Learning About Economic Class & Fairness

Title of Children’s Book:  In Coal Country

Author(s) of Children’s Book: Judith Hendershot

Brief Summary of the Book: 

This book focuses more on the economic class of poverty.  It is from the perspective of a coal miner’s daughter.  She talks about her life throughout each season of the year.  From the perspective of a child, she talks about all of the fun and friends she has, but you can see the struggle that a family in the poor/working class in some of her experiences.  As the daughter narrates her life in a positive mood, it does not have bias towards her lifestyle or the lifestyle of others.  While there are a few gender roles in place in this book, it is emphasized that both parents are hard working.  I feel like this is a good book for a child to read, because it discusses economic class in a way that they will understand, and also in a way that does not put down people who do live this way.

Title of Children’s Book: I Know Here – Laurel Croza & Matt James

Author(s) of Children’s Book:  Laurel Croza & Matt James

Brief Summary of the Book:

I Know Here, is a beautifully written book from Canadian author who chose Nipawin Saskatchewan as their setting. The story is about a little girl who lives in a work camp because her father is helping build a power dam. The job is just about finished and her parents have told her that they are moving to Toronto in the summer. The little girl who is the main character takes us through the beautifully illustrated book showing us what she knows about where she lives and reaffirming that she does not know Toronto.

Title of Children’s Book:  The Magic Beads – Susin Nielsen-Fernlund

Brief Summary of the Book:

The Magic Beads – Lillian begins Grade 2 at a new school after she and her Mom have had to move to a shelter to escape her abusive father. They have left everything behind and Lillian is feeling a range of emotions from anxiety to anger. There is a part of her that misses her father even though she knows he was not a nice man. She loves her Mom and knows why they had to leave but she also feels angry that her Mom them away. When she is asked to share at Show and Tell on Friday at the new school she begins to become more upset. She no longer has her personal possessions with her as she had to leave everything behind. The butterflies in her tummy turn into grasshoppers, donkeys and eventually buffalos. She has the courage to stand in front of the class on Friday and Lillian talks about her plastic beads, telling everyone they are magic beads and explaining that with just a little imagination, the beads can be all kinds of things. Lillian’s inventive imagination fascinates her classmates and provides a way for friendships to begin.

Title of Children’s Book:  Those Shoes

Author(s) of Children’s Book:  MariBeth Boelts

Brief Summary of the Book:

Those Shoes is about a young boy named Jeremy who really, really wants a pair of high-top sneakers. Almost everyone in Jeremy’s class has a pair. However, in Jeremy’s family there is no room for buying things they want, only things they need. One day during kickball Jeremy’s shoes fall apart, so he has to go to the guidance counselor to get a new pair. The guidance counselor gives Jeremy a pair of shoes that have Velcro and a cartoon animal on them, Jeremy think they are babyish. When Jeremy goes to class wearing his shoes everyone laughs, except his classmate Antonio who also does not have money for a pair of high-tops.  Jeremy bags his grandma to take him thrift store shopping to look for the pair of high-tops he wants so badly. Jeremy end up finding the pair of shoes, but they are half a size to small. Jeremy buys them anyways thinking he will be able to cram his feet into them. Jeremy does do end up wearing the shoes because they hurt his feet. Since it is going to start snowing soon, Jeremy’s grandma buys him a new pair of boots. Jeremey notices that Antonio’s feet are smaller than his and decides to give his high tops to him.  Jeremy wears his boots and realizes not only are they useful, but he likes that they are different from what everyone else has.

*Book selection & summary made in conjunction with students from Winter 2017 ECE 325 class.