Today I read a book by Beverly Cleary called Socks. The family cat is displaced from the affections of his owners by the arrival of their infant son. Socks is indignant at being treated shabbily, and rightly so. Were I him, I'd have clawed the eyes out of that brat. Then I read a book narrated by Meriwether Lewis' newfoundland Seaman. He liked catching squirrels in the Ohio River. Then I read some claptrap about a spined horny toad who climbs down a well to fetch a spoiled cowgirl's hat. Of course he's a prince. There was also a story about a dog in a library, another about the natural wonders of Yosemite, and finally a memoir of a Japanese American grandfather who loved California more than his native Nippon. Next week I get to formulate all of this stuff (and more) into a Social Studies unit called "This Land is Your Land." The subtitle: "How do the diverse regions and peoples of the United States reflect its greatness?"
There are few diverse peoples in these stories--mostly we get talking dogs, toads, ants, bears, and cats. I guess that's diversity, though. The toad does speak Spanish.