Tag Archives: children

People, Ron’s Big Mission and Amazing Grace

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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

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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

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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

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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.

The Keeping Quilt

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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.

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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.

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Happy reading, warm snuggles and just keep those tissues handy if you’re anything like me.

Napi Makes a Village

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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.

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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!

Morpho Butterflies and Wendy’s Frostys

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Random ramblings reflect my scattered state of mind. I’ve got a plumber in the house doing work, interrupting my routine and schedule. There’s a deep layer of fog covering the sky this morning and every kid was late to school because of daylight savings time. Gotta love it.

In an effort to combat the fatigue of too much screen time, we’ve got a house rule that the kids only get screen time – time on iPads, phones, computer and video games – from Friday through Sunday. We limit it to one hour per kid each of those days. This strategy has backfired on us I think because what happens then is that Friday afternoons end up being indoors, in front of screens like maniacs. Then the weekends we are constantly managing this whole who gets what screen when. It is extremely frustrating and if anyone out there has come up with better ways of managing this, please share! But we haven’t come up with a better solution so we continue on.

This past Friday was an early school release day which meant we had hours of potential screen time in front of us. And it was nice out- like the sun is out and it’s above 60 degrees kind of nice. I dislike the idea of squandering good weather. So I put my big Momma foot down.

We are visiting the Butterfly House this afternoon I announced to the kids. Reactions? Baby girl squealed with joy. 2nd most honorable son whined that he just wanted to stay home and relax which in his book means playing video games. Big boy threw a major tantrum that culminated in the car with a you can force me to go but you can’t make me like it teenage back talk. It was painful. I thought maybe I should just turn the car around and forget this whole thing. It  would have been easier and that’s saying something. But I wanted us to spend quality time together and if it didn’t come naturally I was going to force it.

The month of March is March Morpho Mania at the Butterfly House. The common blue morpho is native to Central and South America. Every March, the Butterfly House has thousands of morphos shipped to them from Costa Rica every day. An interesting fact about these beauties is that their wings are not actually blue although they appear to be blue. Their wings are lined with tiny scales that only allow blue light to escape. So, when you see the beautiful blue mess of butterflies, it’s just the sun hitting them in a certain way. When we entered the tropical conservatory we were instantly surrounded and in the company of 2,000 morpho butterflies. Here’s a picture of the 3 kids upon entering the greenhouse. You can see how unhappy the boys are.

All you parents out there with littles still- enjoy and embrace it. There we were, experiencing this stupendous nature and beauty and I have to be honest and share that I just felt sadness. I felt that the days of me dragging my kids out all together especially big boy who is on the precipice of turning 14 and entering high school are numbered. Teenage angst is building and we are already competing against so many things like lacrosse games and practices and Boy Scout activities. I struggle with this. So I remained quiet, ignored their protests and walked around the conservatory, observing the environment around us.

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