In the book Two Eggs, Please it tells of multiple characters ordering the same two eggs in multiple different ways. I think this book is a wonderful book to read to your class about diversity. After reading the book I would bring in two different eggs and let the students watch as they are cracked. Just as the two eggs looked vastly different on the inside they were all the same. I would use this book in a K-2nd grade classroom to help students understand that just because certain people look different from you it doesn't mean they actually are. Just as the egg was capable of being served in many different ways we are also capable of doing many different things.
The Giver, by Lois Lowry, is often viewed as a controversial book. It tells the story of Jonas whose life is turned upside down when he given the assignment of Receiver of Memory. Jonas lives in a seemingly perfect world free of pain and suffering, but of course there is a price to pay. In exchange for a perfect world the community has given up any real feelings, pleasure, love, color, individuality, memories, and choices. When training under The Giver for his newfound assignment Jonas learns many secrets about the community and becomes increasingly frustrated with the life he lives and those around him. Jonas's final straw with his "perfect" world is when he learns the community is planning to release or kill the newchild Gabriel. With the help of The Giver Jonas takes Gabriel and embarks on a journey to elsewhere in order to save Gabriel's life. In the process of saving Gabriel life Jonas also creates a new identity for himself along the way. I would use this book in a 5th or 6th grade classroom to teach students that just because something appears to be perfect doesn't mean it actually is. We are often to quick to judge a book by its cover, and children need to understand why it is so important to be open minded and accepting of others. Through Jonas's story the class can see the importance of not only things, but also how important it is to make the right choices and just how valuable our memories and experiences are in shaping us into the person we are today.
In Amazing Grace the theme of hard work and determination is very much apparent. Grace is auditioning for the role of Peter Pan, since she doesn't fit the stereotype of the typical Peter Pan all of Grace's peers tell her she will never get the part. Grace's grandmother reminds her daily not to listen to what the other children are saying because she can be anything she wants to be. I would use this in an upper elementary classroom to teach self-esteem, gender and race, respect, individuality, work ethic, and diversity. All of these things are crucial for children of any age to know.
Charlotte's Web,written by E.B. White, is a story about a friendship mainly between Charlotte and Wilbur. Throughout the story Wilbur learns about how important friendship is. I would use this story in a 5th grade classroom to teach the importance of friendship. After reading the story the students will realize that sometimes our most wonderful friendships come from the most unlikely places and people. Charlotte's Web also shows students the importance of acceptance. If Charlotte and Wilbur would not have accepted each other they would have never became friends. It is crucial for students to be accepting to others even when others are different from them.