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 Promoting Diversity through Children's Literature 
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Since we are talking about gender roles in the classroom, I strongly recommend reading the book The Sissy Duckling written by Harvey Fierstein. This book is appropriate for elementary aged children. You may remember Fierstein from his role in the movie Mrs. Doubtfire. In his books, he tends to write about gay issues. This book promotes diversity, especially accepting the idea that gender roles may vary from person to person. If anyone knows of any other children's books that deals with this issue I would really like to know of them! Also, I would personally use this book to teach children about acceptance. What do you guys think about using children's books to teach this issue?

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Sarah Robinson


Sun Apr 13, 2008 12:35 pm
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In my Families class and Emergent Literacy class we talked about incorporating books into our classroom that dealt with many different issues such as death, divorce, sickness, gay/lesbian parents, different cultures, etc. I think it is a good idea to some extent. I think that you have to judge where your students are developmentally and whether they can handle topics like these. Also, I think that you have to be careful of what books you are incorporating in the classroom because some parents may not react so well. Even though it is your classroom and you are trying to teach your students self respect and respect for others we still need to realize that these are not our children and I think if you let parents know before hand what you have been dealing with in the classroom and how you would like to approach it they might jump on board more quickly then if they didn't know. I do think using books to deal with sensitive issues is a wonderful strategy though!

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Jenna F


Mon Apr 14, 2008 8:28 am
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I have heard of many books that are about gay/lesbian issues and nontraditional families. One book that is a great book but was very controversial is And Tango Makes Three. Last semester in one of my classes we had an assignment that was to research books with controversial topics. I'll contact my professor to see if I can get a copy of the power point presentation with a list of books with the same topic, and I'll share the list with you if I can get it.

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Erin Painter


Mon Apr 14, 2008 11:41 am
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I don't know of any other books that deal with this issue however I would love to research it and find out. I am a firm believer in using children books in the classroom to address all sorts of issues and topics. Children's Literature has a way of explaining things to children so that they can understand it and so it doesn't go right over their head. Today you can find a children's book about anything and I don't think we as teachers should hesitate to use these great books. Not only do they help students but they help us when we can't seem to find the right words to say or are stuck on something. Sometimes a simple book can pull us out of our rut. So, I would suggest using them all the time, whenever you can. Even if you are an upper grade teacher there are plenty of childrens book that I would read to middle and high school students in a heart beat. The books they read don't always have to be novels, sometimes a simple book can't get your point across just as well. So, i am just recommending to not rule them out when you plan a lesson.

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Danielle Underwood


Tue Apr 15, 2008 7:47 am
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The link below is from the GLSEN (gay, lesbian, and straight education network). All of the content deals with ways to incorporate GLBT issues into the classroom. Hopefully it'll help!

http://www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/educa ... culum.html


Tue Apr 15, 2008 1:22 pm
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I think that children's literature is a great way to introduce differences in families, students, culture, ect. This is a way to help students see different perspectives and people. There are many books that I have seen in my Emergent Literacy Class that discusses such topics. There are many out there if you just look.

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Jessica Smith


Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:40 pm
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Here are some examples of Young Adult Literature on this topic. All of these books are award winners.

Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden
Rainbow Boys by Alex Sanchez
Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
Luna by Julie Anne Peters
Totally Joe by James Howe
What Happened to Mr. Forster by Gary W. Bargar
Baby Be-Bop by Francesca Lia Block
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
Jack by A.M. Homes
The Misfits by James Howe
The Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
Rainbow High by Alex Sanchez
Rainbow Road by Alex Sanchez

Here are some Children's Literature books. Again these are all award winners as well.

Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite
Jack and Jim by Kitty Crowther
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson

I hope that this helps!

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Erin Painter


Wed Apr 16, 2008 11:34 am
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And Tango Makes Three is an awesome example of this type of book. The story centers around two male penguins who hatch a raise a little baby penguin. This book is a perfect way to begin introduce to young students the fact that at some point, they may have classmates who have two parents of the same gender and that it is ok.

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Ryan Dunlevy


Thu Apr 17, 2008 8:41 am
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I think that childrens literature is a great way to introduce this subject in the classroom. Since it is so common these days and you are probably going to have at least one child in your classroom who has a parent who is gay it would be a great idea to get books to go along with this if they had questions. I think literature can be such a useful tool in the classroom and if you can point your students in the right direction by giving them a book to read it is even better.

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Emily Nicholson


Thu Apr 17, 2008 3:36 pm
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Thanks for that list of books Erin! I wrote all of those down so I can hopefully use them in my classroom. I feel like nontraditional families is an important topic that needs to be discussed at an early age. I know I will have students that will have two moms or two dads and I want my students to be understanding and accepting of this.

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Lauren Blackwelder


Sat Apr 19, 2008 12:17 pm
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