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Book of the Month

Jacob's New Dress

Sarah and Ian Hoffman (Authors), Chris Case (Illustrator)

Jacob loves playing dress-up, when he can be anything he wants to be—a pirate, a bird, a firefighter. But he also wants to just be himself and wear his favorite thing… a dress! Now Jacob has a new dress that he made himself and what he wants most of all is to wear it to school. Will Mom and Dad let him? This heartwarming story speaks to the unique challenges faced by boys who don’t identify with traditional gender roles and promises to spark discussions of gender, identity and self-confidence.

ISBN: 978-0807563731
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Year: 2014
Grade Level: Preschool-2

Download Discussion Questions and Extension Activities (PDF)

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Recent Books of the Month

June 2014

Same Sun Here (PDF)
Silas House (Author), Neela Vaswani (Author), Hilary Schenker (Illustrator)

Meena, an Indian immigrant girl living in NYC, and River, a Kentucky coal miner’s son, become pen pals. They have a lot in common and many differences but they bridge the miles between them, creating a friendship that inspires bravery and defeats cultural misconceptions. (Albert Whitman & Company, 2014, Preschool-2)

May 2014

Separate is Never Equal (PDF)
Duncan Tonatium (Author and Illustrator)

Sylvia Mendez and her brothers are turned away from the neighborhood school because they are Mexican. Her family decides to take matters into their own hands and organize a lawsuit. Their efforts help bring an end to segregated schooling in California in 1947, seven years before the landmark Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education ended segregation in schools across the United States. (Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2014, Grades 1-5)

Click on Archive on the right menu for all past books of the month.

Using the Book of the Month

This collection of featured books is from our Recommended Multicultural and Anti-Bias Books for Children. Intended for educators, parents and other caregivers of early childhood and elementary aged children, these books promote respect for diversity, teach about bias and prejudice, encourage social action and reinforce themes addressed in education programs of A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute, ADL's international anti-bias education and diversity training provider. Reading the children's books listed on this site with your children and incorporating them into instruction is an excellent way to talk about these important concepts in your classroom.

Book of the Month

Each month ADL features a book related to a particular diversity or anti-bias theme. These books are reviewed by ADL staff and reflect some of the most excellent literature available on various topics. Featured books are displayed on the Book of the Month homepage.

Book Entries

Each book entry includes the book title and author, a brief annotation, ISBN, publication date, publisher, a suggested reading level, and book category(ies). The reading levels are only suggestions for adults to use when choosing books for children. Many of the books lend themselves to being read aloud to children of any age. We strongly suggest reviewing books carefully before selecting them to determine age or grade level and content.

Key Words

Provided are key words to discuss and define with children prior to reading the book.

Discussion Questions and Activities

Each book of the month will include discussion questions and suggestions for three extension activities for educators to incorporate into classroom instruction.

Book of the Month Archive

Click on the Book of the Month Archive on the right hand side to view a list of past featured books and accompanying discussion questions and extention activities for download.

Bibliography Rationale

Books are mirrors in which children see themselves reflected. When children are represented in literature and other media, they begin to see themselves as valuable and worthy of notice. Conversely when children do not see accurate representations of themselves, they may internalize the message that they are not worthy of notice.

Just as books are mirrors for children, they are also windows to the world. This is true for all children, but it is especially true for children whose life experience is limited by homogeneous school and home environments. Reading about people in all parts of the world fosters children's understanding and respect for their own and others' cultural groups, helps them to see themselves as members of the global community and supports the lifelong process of learning about multiple perspectives and experiences.

Books can also help children develop empathy by increasing their understanding about how people around the world are both similar to and different from themselves. Research shows that there is a positive correlation between empathy development and lowered prejudicial attitudes and behaviors. Talking about and acknowledging differences does not, as some fear, lead to increased divisiveness. Research on differences shows the opposite: that acknowledging human differences creates unity. Books that illustrate the ways in which people are different from each other can play an important role in promoting understanding and respect.

In addition, books can and should promote social action to combat injustice. Children need to hear stories about people who have been successful in challenging inequity. Books can inspire children by showing them the power of pro-social actions against injustice. Children need to understand that they are not powerless in the face of prejudice and discrimination. Books can provide models to help children see themselves as social activists. This is an important way that books help prepare children for the future.

Archive

Past features of the Book of the Month are listed below. Each book title is hyperlinked to a PDF of discussion questions and extension activities for the book.

June 2014

Same Sun Here (PDF)
Silas House (Author), Neela Vaswani (Author), Hilary Schenker (Illustrator)

Meena and River have a lot in common: fathers forced to work away from home to make ends meet, grandmothers who mean the world to them and faithful dogs. But Meena is an Indian immigrant girl living in New York City’s Chinatown, while River is Kentucky coal miner’s son. As Meena’s family studies for citizenship exams and River’s town faces devastating mountaintop removal, this unlikely pair become pen pals, and when their camaraderie deepens, discover common ground in their disparate experiences. With honesty and humor and narrated in two voices, Meena and River bridge the miles between them, creating a friendship that inspires bravery and defeats cultural misconceptions. (Albert Whitman & Company, 2014, Preschool-2)

May 2014

Separate is Never Equal (PDF)
Duncan Tonatium (Author and Illustrator)

When her family moves to the town of Westminster, California, young Sylvia Mendez is excited about enrolling in her neighborhood school. But she and her brothers are turned away and told they have to attend the Mexican school instead. Sylvia cannot understand why—she is an American citizen who speaks perfect English. Why are the children of Mexican families forced to attend a separate school? Unable to get a satisfactory answer from the school board, the Mendez family decides to take matters into their own hands and organize a lawsuit. In the end, the Mendez family’s efforts help bring an end to segregated schooling in California in 1947, seven years before the landmark Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education ended segregation in schools across the United States. (Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2014, Grades 1-5)

April 2014

Wonder (PDF)
R.J. Palacio (Author)

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that has prevented him from attending a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to enter fifth grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid, then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearance? Using compelling character and story development, this book explores bullying, bias, difference, friendship and empathy. (Random House, 2012, Grades 5-7)

March 2014

Grace for President (PDF)
Kelly DiPucchio (Author), LeUyen Pham (Illustrator)

When Grace’s teacher reveals that the United States has never had a female president, Grace decides to be the first. And she immediately starts off her political career as a candidate in the school’s mock election. But soon she realizes that she has entered a tough race. Her popular opponent claims to be the “best man for the job”—and seems to have captured all the male votes. So Grace decides the only thing to do is concentrate on being the best person for the job. (Hyperion Books for Children, 2008, Grades K-2)

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Jacob's New Dress Sarah Ian Hoffman Book Cover
Jacket art © 2014 by Chris Case

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