I remember as a child I would be chastised to turn off the light and go to bed, but I would sneak in a flashlight, just to be able to finish the chapter of a thrilling adventure book. Books have the ability to transport us anywhere in the world. Multicultural books help us imagine what it would be like to experience life from a different perspective. Here are 6 reasons to teach our children using multicultural books. Continue reading
Booking Across the USA is a collaborative blogging project created by Jodie from Growing Book By Book. Each of the participating bloggers are showcasing a book and activity related to their state: all 50 states are represented!!! Children’s literature is a fun way to bring history, culture, and geography alive and to learn about the US through “armchair travel.” The book I’ve chosen to represent Texas is Tomie dePaola’s “The Legend of the Bluebonnet.” Continue reading
Do your kids love to learn about penguins as much as mine do!? There are 17 different kinds of penguins, and although they look different, there are some similarities. All live in the southern hemisphere, normally on the coasts of: Antarctica, South Africa, parts of South America, parts of Australia and New Zealand, and many different islands including the Galapagos (where I swam with some!)! All penguins have blackish backs and white bellies, and are flightless birds who are excellent swimmers. They feed underwater on krill and other creatures, and their predators are orcas, sharks, sea lions, and fur and leopard seals. Groups of penguins are called rookeries. Today penguins are threatened because of reduced food supply (due to over-fishing and global warming), pollution (such as oil spills), and reduced habitat (due to melting ice from global warming). Learn more about penguins with these phenomenal resources:
Penguin Resources: Web Sites
Download a free, high-quality poster of the Emperor Penguin’s life cycle from the US government’s Antarctic Program. Continue reading
Posted in Animals, Australia, Australia and Oceania, Games and Toys, Literature, New Zealand, Polar Regions
Tagged education, non-fiction children's books, on-line activities, penguins, science
Photo credit: Agência Brasil 2006, Creative Commons Use.
Wangari Maathai (1 April 1940 – 25 September 2011) grew up in the green highlands of Kenyan. When she returned from studying college in the US she discovered that her lush homeland was being destroyed by deforestation which caused water and food shortages, malnutrition, and disappearing wildlife. She began to educate others to care for the land and re-plant the forests and they called her Mama Miti, “Mother of Trees.” Ms Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement, which empowered woman around Kenya to help take back their land, planting tree by tree.
For her compassion and efforts she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. She was the first African woman and environmentalist to win a Nobel Peace Prize. Here are resources you can use to teach your children about this inspirational, remarkable woman, and her plight to save her country’s landscape. She shows us that one person truly can save the world! Continue reading
Because Australia and New Zealand are islands, far and isolated from other land masses, many of their animals aren’t found anywhere else on Earth. They have evolved and adapted well to the ecosystems found here: the large desert, forests, grasslands, and mountains. Here are some wonderful picture books and video clips that highlight the very unique animals of Australia and New Zealand. There are silly stories with animals as their main character, and others are based on true adventures had by animals in this part of the world. All are delightful and colorful, and will compliment and add a global dimension to lessons in science and social studies. The incredible clips offer a live view of animals in their natural habitat. Continue reading
Posted in Animals, Australia, Australia and Oceania, Literature, New Zealand
Tagged education, fiction children's books, kangaroos, koalas, non-fiction children's books, possums, wallabies, wombats
I love using high-quality children’s literature to show them how children around the world live with their families, go to school, and enjoy playing with their friends. Educators and parents can use literature to increase cultural awareness because young children are able to digest new concepts when the information is presented in story form (see journal articles below).
Here are a few books about life in Ethiopia, from children’s perspectives. When I purchased these books, I was looking to enhance my son’s knowledge of his birth country and encourage a positive self-concept of his cultural heritage, without portraying negative stereotypes. We enjoyed the photographs and information presented so much that we decided to purchase extra copies to give to our children’s school, to enrich their library. Continue reading
I have 3 great children’s books that will give you a well-rounded introduction and background of Ireland. This is Ireland, by Miroslav Sasek was written in 1964 like a travel guidebook for kids. With fantastic (now vintage) illustrations, it describes the important places across the entire country including details and history about Dublin, the monastery of Clonmacnoise, and several stone castles.
Image credit: photo taken from "This is Ireland" by M. Sasek, copyright 1964.
The book takes us from the Giant’s Causeway in the north, to the many lakes in County Mayo to the west, and all along the diverse coasts and harbors including the Cliffs of Moher and Connemara. Sasek includes interesting facts woven into the book about St. Patrick, the cathedral that bears his name in Dublin, the Book of Kells, famous people, and national symbols such as the leprechaun, shamrock, and the shillelagh. I wish I would have known about this book before we took our daughter to Ireland! Continue reading
In this abridged version of his autobiography, children will be introduced to a global hero: South African Nelson Mandela
Reading biographies written for kids, and learning about important leaders from around the world and challenges they have overcome gives children examples of character traits, perspective on current events, and expands their ideas about other countries. The activities in this article are geared towards the older elementary grades.
You may know that Nelson Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid activist who was imprisoned 27 years, elevated to President of South Africa in 1991 and subsequently won the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize. Continue reading
The perfect introductory story
Ask your children to find Mexico on the map. How far is Mexico from your hometown? What do you know about Mexico? The Day of the Dead, known as “Día de los Muertos” is one of Mexico’s most important celebrations. During the first week of November people remember their loved ones who have died by visiting them in the cemeteries, creating small displays in honor of them, and making certain traditional food. In this small but colorful story, a family in a small town in Mexico prepares for Día de los Muertos, and finally spends the night in the cemetery remembering their grandparents. It is a wonderfully simple story, that touches on all of the important elements of Day of the Dead: the marigolds, mole, pan de muertos, sugar skulls, the candles. The illustrations contain a lot of details, but are quite small. I would not use this book for a class unless I had access to an Elmo (document camera/projector). However, for reading on the couch with my 4 kids, the size was perfect. This is a fantastic book to introduce your children to the Day of the Dead!
The next book is Continue reading