ThanKsgiving, Modern Day Pilgrims & Reading books about immigrant children
This week I’m constantly reminded of Charlotte Mason’s statement that it’s not as much about how much our students know but more so about how much they care and ....how many things they care about....
It encouraged me to once again open the pages of our PilgrimsNow & Then Unit Study this Fall and to begin reading stories. We read about the first Pilgrim’s. We read about children arriving on the Mayflower Compact. We read about children coming as indentured servants form Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa. We meet Jewish, Chinese, Russian children who faced their unique set of obstacles and adventures. And then we talk about the approximately 800,000 undocumented immigrant children called “The Dreamers” who are currently living in the U.S..
And we talk about what it may have felt like to move to a differnt country. We talk about me, their mama coming to the U.S. many years ago, just like the pilgrims. So we talk and we read books. Really organically the conversation becomes rich and beautiful.
Sounds fun right? Well... Honestly, immigration and undocumented immigration has always been among those topics that I just didn’t know where to start grabbing the rabbit’s tail (is that an English expression?), well how to approach talking to my kids about it. It seemed so huge and maybe even way over their head? But as we began reading I was amazed how much even my preschooler understood and enjoyed wrestling with higher concepts of compassion and justice.
Therefore more than ever I believe no matter how badly I want to stay cuddled up on the couch with my elementary kids reading Peter Rabbit and Alice in Wonderland, it’s my responsibility as a parent and educator to raise children who are not only aware of the things going on in our world but who are also deeply filled with compassion and passion for people, creatively thinking up concepts on how to make this world a better place. And I find Thanksgiving time is perfect to introduce the topic of immigration, a topic that so many people in the world don’t have a choice but to talk about.
So since I couldn’t find a study guide that looked exactly like I felt it should look like (that’s usually my type A problem...), since I wanted it to be geared towards my elementary kids, be really fun, very gentle, yet authentic and tied in with our pilgrim theme, I created our own unit study on immigration last year. And we love it! It’s literature based and defines terms and historical events. So this is how it goes: We read a few picture books together and then do the fun activities, baking, cooking, crossword puzzles and coloring sheets etc. Afterwards we talk about the book with the guided questions. It’s a literature bawd study because I believe books are such a powerful tool to convey truths and stories. Scientific research has shown that young people who read score much higher in compassion than their peers who don’t read books. If you like to join us you can download it here. You can also obtain some of the books we have been reading bellow.
I believe it is important to talk to our children in some kind of form about immigration this month as we pull out our books on pilgrims, pumpkin decorations and prep the turkeys (:
In fact, I continually try to weave in mention of beauty in different cultures surrounding us. One of my little girls being a tiny fashionista I use that gifting in emphasizing the beauty different ethnic clothe styles have. Places like this fun children's company 'tea' (yes I love it for many reason...:) are wonderful places not just to shop and support the environment and fair trade, but because they teach my kids that we place value on various cultural expressions and utilize, even need some of the beauty that lies in other cultures.
Bellow are some of the books we are reading. There’s also an extensive book list of lots more books in our Unit Study plus books for Middle School age children and discussion and essay questions for the older ones too (:
If you feel you would like to talk to your elementary or middle school kids or students about immigration too, please do join us in reading beautiful children’s books on immigrant children together and enrich it by going through our questions and activities! And leave a comment below with your thoughts on this. I’m super curious what you think and if you’ve ever done a modern day Pilgrims study with your children or students!
Download the Unit Pilgrims Now & Then HERE
I am an amazon associate. That means if you purchase anything through my blog I get a very small percentage. I use that money to be pay fees and expenses to keep this blog going and growing. So any purchases you intend on making through my site are greatly appreciated!
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."
Click to set custom HTML
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.