nyladeblu, November 1, 2009 (view all comments by nyladeblu)
This book was given to my 3rd gr. class as a book of the month. Originally, I was stimied on how to approach such a complex issue wth young children. However, music came to my rescue. The song "You've Got To Be Taught" from South Pacific, matched the book perfectly.
In the story, Daniel's mom makes the comment, "She's not one of us." As an Asian woman, her eyes and skin are different. The students immediatley understood. But rather than focus on people, I turned the lesson into one on cats.
Cat's eyes are "oddly" made and their fur is all different colors, but we don't choose cats as our pets because of that attribute. Both Mrs. Kim and Daniels share a common experience, loss and love. When the cats are found, they are holding paws, the characters are brought together.
My students all made cat masks and dressed in the color of their cat for Character Day. They learned, intrinsically, that hatred and prejudice is learned and being different isn't bad, it's just different.
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toniamajor, October 2, 2006 (view all comments by toniamajor)
I find this book to be very helpful when teaching children about tolerance, especially if you are working with students where one race/ethnicity is predominant. Sometimes these students have preconceived ideas about how other races are and they avoid interacting with them. This book almost gives them permission in a sense to do so and find out that what they thought or heard most times isn't true.
It also shows that during a time of need race/ethnicity shouldn't matter because the only way to survive as a community is to work together.
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During a night of rioting in Los Angeles, fires and looting force neighbors--who have always avoided one another--to come together. David Diaz was awarded the Caldecott Medal for his bold acrylic paint and photo-collage illustrations.
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