Perhaps a Venn Diagram would help facilitate learning and understanding of this concept.

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review 2018-09-09 03:59
Amazing Grace
Amazing Grace - Mary Hoffman,Caroline Binch

Amazing Grace is an excellent book to demonstrate diversity. The main character Grace loves stories and longs to play the lead in Peter Pan. However, her classmates point out that Peter Pan is a boy and that he was not black. With hard work and support from her family, she pushes aside all of those negative comments and achieves her dream role. Not only would this book lead to some amazing whole group discussions, teachers could too give students a writing extension to write about a personal experience when they achieved a goal or overcame an obstacle when everyone else did not think they could. 


Lexile level: 680L

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review 2018-09-08 19:36
Wonder - R.J. Palacio

Another from NPR's Ultimate Backseat Bookshelf.


This definitely felt like a message book. The author wanted to make the point that bullying is bad so she wrote this book with the point that bullying is bad.


I don't think it was as terrible as some other reviewers (e.g. the fact that Auggie wins an award for being born the way he is is lampshaded in the book which makes the scene slightly more palatable than if it hadn't been). But it's not great.


I thought the writing was inconsistent. Or maybe it was too consistent? Every character sounds the same, and every character sounds older than they're supposed to be. If Auggie and Via had been aged up, their voices would have made more sense (with the exception of all the use of Mommy/Daddy... what was up with that?).


I'm not mad I read it, but if I weren't aiming to check it off my list I wouldn't have finished it.

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