Title: Stone Soup
Author: Jon J. Muth
Publisher and Year: Scholastic Press 2003
Number of Pages: 28
Tags: Family, Friendship, K-5, Joe Marras
Descriptive Annotation: Three monks were traveling down a mountain road and saw a village that had noticeably been through a lot of things such as famine, floods, and war. These hard times had made the villagers suspicious of their neighbors and people began to lose friendship. When the monks came into the village everyone had gone inside and locked their doors to keep the monks out. So to counter the villagers the monks decided they would teach them a lesson on happiness by making stone soup. The monks gathered tools and started a fire and a young girl came up to see what they were doing, so they asked her to help them find three stones, but then they realized they needed a bigger pot, and so the young girl got a bigger pot from her mother. As more people saw what was going on outside they came out to inspect, and then the monks said they needed more ingredients that they did not have, so the villagers banded together and filled the soup with so many ingredients and everyone brought something and it turned into a small village festival where the villagers talked and shared stories and became friends again.
Classroom Application: This story shares a good lesson that everyone has something to bring to the table, whether it be carrots for a soup or a pencil for class. It shows to never shut people out because the people can bring so many things to you and the world so give everyone a chance to show what they can bring. It is captivating how something as simple as stone soup brought a village that had be separated back together in just one night. It shows that it just takes the effort.
Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: This book could be used as a good introduction to monks. Although this book doesn’t specify where the monks are from or any of their beliefs it shows that they spread happiness, “What makes one happy, Siew?” They are genuinely concerned and interested about what makes people happy so they go and explore it and help a broken village come together. The villagers, much being of different professions, at the beginning of the story did not fraternize with each other, but by the end they had unlocked their doors, “Then they unlocked their doors and took the monks into their homes and gave them very comfortable places to sleep.” They had previously locked their doors and tightened their windows shut to the monks, but the monks changed them and brought the good out of them.
Title: Hidden Figures
Author: Margot Lee Shetterly
Illustrator: Laura Freeman
Publisher and Year: HarperCollins Publishers 2018
Number of pages: 30
Tags: Culture, Diversity, Math, Non-fiction, Science, K-5, Joe Marras
Descriptive Annotation: This is a true story about four black women: Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden. These four women were some of the first black women to become engineers, and make strides in space and airplane technology. No background knowledge is needed for this because there is no actual math or science in this story, just a lot of mention of it because of how complicated the math they were doing is.
Classroom Application: This story has many classroom applications including history, math, and science. It could be used to tell the story of these four intelligent women or show real world applications of math and science. Also could be used to show african american scientists and mathematicians to show that they are indeed out there.
Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: This book represents african american culture and some of their struggles to gain equality in the workplace and in the world. Since this story takes place during the 1950’s, it can help show the fight for equality in America, and also can show the discrimination they felt by being segregated from white people, “They could not eat in the same restaurants. They could not drink from the same water fountains. They could not use the same restrooms.” This shows the segregation in America at the time, and helps to show how important it was for these women to do what they did. These women did amazing work and helped bring men to the moon and back down to earth, and advancing airplanes to prevent more crashes, among many other things, “No one knows how many lives her work may have helped save.” Talking about Katherine Johnson and her work, and no one can truly tally just many lives she saved, and no one probably even mentions it.
Title: We’re All Wonders
Author: R.J. Palacio
Illustrator: R.J. Palacio
Publisher and Year: Alfred A. Knopf 2012
Number of Pages: 31
Tags/Theme: Adventure, Fiction, K-5, Joe Marras
Descriptive Annotation: This story is about a young boy named Auggie and he doesn’t look the same as most kids. Auggie only has one eye and calls himself a wonder. Although he doesn’t only call himself a wonder, he says everyone is a wonder. He wants everyone to know that even though he doesn’t like everyone else, he does all of the things they do.
Classroom Application: This can be used to show students that everyone should be accepted in the classroom no matter who they are or how they look. It is important to give everyone a shot and to respect everyone in the class and in the world.
Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: This book is a easy read. The sentences are short and each page has a few sentences. Auggie just wants to show everyone that he is just like them, “Sure, I do ordinary things. I ride a bike. I eat ice cream. I play ball.” Auggie is showing that he does any ordinary thing that kids his age do like riding his bike and playing ball. He just wants to show that he and everyone else is a wonder in their own way. He just wants people to accept him, “… people can change they way they see. If they do, they’ll see that I’m a wonder.” He justs wants to show that he is a wonder and that he is just like everyone else.
