Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Reading Multicultural Books to Kids: Want to try?

Over the years, my favorite kinds of stories to read to young children have been multicultural or global in nature. Why? To see the excitement in their eyes as they travel to a distant place, learn a new word, or realize something meaningful about their own history.

Again in February, I will read Seven Spools of Thread to a group of local elementary students during their Multicultural month. The story, by Angela Shelf Medearis, is a tale about seven quarrelsome brothers and their father's ultimatum: to make gold from seven colored spools of thread or be left without an inheritance. As I read, kids will learn how the brothers employ the "Nguzo Saba," (the seven principles of Kwanzaa) as they come together and create the first Kente cloth, now one of the most well-known and prosperous traditional icons of West Africa.  I first read this story as part of my bi-weekly Multicultural Kids Program at A Better Footprint.

Reading multicultural books to kids is often most rewarding far AFTER the story ends though. My own daughter (age 3), for example, said something amazing yesterday: we were clearing a path through the pile of toys on the floor when she looked up and said "Mom, we're making a 'Show Way!'" And I grabbed her and her baby brother and shouted, "And I'm gonna to love those babies on up 'so, yes I'm gonna love those babies on up."

If you live in the Green Bay area and want a chance to read your own or someone else's multicultural or globally themed book to a classroom of eager ears, read this post from Principal Theresa Williams:
Prince of Peace Catholic School (3542 Finger Road) is having a Multicultural Ready, Set, Read on Monday, February 1, from 2:00-3:00 p.m. We are looking for 4-5 people from different cultures to read a story to our Kindergarten through grade 5 students (such as Native American, Mexican, Hmong, Italian, Irish, German, etc.). We would have the students rotate in groups among the 4-5 storytellers (12-15 minutes each). If extra time permits after reading the story they could tell the students more about that culture, show them clothing, artifacts, pictures, maps, etc. if they have them. To sign up today email:  theresamarywilliams@yahoo.com

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