Ok friends this is a highly inspirational post. I recently decided to season my blog with posts that are uplifting and inspirational, and not totally 'diverse-books' centered. Why? Because I believe whoever aims to live a multiethnic diverse lifestyle will encounter discouragement along the way. Because surviving and thriving life requires us to season our life with uplifting inspirational words. Because, we are friends and that's what friends do. (at least my friends:) And lastly, because I'm just walking though a season in life right now that's choke full of musing about life, the meaning of life, how to live an intentional life... yep, one of those seasons. I'm probably too young for mid-life crisis but it's probably something deep like that that I'm wading through right now. (: So why not share it on this blog and inspire others, too?
So here we go. But first disclaimer: I'm going to share real candid about, not just my great philosophic findings and splendid ideas, but about personal weaknesses and ways that I deal with shortcomings or challenges:
So here we go for real now:
Look at the picture above. What do you see? A gorgeous curly girl of color browsing through a little free library. Little free libraries... Those phenomena that just popped up out of nowhere everywhere like mushrooms, I feel. And I love them! These little libraries scattered around neighborhoods all over the country simply speak a million things at one time without saying a word. Things like, I love nature, outdoors. I love my neighborhood and my neighbors. I love to share. My books and wisdom. I love slow paced walks and browsing through books. I love books. I love diversity of books. I am willing to give, willing to be honest and I am an IMPORTANT contribution to the wisdom pool of my neighborhood.... etc. (you add...)
Deep thougths on a little box with book in it? Yes. But I have to be really honest. Until today I loved the IDEA of these libraries and the theory I just stated. I loved looking at them driving by but I never actually engaged!
This morning however, my youngest two out of nowhere BEGGED me to take their bikes down the street to exchange books there.
Honestly: The schedule-loving, efficient, on time, ain’t-nobody-got time-for-change-of-plans GERMAN in me raised her eye brows high asking, “why??” However.... the lay back Ghanaian in me smiled, shushed that German away and answered: “why not?!” 😉 ....and so we spend 30 minutes this morning finding and browsing two little libraries in our neighborhood.
My take away... I realized the beauty and importance of continuous spontaneity as we educate and build relationships with those we educate and in life in general. I realized that even in a full classroom setting I actually do enjoy those moments I allow myself to pick up ideas from various students that differ from my planned lesson and thus affirm the students’ important contribution to our learning.
So, in summary I realized .... 1.) .... the “why not’s” in life are so important!! (Reading “year of yes” by beautiful, brilliant and hilarious Shonda Rhimes right now and like her underlining message of: we’ve only been giving one life, so losen up buttercup;). 2.) I realized ..... I actually do believe those old folks who say “you’ll blink and they’ll be in college already... the days are long but the years are short.” 3.) I realized ..... I do want my kids to call from college one day and say, “hey mom, remember the spontaneous trips to the library, the beautiful nature walks and that spontaneous In-and-out field trip where we learnt to make the perfect burger and how to run a successful company?!” And finally I realized... 4)... I really love myself and my life when I allow my Ghanaian side take over more!
Do you sometimes follow spontaneous ideas with those you educate and then realize that you never regret it?
Hello! My name is Camille and I’m guest writing for today’s post. I met dear Nancy at a conference where we discussed the beauty of life as a multiethnic person in our own multiethnic families. Our friendship flourished since then!
Today, I want to introduce you to a favorite book in our family…
But first a little about me: I grew up in an eclectic household: my mom is an immigrant from the Philippines and my dad is a part of the African diaspora by way of Mississippi. My home life was immersed in Filipino culture with a soundtrack of Mississippi delta blues always in the background. My upbringing as a partial first generation American in a half-immigrant household was enriched with an understanding of this country while maintaining a deep respect for “the Filipino way.” I’ve always desired to know more about my mother’s homeland in the same way that I would take history lessons in class.
It’s been nearly 20 years since my schooldays, but I’ve finally found the book that I’ve always wanted! Thankfully, it’s coming just in time for me to raise my kids to better understand themselves and the country their grandma calls home.
