Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Mighty by Rodman Philbrick

Title: The Mighty
Author: Rodman Philbrick
Summary: This novel is about 2 very different individuals who become best friends. Max, who is known as the giant because of his size, is made fun of as stupid and slow because of he has a learning disability. Kevin, the genius, but is made fun of because he is tiny and has a leg brace on. When Kevin was asked to tutor Max, they become the best of friends, and together they fight their way through their struggles and live a happy several months together, until Kevin leaves the world forever.
Reflection: The story of this book takes a somewhat different approach into social justice than a lot of the other books that I have found/read about. Likewise to the other books, this one talks about 2 individuals who are considered "different" from others. However, unlike the other books that talk about race, gender and so forth, this one talks about disabilities: learning and physical. This book brings a strong message to readers, emphasizing the power of being different and unique, but more importantly, the importance of self and peer acceptance. When one accepts who they are and who their friends are, it really does not matter what disabilities they have.
How would I use the book/curricular units: This book, I will use for upper elementary grades, 5-6. Of course, this book serves as a good resource to use for character development and character comparison lessons. This can also be a good unit for friendship, respect, being different and learning about disabilities. Students can discuss how they are unique, when they have been made fun of, and role playing can be used to represent these situations, extended with strategies and how people should treat others.

Social Justice:
1. Self-Love eand Acceptance: students learn to accept who they are and their uniqueness. They learn to understand that everyone is unique in their own ways and it's okay.
2. Respect for Others: Students learn that in addition to accepting themselves for who they are, they need to learn to understand and accept others for who they are. For some students, this may be an easier task than accepting themselves. However, for both 1 and 2, by students first starting to think about acceptance by taking role as either Max or Kevin, then slowly transitioning to their own lives may make these tasks easier.
3./4.Exploring Issues of Social Justice/Social Movements and Social Change: Students will role play and make videos of appropriate ways of treating others who are different than they are. They will make PDAs of respect, disabilities and other topics that stems out from this book.
5. Taking Social Action: Students can send letters to companies and places that discriminates against the disabled.

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