I’ve been so busy trying to keep the kids busy this summer that I have not had a chance to post a weekly multicultural book or talk about WeStories– the organization I have had a chance to volunteer and get involved with these past couple of months. So today I will highlight 3 multicultural books.
In May we attended our kick-off for WeStories and received our bookbag with multicultural books. They were books I had never heard of, much less read. Loved it. Still reading the books with the kids. Some of them were sad and they were shocked/taken by it- trying to process all the feelings around segregation and racism. It’s hard for us adults to process so imagine kids doing that. But it’s important work and I will continue and talk to them, push past my own comfort zone knowing that my children will be better for it. Considering everything going on in the world right now- I think there is no better time to do this. We must do this. Educate our children in age-appropriate ways on topics of race and skin color and the history/legacy of our country around these two topics.
People by Peter Spier
People is the simplest of all these books and it places a strong value and emphasis on the beauty of diversity in this world. Highlights different cultures, skin colors, nose shapes, religions, languages and customs. A book you can go back to again and again.
Ron’s Big Mission by Rose Blue and Corrine J. Naden
Ron’s Big Mission was super sad because it features a little boy who lives in segregated 1950’s South Carolina. My kids couldn’t understand why he wasn’t able to get his own library card. As proud card holders themselves for years now, this really disturbed them. Lots of conversations around emotions and anger after reading the book.
Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
Amazing Grace was a big hit with Baby Girl. Not only does Hoffman tackle cultural stereotypes but gender ones as well. This book empowers and paints a picture of girls being more than just quiet, polite, rule-abiding children. Long live Grace and all the rules she breaks in this book!
Happy reading and warm snuggles.
This week’s book is a bit different because I have spent the last three days attending graduations for my two sons- one for middle school and another for elementary school. Needless to say I have been a mixed bag of emotions. That is how I came across The Prophet– by a Lebanese poet named Kahil Gibran. It is a book of 26 poems published in 1923 that reflect all of life and the human condition- everything from love and marriage to friendship, life and death. I’ll admit to not fully reading it in its’ entirety- rather- I stumbled upon it just yesterday and plan to order it- but I am so touched by his words. His work is influenced by his religious upbringing as a Maronite Christian but also by other world religions and of course a reflection of the time period in which he lived in- war-torn Lebanon. An animated film based on the book was produced by Salma Hayek in 2015.
Yesterday morning- sitting in the 5th Grade promotion ceremony- the school principal read to us a poem by Kahil Gibran that really resonated with me. I listened and thought- yes- this is what I’ve been wanting- these are the words that somehow put how I’m feeling in perspective. Letting go is not letting go because they were never ours to begin with. Thinking of our children as they hit these milestones in life in this way makes the pain a little less.
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
Hello friends and Happy Friday!
Racing around with all the end of year school activities- Big Boy graduates from middle school and 2nd Most Honorable Son from elementary school and my emotions are all over the place as we prepare for yet more transitions. On Saturday, my Momma flies in from Southern California to visit and be here in solidarity and support- thank goodness for Mommas!
We continue to read, read and read. Our WeStories launch kick-off is on Saturday as well and we join a cohort of other like-minded families in the St. Louis area who desire to learn about how to talk about race and identity with our young children in positive, healthy ways. We will receive a book-bag with four multicultural books and meet the other families in our cohort- so excited for this journey to begin!
I promised to highlight one multicultural book a week so here’s another gem we found. This week’s book selection is a tear-jerker- at least it was for me. About 2 pages from the end, I burst out crying as I read the page to Baby Girl. That’s not why I picked it though.
The Keeping Quilt’s story tells the reader of the author’s ancestors’ journey from Russia to New York City. It is a tale of several generations and at the center of the story is a handmade quilt made out of Great-Gramma Anna’s babushka, Uncle Vladamir’s shirt, Aunt Havalah’s nightdress and Aunt Natasha’s apron. The quilt is used by four different generations as a Sabbath tablecloth, a wedding canopy, a welcoming blanket for new babies and finally, the quilt used at bedside as each generation passes from this life to the next.
Truly a beautiful story to share with your child that shows the Russian immigrant perspective and how it’s possible to hold onto the fabric of our cultures, the stories that frame our family history and at the same time adapt to the American way of life.
Happy reading, warm snuggles and just keep those tissues handy if you’re anything like me.
Super excited about a project I am currently working on. Volunteering with the nonprofit organization- WeStories out of St. Louis, I am working with a group of gals to create a list of multicultural books for 5 year-old kids! Once the lists have been thoroughly analyzed and discussed and agreed to upon by the larger group, WeStories will then begin distribution of the lists throughout the St. Louis region to schools, libraries, families, and well, just about anyone who might be interested in them.
I’ve been spending lots of time at the public library, the school library and in my home doing research by reading dozens of books with Baby Girl. It has been so much fun reading with her and it’s been interesting to see how she gravitates towards certain books and how the words stay with her.
Each week, I will try to share one multicultural book here on the blog. I find that there is a real lack of information/resources in this space so thinking it might be cool to put it out there.
This week’s book is Napi- Makes a Village (Funda un Pueblo) by Antonio Ramirez Domi. We read this story a few times about a Mazateca girl in the region of Oaxaca, Mexico that journeys to build a new village in a remote area away from her current village. The images are colorful and powerful with deep metaphors. The concept of family and cultural heritage is strong. The girl realizes how brave and strong she herself can be because of who she is and where she and her ancestors come from when she faces a family crisis.
Tell me what you think- looking for more books- if you have ideas on multicultural books- please share them! I need to read as many books as possible. Off to read and research!