My cousin bought the All About the Philippines book for my daughter earlier this year with a simple note: “Never forget where you came from.” I know that it’s for my daughter… but I. Just. Can’t. Put. It. Down. Never could I imagine that I would have a book, written by Filipino women, that would depict the many layers of our homeland in beautiful words and stunning imagery. Within a week of receiving it I showed it off to my Filipino friends.
How well do you know about the ancestral voyages to the Philippines or the story of Philippine Independence? Do you know why Filipinos are so diverse in their looks, cultures, and religions? Where can you find introductions to the country’s many languages? Want to learn a children’s song or popular games in the Philippines? Need a first-hand account on how to live in a land of earthquakes, volcanoes, and typhoons?
I kid you not when I say that it’s all this book! The beautiful interweaving on our multilayered country stuns me regularly. I’m obviously partial to this book because it’s tied to my ancestral homeland—but this is a great read for introducing children (or yourself) into the vibrancy of the Philippines even if you're not from the Philippines.
My husband and I plan to worldschool our children; thus, we want to ensure that their education is authentically rooted in a place of empathy, understanding, and relationship for other cultures. Allowing children to read books such as this removes them from the mentality of a “tourist” and introduces them to the sensitive spaces of humility & friendship.
Though there is much to love about this book my favorite part of it is the publishing company: Tuttle Publishing. There are so few books available providing honest depictions of Asian histories and cultures. Tuttle is dedicated to expanding meaning dialogue and information about Asian countries through their books.
If you’re interested in learning more about different countries in Asia then I recommend purchasing one of the many “All About…” books from Tuttle. They’re written by writers from these countries who are passionate about their homelands and providing honest introductions into their parts of the world. It’s people writing about themselves and the homes they love – no exotification, stereotypes, or exploitation. I plan on expanding our library with more of these titles. I hope you can join me in introducing your children to the amazing cultures and histories of these Asian countries…
All About China
All About Indonesia
All About Japan
All About Korea
All About Thailand
All About the Philippines
Thanks for reading!
Ps: You can follow me and our family adventures more @AmandlaHomeschool on Instagram.
Why it is crucial to allow your kids to create art
First of all my apologies for having been MIA for the past 2 months! These have probably been the busiest two months this year. Right after we got back from Germany, we finished out the school year (strong!:), I had several projects, started working part time again and enrolled the kids in more sports and art camps than I had ever done in my life!
A second reason I've been MIA is that I finished writing the children's book that I started last summer (Yipee!).
In the process I learnt several things:
1.) It's good for the soul to do a bucket list item and work on a large creative project
2.) Writing a children's book requires a LOT of time and long nights
3.) I REALLY love my book and hope it gets published! (-:
Apart from that I realized this summer how important it is to encourage young children of color to be creative and create things with their hands. Yes, it can and will get messy... but in today's world where their ability will soon by constantly second guessed, I believe creativity, encouraging and praising creativity (and not perfection) is not just optional but crucial to keep your child well rounded in body, mind and soul. It shouldn't just all be about academics, reading and sports (though I love those). Art has to be a crucial part of their education and life as well. When we encourage young people to express what they experience not just in words but with their hands they are free to live out all their gifting.
The artist I was writing a book on said that it was the atmosphere in his home that fostered creativity in him. His parents, despite very humble means continually encouraged him and his siblings to create with their hands: draw, potter, paint, make music.
It's good for the soul. This summer as my kids proudly showed me their watermelon sewn purses and pottered mermaids I realized that a long time ago I resolved that anytime my kids showed me an artistic work I would behave like it was the most beautiful thing in the whole universe. Why? Because this world will soon enough try to damp or numb or stifle young people's creativity and confidence in creating things. I want my kids to fall back onto a foundation of artistic acceptance.
Today my children watched a show where the main character (playwright) told the African American puppet who was hiding. "No, we need your ideas! Your voice matters too!" I honestly wasn't quite sure how to feel about the scene. Sure, I got the gist here. But it was too stereotypical. I mean how powerful would it have been to beat all stereotypes and switch around those two characters to convey the message that truly ALL voices matter and all voices struggle with insecurity sometime and all voices can be successful.
However, the words reinforced the message I've been thinking about: All our creative ideas and expressions matter in our community, country and world. No-one gets to hide.
