Posts tagged: international children’s books

Kindergarten Day USA and China (Trish Marx & Ellen B. Senisi) – Book Recommendation

By , January 6, 2011 10:17 am

One thing I enjoy about having a blog is being “discovered” by a publisher whose books really fit my style and interests.  For me, the Global Fund for Children is just that publisher.  Their books are all about diversity and respect for other cultures and people.  I am always delighted and honored to be asked to review one, and pleased to be able to recommend a really worthwhile book.  When the review copy arrives at my house we all pounce upon it eagerly!

The latest treat we received from the Global Fund for Children is Kindergarten Day USA and China by Trish Marx and Ellen B. Senisi.  The premise of the book is basic:  simple text from a child’s point of view and lots of big, colorful photos track a typical kindergarten day in the United States and in China.

First of all, we love the way the book is cleverly set up as a flip book.  One half is the Schenectady, New York class but when you finish that section you close the book and flip it around to read about the Beijing children’s day in the other half.  We also liked that each page has a clock that shows both the time in Schenectady and the time in Beijing.  This gives a real-time sense of what is going on for the children in each country.  Finally, we enjoyed the fact that the China section has some Chinese words sprinkled throughout and briefly explains pinyin, encouraging young readers to try to pronounce the Chinese words.

The authors successfully create a connection between the two classrooms on different sides of the globe through parallel activities.  Each class has a birthday celebration.  There is a slight conflict (being too loud, not sharing toys) that will be familiar to all children wherever they live.  We see both classes eat lunch and have outdoor recess.  Children in each class interact with their friends and work on reading.  And at the end of the sections, both classes mention thinking about the other class and wonder if the other class thinks about them too.

Children will see that although there are some interesting differences in life in the other country (for example we see the American children served lunch in a cafeteria, whereas the Chinese teacher prepares lunch for the children and it is eaten in the classroom with chopsticks), there are actually far more similarities.  Children in both countries laugh and cry.  All the children enjoy friends, playtime, drawing and reading.

My kids (ages 5, 8, and 10) are fascinated by Kindergarten Day and have read it through several times, even the older two.  I really like how the Global Fund for Children’s multicultural books take advantage of childrens’ natural curiosity about other children to teach the important lesson that although we might be different in some minor ways, people are basically the same wherever they live.  If every human could learn this basic truth at a young age, and develop a sense of curiosity about other countries and cultures, wouldn’t the world be a much happier and more harmonious place!

Kudos (yet again!) to the Global Fund for Children for helping to promote international awareness and understanding among children.

Kindergarten Day USA and China is available either directly from Global Fund for Children (hardcover or paperback), or Amazon (also in hardcover or Kindergarten Day USA and China (Global Fund for Children Books (Paperback)).

My other Global Fund for Children recommendations:

Global Babies

Nasreen’s Secret School

Happy International Children’s Book Day! (Book Recommendations)

By , April 2, 2008 2:29 pm

April 2nd is International Children’s Book Day, a worldwide celebration aimed at inspiring a love of reading and calling attention to children’s books. This annual celebration was created by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) a non-profit whose very worthwhile mission is the following:

– to promote international understanding through children’s books

– to give children everywhere the opportunity to have access to books with high literary and artistic standards

– to encourage the publication and distribution of quality children’s books, especially in developing countries

– to provide support and training for those involved with children and children’s literature

– to stimulate research and scholarly works in the field of children’s literature

Each year a different international chapter of IBBY hosts International Children’s Book Day. This year’s host country is Thailand.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

In honor of International Children’s Book Day, I thought it might be fun to write a post about 7 children’s books that we have enjoyed – one for each continent of the world! I tried to pick a book that was from, or takes place in, each continent. So here goes:

North America:

How the Stars Fell into the Sky by Jerrie Oughton and Lisa Desimini

This beautifully illustrated Navajo legend of how the stars came to be placed in the sky, has an underlying deeper meaning. How did the world come to be the chaotic and adversarial place that it is today? Blame it all on coyote!

South America:

The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest by Lynne Cherry

Marvelous illustrations tell the tale of rain forest inhabitants who each try to tell a woodcutter why he should not chop down their Kapok tree. Teaches about rain forest animals and their needs, as well as the interconnectedness of all living creatures. By the way, the ending is happy and shows the man dropping his ax and leaving the forest.

Africa:

Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plainby Verna Aardema

An African folk tale about how Ki-Pat succeeded in bringing rain to drought-stricken Kapiti Plain. Told in a “House That Jack Built”-style rhyme that is fun to read.

Europe:

Bonny’s Big Day by James Herriot, illustrated by Ruth Brown

I decided to change the tone a bit with this selection. Until I found this charming book at a thrift store, I did not realize that James Herriot writes stories for children. Having always enjoyed his country vet series of books for adults, I was eager to read this sweet tale to my children. This story of a gruff old man and his love for his horses seems to be another of Mr. Herriot’s true tales of his days as a vet in the Yorkshire Dales. Too wordy for very young children, but animal-loving older kids will definitely enjoy this series.

Asia:

Monsoon by Uma Krishnaswami, illustrated by Jamel Akib

The poetic tale of an Indian girl anxiously awaiting the arrival of the annual monsoon rains. Beautiful written imagery combined with wonderful pastel illustrations vividly depict life in an Indian city.

Australia:

Big Rain Coming by Katrina Germein, illustrated by Bronwyn Bancroft

(I guess I have a real rain theme going here!) Unfortunately, I must admit that we seem to have no story books from or about Australia in our home collection. Factual books about Australia? Yes. But stories? No. I am totally embarrassed, especially if any of you reading this are Australians. I did however, find this book online and it seems like a really good one. The story is yet another about waiting for rain! The intricate, aboriginal style illustrations are what really seem to make the book. According to the School Library Journal review on Amazon: “The text is well paced with a perfect rhythm for reading aloud, and the large, clean double-page spreads make for easy viewing.”

