Let me pull up a chair for you and pour you a cup of South African Rooibos tea.... hm .... nothing like the fragrance of good tea. And here are some baked plantains to go with it. The perfect setting to relax and talk about the world, education, arts, children's literature and ... discovering beauty in diversity.
If you are interested in a colorful bookshelf filled with remarkable multicultural children's books, lots of tea and musing about multicultural topics, you are in the right spot!!!
It can be hard to find and create a multicultural life AND build a personal library that is colorful and rich in diverse themes. But here you are! Sit back browse through our library, reflect on some thoughts on multiculturalism and grab a few books to take home!
What will you find on this site?
1. Impulses for a bold, fun & culturally diversified life for you and your family.
2. Books, books, books and more books! And our books differ in their authors' ethnic backgrounds, subjects and are often decorated with a diversity of beautiful picture! Moreover the books on this site are arranged by grade levels, countries, themes and historical time periods.
3. Along with them you will find beautifully diversified curricula and teaching ideas.
4. You will also stumble upon some random, deep, sad and silly thoughts and life experiences on the topic of diversity, wellness, parenting and education. (: (from all kinds of people, aka guest bloggers).
Well without further delay: a warm....
Welcome to our colorful, cozy and simple school room, living room & library!
Have some more tea and happy reading (: Ps: Bellow is some more detailed info on who I am and what the mission of this blog community is! But first, sign up here if you like to be the first to know of the latest books we are reading!
So my name is Nancy and I wish I could hear you say your name right now and tell me a little about yourself.
Well until then, let me guess: Maybe you are a parent, an educator, a grandparent, an aunt, friend, godparent or all of the above and more. Most likely you are an influencer in a young persons life.
Maybe you have stumbled across this blog to find resources and gain a broader understanding on diverse cultures.
Maybe you desire to instill a sense of wonder and appreciation for diversity in your students.
Or you may just be tired of same ol' same and want some fresh ideas for your teachings.
Maybe you have read the news and left confused.
Well.., Maybe you have been at a party and encountered someone from a culture that's very different from yours. You didn't know what to say or what not to say. You weren't sure what to do, comment on or not to do and better not comment on. And it was awkward. And maybe your children stood there right next to you staring at you while you smiled nervously and dragged them away to get a soda. "Ahem, excuse us..." So, I've been there. And like many of you I've actually sat on both sides of the table before. I've been the person making a stupid, cultural ignorant remark and I've been the person who was deeply hurt by the insensitive remark about my cultural background and heritage.
So, my 1st goal in this blog is to help you navigate those awkward moments (: and become more cultural competent. That means knowing about a culture so much that you are confident, happy and enriching the conversation anytime you are around someone representing a different culture. We will discover various every day life topics in the context of diversity and explore how to include diverse thinking into your teaching and daily living.
You will see that exploring diversity doesn't have to be awkward, hard and heavy work to be avoided. Even when learning about serious social issues, this can be done in a gentle, authentically honoring, fun and hope-filled way.
I've come to find that once you have the right books it's such a pleasant and rewarding journey to explore new cultures. Even if the path leads you over sticks and stones and thistles the experience of that can end in finding something beautiful at the end of the path.
I like to help you build the bridges and enjoy walking over them, with those you lead.
I believe no matter our past or present, no matter how much we know or don't know about other cultures, we all can use a good healthy dose of fresh diverse ideas on a regular basis, just to keep our heart and organs function properly (:
A 2nd goal of this blog is to help your students install gain a deep appreciation and love for their own cultures. I believe every single person is diverse. No one is born into a homogenous vacuum. Everyone is rich in experiences, traditions, cultural heritage, habits, skills, and dreams. Helping your student discover and cherish their own cultural diversity is one of the best things you can do for them. I believe fostering a healthy appreciation of their own heritage brings a healthy identity. A healthy identity begets a well nourished student. A well-nourished student begets an appreciative and well-rounded view for other cultures. And such a student will use his or her giftings to joyfully and maturely better the world.
The 3rd Goal of this blog is to equip you with quality materials that make it easy for you to foster cultural competency, healthy identity and love for cultures in your students.
As I began my journey as a teacher and then as a home educator I realized that it was fairly easy to find some kind of material on the different required subjects such as art, history, science, poetry. However it was very hard to find those subjects written about and by people of diverse cultural backgrounds. But that's what I wanted. I wanted my students to explore not just great inventors and artists and world changers. I wanted them to meet great inventors, artists and world changers of every kind of culture and hue.
As I began going deeper in my research I noticed there were actually quite a few books written on diverse cultures and social issues but not many of them were cultural sensitive and engaged the topic in a gentle, honoring yet authentically beautiful way.
I wanted my students to read books written not just on cultural diverse topics and about diverse persona. I wanted them to read books written by a passionate and diverse crowd of scholars and artists.
So I began my search for books written by authors that were not just passionate about the topic but intimately acquainted with the thematic and culture. Side note: I'm kind of very picky when it comes to what books I place in front of my children to feast on (kinda like with food). And I am picky in that aspect because I believe only a nutrious diet makes well nourished students and only well nourished students have something to offer to their world.
So I began digging deeper. And was amazed at the treasure.
As I began researching books that brought my students a deep joy and appreciation, even love for the different flavors of the world I was blown away by the richness of what I myself learnt in each children's book. With each new book our minds' were enlarged as we marveled at the wisdom of ancient queens, the valor of foreign princes and the bravery of desert princesses. Such beauty and wisdom lay in the folk stories of African, Asian, Hispanic and American cultures to name a few.
The stories we read allowed my students to form relationship and therefor a retention of historical or artistic facts easily. Moreover, they created a beautiful bond in our student teacher relationship.
Together we were in awe, together we jumped out of our seats in surprise, together we were saddened at the losses of the heroes and heroines, and together we hesterically laughed out loud at the unforeseen ending of a story and comic reliefs.
More than anything I believe my students and I have been and are enriched by the life lessons, the morals of the story if you so will, that undergirded so many of the diverse life's we studied. They surpassed our cultural norms and tradition yet they held the same core values I aimed to teach my students in common books. Yet these values and virtues were neatly and sometimes humorously packaged in fresh and different colors and fabrics and styles of the particular culture. And we had fun unpacking them even when at times they were hard pills to swallow in the lessons.
With this blog we invite you to dive with us into beautiful and literally world literature, particularly children's books. These may be books that you have never heard of but we found are such dear treasures to be held. Books written by diverse authors of old as well as contemporaries opening us up to a whole new world of new life and learning.
In this blog we will explore important artists and world changers throughout history. We will do so with the help of rich and colorfully diverse books written by experts who are passionate and intimately and authentically acquainted with the subjects.
You may say "yes, sounds great! But where do I begin?" It's quite simple. I suggest you read aloud one diverse book (out of our virtual book basket:) every week. Research has shown that reading aloud does incredible things in young people's brains and hearing about new concepts, different cultures even more so. It may only take you 10-15 minutes a day but at the end of the year you will have read at least 40 books even if you skip some weeks! Many of the books I suggest can be borrowed at the library or you can purchase them to read them over and over throughout the years (that's what we do). My children love to be able to pull these books out at a later date and pointing to this book relating to a topic they currently study. It's really neat. Through repetition, I found, content, message and characters fall deep into your students heart. I promise that I will only recommend those books that I believe are absolutely worth having a VIP spot in your home library. (;
So, I invite you on this journey of discovering new sparkle in your life, your teaching, your loving and learning.
May the manifold stories of compassion, passion, justice, love and righteousness greatly enrich you. May they inspire plenty of tea times and may they nurture lots and lots of precious moments with those you teach!