And that's also one reasons I wrote my book. The artist and his family really inspired me and I hope it will inspire others, especially children of color, to find and live out their artistic expressions despite obstacles.
But bottom line, in order to encourage arts I may have to continue some of the camps this Fall and turn a blind eye to some very creative messes in my backyards mud kitchen (:
Stay cool this summer and wish me luck on that book please!
Die schoensten mulitkulturellen Kinderbuecher auf Deutsch / The best multicultural books for German and British kids
Those who know me know that I was born and raised in Germany and that I have a passion for not just colorful kids books but also seeing them in the German language, my mother tongue. Since, a few of my German friends asked, here come some books that I recommend for your multiethnic German speaking children! A little German blog post for my German friends!
Falls du mich kennst, weisst du dass ich multikulturelle Kinderbücher liebe. Meistens lese und schreibe ich reviews zu englischen Büchern da ich halt im englisch sprachigen Raum wohne. Das heisst aber nicht dass ich nicht bewusst auch viele Deutsche Buecher mit meinen Kleinen lese. Hier nun einige die ich schön finde und empfehlen kann:
#1 Nelly und die Berlinchen
Eine gute Freundin schenkte meiner Tochter diesen Schatz zum Geburtstag und es ist so ein süßes Buch!
#2 Starke Geschichten für alle Kinder dieser Welt
Mir gefällt es dass dieses Buch nicht nur deutsch kunterbunt sondern international ist und so den Kindern einen weiteren Blockwinkel vermittelt als nur die eigen Stadt (:
#3 Wie war's frueher?
Wir haben dieses Buch auf Englisch und meine 8 jährige Tochter liebt es! Diese bunten Seiten machen Geschichte lernen ganz einfach und natürlich. Selbst kleine Kinder lernen schon viel davon einfach die bunten Bilder anzuschauen. Mir gefällt dass kulturelle Vielfalt vermittelt wird, auf ganz schöne Weise, ohne dass es komisch wirkt oder schwer klingt weil die Kinder in dem Buch so viele Gemeinsamkeiten mit anderen Kindern weltweit haben.
#4 Millennium Children of Britain Just like Me
For my British friends: These are a few wonderful books I recommend in English and that are similar to the American version of our "Children Just Like Me" book. It takes your child through foods and the lives' of children throughout the world. It is such a natural and organic way for children to learn about other cultures - through stories! Your kids and students will love learning about many similarities (e.g. what subjects in school a child likes/dislikes) and also about new interesting and fun things (such as unique games children in different country play).
If I lived in Britain I would definitely get the "Millennium Children of Britain Just Like Me". What a brilliant concept... to intentionally teach young children to value and love the very cultures that they are surrounded by in his/her country... by reading and learning about them! And as you know me, next step is inviting them over for lunch! I'm definitely recommending this one to my U.K. residing brother to add to the library of the children's hospital he works at! (-:
#5 Anna Hibiscus
And last but not least of course: Anna Hibiscus! If your child is of African descent even in the slightest way, you must get one of the sweet Anna Hisbiscus books! It is just the most beautiful depiction of life of a Canadian/African little girl living in Africa I have ever seen! I love how the children learn so much of African culture (I know there are differences for different countries, but the author understands to draw out some overriding themes in many countries, such as honoring elders, the high value of the family vs individual etc). Most of all I love about the Anna Hibiscus books that they always bring us int a good mood and cause lots of laughter even in the hardest days. And what mom of little ones doesn't need that?!! I promise you will get addicted to the stories of that little (s)hero!
Dies ist ein wachsender Blog post und ich hoffe ganz bald noch mehr schöne deutsche Bücher hinzuzufügen! / This is a growing blog and I'm continually adding more beautiful books that are perfectly taylored for German and British kids!
Happy Reading und Alles Liebe,
California based Ghanaian-German educator, writer, bookworm and mama of three. A lover of all things nature, diversity & healthy.
"Education is nothing else than discovery.
And discovery full of diversity is beautiful."
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About the author
My name is Nancy. I'm a teacher, home educator, wife, mother, writer and accidental German-Ghanaian transplant to the U.S., in love with California and all things diversity.