Antarctica:

Antarctic Antics: A Book of Penguin Poems by Judy Sierra, illustrated by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey

Ha!  I bet you didn’t think I could come up with one for Antarctica, did you!  Actually, Antarctica should have been my most difficult, not Australia.  But fortunately I had this book in the back of my mind all along. We just love this little book of funny and educational penguin poems. Each poem teaches something about penguins in a very humorous way. I really can’t recommend this one enough! (For more information, read my review here.)

Happy International Children’s Book Day to all, no matter what continent you call home!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

More links of interest:

+ My post about last year’s International Children’s Book Day which has lots of links to websites and stores for finding multicultural and international children’s books.

+ My post about ways to foster international understanding and interest in your children.

Celebrate International Children’s Book Day!

By , April 2, 2007 8:03 am

 

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

(Photo by DuBoix from morguefile.com)

Today is International Children’s Book Day with celebrations being held at libraries around the world, as well as a “mini-festival” in Aukland, New Zealand (this year’s sponsoring country).

In honor of International Children’s Book Day, this seems like the perfect time for the post I had planned about resources for finding multicultural children’s books.

Here are some websites that promote multicultural children’s books:

1) Papertigers.org: For those interested in children’s books from and about the Pacific Rim and South Asia. They have featured books, author interviews, and my favorite: links to suggested reading lists by country and topic. (Note from 11/2016: The Papertigers website is no longer being updated but archives are still online and you can find lots of great information.)

2) A list of 50 Multicultural Books That Every Child Should Read can be found at the National Education Association (NEA) Website. This list is arranged by age and is merely a list of titles and authors, with no photos, descriptions or reviews. But, it could be a good starting place for a search for age-appropriate multicultural books.

3) Another interesting link is Growing Up Around The World – Books as Passports to Global Understanding For Children in the United States. This bibliography complied by the Association for Library Service to Children is arranged in downloadable PDF format by continent of interest. I downloaded the “Africa” list and found 8 pages of book suggestions broken down by country. Each book reference contains title, author, grade level, and a brief description. In order to promote cultural accuracy, all the books on this list were written by authors who have lived a minimum of two years in each culture. If you want children’s stories specifically about Cameroon or Tanzania for example, start here!

4) Lee & Low’s Blog (“A blog on race, diversity, education, and children’s books”):  A blog for Lee & Low’s Books (see below). Lots of information about children’s books with themes of diversity and multiculturalism.

Some stores that specialize in multicultural books are:

Culture For Kids
– Bilingual and multicultural books and videos.

Asia For Kids – Asian language and cultural materials.

Lee & Low’s Books – “Lee & Low Books is the largest multicultural children’s book publisher in the United States. We are your diversity source.” Really huge selection of books.

Multicultural Kids – Books, videos, music, crafts, puzzles, dolls, gifts and educational materials. Also includes resources on related subjects such as self-esteem, adoption, differently-abled kids.

Brown Sugar & Spice – Primarily African-American, but some other multicultural books too, including biracial and adoption.

And finally, a multicultural magazine for kids:

Skipping Stones – I have not read this one but it looks interesting! It is an award-winning, nonprofit children’s magazine which is published bimonthly during the school year. It sounds so neat that I will simply quote the publisher’s description:

In Skipping Stones, you will find stories, articles and photos from all over the world: Native American folktales, photos by kids in India and the Ukraine, letters and drawings from South Africa and Lithuania, cartoons from China… Non-English writings are accompanied by English translations to encourage the learning of other languages. Each issue also contains international pen pals, book reviews, news, and a guide for parents and teachers. The guide offers creative activities and resources for making best use of Skipping Stones in your home or classroom.”

Plus, they accept original photos, artwork, and writing from all ages and in any language. If you have a creative child who is just dying to be published, this could be the magazine for you!

Our favorites: I can’t complete this very lengthy post without including a list of some of our favorite multicultural/international books. The last one is a real eye-opener: Material World: A Global Family Portrait, is geared more toward adults, but children will find it fascinating too, when read with an adult.

(For more info on two of these titles: I have posts about Wake Up World, and Let’s Eat – plus another here about Let’s Eat)

No, The World Does Not Eat Mac & Cheese

By , March 27, 2007 10:04 am

While we are on the subject of picky eaters, I want to feature a cool book that teaches kids that the world does not revolve around mac & cheese. I have already written a post about this book, but since it is SUCH a great book, I thought I ought to write about it again.

The book is called Let’s Eat: What Children Eat Around the World (author Beatrice Hollyer). Each chapter features a child from one of five countries: India, France, South Africa, Mexico and Thailand. Through text and numerous colorful photos, we see a bit of their daily lives and the food involved, as well as a festival or a special day involving food.

At the end there are also five easy recipes, one from each child: Condensed Milk Tart (South Africa), Tomato Salsa (Mexico), Thai Fried Eggs, French Chocolate Cake, and Coconut Sweet (India). None of these is shockingly exotic, but some might introduce a bit of a new taste to American palates. Reading a chapter of this book and then cooking the corresponding recipe could be a fun “Kids Cook Night” activity.

An added bonus: all royalties go to Oxfam, so by buying the book, you are actually helping children and families around the world too!

PS: “Great Diaper Challenge” update: Sorry we have not started yet. The baby is suffering from some sort of gastrointestinal bug so I thought it best to wait until her digestive tract and her mood have returned to normal before we try out the new gDiapers!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

Panorama Theme by Themocracy