The Missouri Reader Vol. 40, Issue 3 - Page 33

inspiring for both students and teachers instigating a desire for social justice and equality.

2, Capaldi, G. (2008). A boy named Beckoning: The true story of Dr. Carlos Montezuma, Native American hero. Minneapolis, MN: Carolrhoda Books.

This book is written in first person as a way to convey the message of overcoming social injustice by using a biographical work.

The author and illustrator Gina Capaldi actively researched the real-life character and found personal letters from Dr. Carlos Montezuma to Professor H.W. Holmes of the Smithsonian Institute. The letters were written in 1905. Gina Capaldi did a great work compiling impressionist-like illustrations along with real-life pictures reflecting the time and settings of the story.

Regarding the story, the text is taken from Montezuma’s letters. He tells the reader about how he saw his camp being burned down and his people killed. He was then made captive and sold as a slave. The man who bought Montezuma, Carlo Gentile, did not want to enslave him, but desired to adopt him as his son. Gentile was a photographer who emigrated from Italy and loved to travel. Most of the pictures used in the book were Gentile’s work. After a difficult adaptation process and many other painful circumstances, Montezuma became a medical doctor who helped his people. Montezuma is a story of not only overcoming, but also loss of his own cultural background. Today, there are many other Montezumas in our society…even in our classrooms. Dr. Montezuma dedicated time to defend and fight for Native American rights.

3. Tonatiuh, D., & Arnst, M., (2010). Dear primo: A letter to my cousin. New York, NY: Abrams Books for Young Readers.

The award-winning book Dear Primo: A Letter to My Cousin is set up as a compare and contrast text structure. In this story, two cousins—Charlie

and Carlitos—exchange letters with each other. Charlie lives in a large metropolitan city in the United States, while Carlitos lives in a rural area of Mexico. The names of the characters are a play in translation. The names are equivalent to each other in Spanish and English. This book provides the reader with a fun way to learn Spanish words! Since language is an important aspect of one’s cultural identity, it could not be missing in this story. The Spanish vocabulary is paired with its illustration; the reader learns through visual connections. Dear Primo: A Letter to My Cousin is an amazing resource for literacy instruction and cultural celebration! This book provides teachers with many instructional possibilities, such as the teaching of friendly letter, compare and contrast strategy, character study, family relationships, importance of visual literacy, and global perspectives, among others. Children and adults will learn about the power and beauty of global connections and human relationships that surpass physical boarders!

4. Nelson, K., & Rago, M., (2013). Nelson Mandela. New York, NY: Katherine Tegen Books.

The book Nelson Mandela is a work of art—from text to illustrations! Based on a real-life story, this narrative provides the reader with a global perspective of society and a

country’s fight against prejudice. This is a perfect example of how critical literature can be used to inspire children to be agents of social change. Through this book, young children are exposed to high-quality literature that is above their reading level; therefore, it is perfect for read aloud and whole class discussions. Teachers can use this book as a resource to teach text-to-text and text-to-world connections. This story can be paired with Martin’s Big words for a compare and contrast activity. The photo-like illustrations enhance the compelling message of social transformation—it starts with one child at a time. It is important to note that this is an award-winning resource.


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