A sampling of Literature to Support an Appreciation of Different Perspectives in Social Studies, Grades k-9

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A Sampling of Literature to Support an Appreciation of Different Perspectives

in Social Studies, Grades K-9

There are many fine books available that can be used in the new social studies to support the need to help build appreciation of differing perspectives. Stories of people and events provide multiple perspectives on both the past and the present. It is important that students demonstrate respect for the rights, opinions, and perspectives of others.

Browne, Anthony. Voices in the Park. 1998, 0552545643. Four different voices tell the story of a walk in the park. A good illustration of different perspectives. Grades K-3.
Have students read for enjoyment and then retell the four versions of the story. Explain why the views are so different.
Munsch, Robert. From Far Away, 1995, 155037396X. Saoussan, a little girl from a war-torn city moves to Canada with her family. At first, school is difficult: she speaks no English, she can't understand her teacher, she can't even ask to use the bathroom. Little by little, Saoussan becomes comfortable in her new school and even decides to change her name to Susan but finds her mother obstinate on that point. The book takes on a difficult theme and communicates it effectively on a child's level. A good choice for discussing the immigrant experience. Grades K-3.
How is Saoussan the same as other children? How is she welcomed? What could people have done to make things easier for Saoussan? Characterize Saoussan’s perspective when she first arrived in Canada.

Caseley, Judith. Sisters, 2004, 0-06-51046-3. The story of two sisters, one newly adopted and her receiving family tell of the joys and struggles of adding a new family member from both sisters’ perspective. Grades K-2.

Tell about a new addition to your family and how family members’ perspectives were the same or different.
Van Allsburg, Chris. Two Bad Ants. 1988, 0395486688. From the ants’ perspective we get to follow their hair-raising adventures as they explore a house--an experience that convinces them their own home is the best place to be. Grades K-4.
On a T-table, list all the things that are familiar to us but very alien to the two bad ants.

Discuss “perspective.” Why is the perspective of the ants so different?

Munsch, Robert. Show and Tell. 1991, 1550371975. Here’s the ultimate Show and Tell story – another zany Munsch take on children’s lives. The fun arises from the different perspectives that everyone in the story has of the basic event – taking your baby sister to school for Show and Tell! Grades K-2.

Have students identify the differing perspectives of the various characters, and tell why these perspectives are different.

Park, Linda Sue. Yum! Yuck! A Foldout Book of People Sounds. 2005, 1570916594. Features humourous illustrations of a number of different words in several languages – each word in English and then in at least four other languages.
Students will enjoy identifying the things that are the same and different when they are comparing the different children from around the world.
Brett, Jan. Town Mouse, Country Mouse, 1994, 039922622. The familiar fable of mouse couples trading habitats is given dimension and humour in Jan Brett’s illustrations. Pictorial side-panels reveal a parallel story of predators who eventually come face to face.

Littlechild, George. This Land Is My Land. 1993, 0892391197 . Through bold, colourful paintings, George Littlechild tells us the stories of his life as a Native in today's world with the bottom line being the importance of his ancestry to his life today. With each colourful, bright collage-type painting is a written text about what the picture shows and how his ancestors were instrumental in that image. He is acknowledging his ancestors to heighten the awareness of their history and experiences.

Identify characteristics of life for Aboriginal people in today’s society. Compare perspectives of different people.
Life Like Mine: How Children Live Around the World, 2002, 0-7894-8859-0, Dorling Kindersley. This is a large format book with many large, bright photographs on every page to illustrate the lives of children from 17 different countries around the world. The photographs show children in a variety of community activities, and the text further explores the cultural diversity. The contents of the book are organized under 4 broad areas that pertain to children's needs - Survival, Development, Protection, Participation. Published in association with the United Nations Children's Fund. An excellent resource.
Smith, David J. If The World Were A Village, 2002, 1550747797. An eye-opening exploration of the "global village." What would happen if we imagined the whole population of the world as a village of just 100 people? In this book we discover the nationalities, languages, ages, religions, food, and educational and living conditions of these villagers. Striking illustrations, notes for teachers and explanations of sources make this book an invaluable classroom resource for global education.
Marsden, John. The Rabbits. 2003. 0-9688768-8-9. This simple but powerful allegory describes the results of most of the colonizations in the history of our planet. The spare text and stylized illustrations tell the chilling story of invasion, environmental destruction and cultural subjugation in simple child-like terms. Grades 3-9.
This is an excellent opener for discussion at many levels. This is a library "must-have."