Title: As Good as Anybody
Author: Richard Michelson
Illustrator: Raul Colon
Publisher and Year: Alfred A. Knopf 2008
Number of Pages: 34
Tags/Theme: Culture, Diversity, Emotion, Non-fiction, K-5, Joe Marras
Descriptive Annotation: This story starts out with a young Martin Luther King Jr. and him living with segregation and how it’s not fair to all people to treat people like this. Then he grows up and becomes a Pastor like his father and starts lobbying for civil rights. Then it goes to Abraham Joshua Heschel in Poland and how he had to deal with segregation for being Jewish. Then he grew up and came to America and along with Martin Luther King Jr. marched for freedom.
Classroom Application: This story could be used to introduce Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement, and also teach about Abraham Joshua Heschel. This story also can be used to teach that if you want something to change for the better that you should do something about it like these two men did.
Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: This book could be used to generate discussion on the civil rights movement and its leaders like Martin Luther King Jr.. It could also be used to discuss the discrimination against jews in Europe. It sends a good message throughout, at the beginning Martin’s father tells him, “You’re looking down when you should be looking up.” He’s telling him to keep his chin up and be proud of who you are because you are someone, and everyone is someone. Another good quote from this is, “Walk like a prince, not like a peasant.” It brings the same message of keep your head up and be proud of who you are. Abraham’s father told him that and Abraham made sure to walk with his head up.
Title: Be the Change: A Grandfather Gandhi Story
Author: Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus
Illustrator: Evan Turk
Publisher and Year: Atheneum Books for Young Readers 2016
Number of Pages: 36
Tags/Theme: Adventure, Culture, Family, Non-fiction, K-5, Joe Marras
Descriptive Annotation: The main character is Gandhi’s grandson and he accompanies his grandfather on his trips. His grandson follows all of his grandfather’s teachings and the story focuses mainly on their vow to be non-violent and not waste. Then one day while walking home he through his pencil away into the field, which was wasteful, and he didn’t think there was anything wrong with it. When his grandfather found out he made him go back and find it and then taught him how being wasteful can lead to violence. His grandson then knew that it was important to follow his grandfathers teachings and keep his vows.
Classroom Application: This story could be used to introduce Gandhi and also to not be wasteful because Gandhi in the story shows the impacts of being wasteful. Gandhi shows him that it can affect others and that it is important to keep your vows as well.
Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: This book shows some of the teachings of Gandhi and the importance of them. The two things that are focused on are to not be wasteful and be non-violent. Gandhi explains to his grandson that his actions can affect other people. Before Gandhi talked to him he did not realize what his actions could do, “Soon I could see how throwing my pencil away could hurt others.” Gandhi showed him how throwing and wasting his pencil could eventually hurt others teaching his grandson that it is important to not waste things. The tone of this book is very light and Gandhi is trying to help his grandson learn throughout the story. At the end of the story he tells him, “Be the change you wish to see in the world, Arun.” This was one of Gandhi’s sayings and shows how he dedicated his life to teaching others.
Title: In the Time of the Drums
Author: Kim L. Siegelson
Illustrator: Brian Pinkney
Publisher and Year: Hyperion Books for Children 1999
Number of Pages: 30
Tags/Theme: Award Book, Culture, Family, Historical Fiction, K-5, Joe Marras
Descriptive Annotation: There is a older woman, Twi, and her grandson, Mentu, and they are on an island near the Teakettle Creek where ships often land to bring slaves to work on the islands plantations. Mentu was born on the island, but Twi was born in Africa and longs for her home. She teaches Mentu a lot of his culture and to respect and cherish his culture. One day a Spanish ship lands with Ibo people on it and they are singing for their home, and it rings hard with Twi and calls to her. It urges her to journey home, so she joins hands with the Ibo people and leads them into the Teakettle Creek and walk down and through the water towards their home. They soon disappear in the water and hopefully to their homes.
Classroom Application: This story is good for the class probably during Black History Month, but also any time of the year. This book can introduce slavery, but also teach about how important it is to hold on to culture and cherish and celebrate it and never let it go no matter how hard things get.
Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: This story is a Gullah tale that has been passed down orally for generations, so this story shows another culture and can introduce slavery to younger kids, and also African cultures, “Because then the old ways will try to grow weak inside of you. Don’t let ‘em! Takes a mighty strength not to forget who you are. Where you come from. To help others remember it, too.” Twi is telling Mentu that it is important to remember who he is and how important that is and to not forget it no matter how hard things get. I think this is an important lesson to remember and celebrate cultures.
“ “we are home! We are home!” the people drummed. But they were far from home.” This helps show that this book has a sad, but real and truthful tone. The author doesn’t dress anything about slavery up, and shows it in its true colors which I think makes the message so much stronger and real.