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
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
This is a story for anyone who has ever had an idea that was a little scary, intimidating, or seemed too difficult. We are introduced to a child who has an idea, but is afraid of what others will think of his idea which leads to him almost giving up on it. Suddenly he realizes, "This is MY idea. No one knows it like I do," this passage is the turning point of the story. The end of the story says that you can change the world with an idea and I truly believe that children need to have this inspiration to follow their dreams. I would have children illustrate what their world changing idea would be and then present them to the class. I would then display "My Students' World Changing Ideas" in the hallway for all to see.