Yolen, Jane. Encounter. 1992, 015201389X. A Taino Indian boy on the island of San Salvador recounts the landing of Columbus and his men in 1492. Grades 3-9.

Use to develop awareness of Aboriginal perspectives. After reading, have students analyze the illustrations as well as the text.
MacLachlan, Patricia. All the Places to Love. 1994, 0060210990. This is a stunningly beautiful picture book in which a young boy describes the favourite places that he shares with his family on his grandfather’s farm and the nearby countryside. Helps us understand the love that each person has for his own home area.
Have students describe things that they love about where they live.
Skrypuch, Marsha Forchuk. Silver Threads. 1996, 0-670-86677-6. This is a story of a young husband and wife, immigrants to Canada from the Ukraine in the early 20th century, whose lives were unjustly interrupted by World War I and internment. Grades 3-9.
Pertains particularly to Canadian history.
Bouchard, David. The Song Within My Heart, 2002, 1-55192-559-1. Features poetry which celebrates Aboriginal traditions. The importance of drumming, sacredness of story and wisdom of elders are brought to the forefront. An excellent book for deepening understanding and respect for Aboriginal culture. Written reflections of the Cree illustrator are featured. A young boy asks his Nokum what the drums and stories at the powwow mean. She explains that the singing and dancing are for him to find his own stories- he must find the song within his heart. The beautiful artwork by the renowned Cree painter, Allen Sapp, compliments the story. His note at the end describes his feelings about the importance of the powwow and the importance of keeping the young involved with their own culture. Grades 3-9.
Use to develop awareness of Aboriginal perspectives.

Book of Rule: How the World is Governed. General reference providing a global perspective on all the countries of the world, with many details about their governing systems and the economic and political structures. Many quality illustrations, tables, and flow charts. Use at grade 5-8 levels.

Use for research, looking up quick information on the government of any country in the world.
Loyie, Larry. As Long as the Rivers Flow: A last summer before residential school. 2002, 0-8899-473-7. A short, true novel about Larry, who was 10 years old and living with his family near Slave Lake in Alberta, when he learned that children must go away to school. He was frightened at the prospect of leaving his home and family. He and his family spend the summer among the animals, with the grandparents, and on the trail to fish and hunt. The carefree summer ends when the children are collected by strangers in a truck and driven away, crying, to a faraway school to learn new ways of living. An epilogue, complete with pictures, describes the residential school situation as Larry lived it from age 10 to 14. Good illustrations.
Mcgugan, Jim. Josepha: A Prairie Boy’s Story, 1993, 0889951012. Deals with the isolation and prejudice a child feels as an immigrant to a new community. Grades 2-5.
List all the countries of origin of the students. Find the countries on a map. Help students see the immigrant boy’s perspective.
Campbell, Nicola. Shi-shi-etko. 2005, 0-88899-659-4. In four short days, Shi-shi-etko will be forced to leave her family and all that is familiar to her to attend residential school. This is a moving and poetic account of one child's final moments spent with her family and the beauty of the world around her. In the presence of her grandfather, grandmother, father and mother, Shi-shi-etko carefully gathers valuable teachings and memories for safekeeping. Grades 2-5.
Talk about residential schools and what the impact was on Aboriginal people.

Scieszka, Jon. True Story of the Three Little Pigs, by A. Wolf,. 1989, 0670827592. The wolf presents his side of the story in this hilarious review of the familiar folk tale. In his own words: “The news reporters found out about the two pigs I had for dinner. They figured a sick guy going to borrow a cup of sugar didn’t sound very exciting. So they jazzed up the story with all of that ‘Huff and puff and blow your house down.’ And they made me a Big Bad Wolf. That’s it. The real story. I was framed.”
Compare this version with the traditional version of Three Little Pigs. Use a Venn diagram. Talk about why the two versions are so different.

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