Mem Fox is a bestselling author who has sold millionsof books worldwide.
She lived her life as a literacy professor who taught anddeveloped teachers for many years. Her first book “Possum Magic,”which was published in 1983, sold millions of copies. From that, she went on towrite “Whoever You Are,” achildren literature book illustrated by Leslie Staub.
The book released in 1997and aimed at celebrating the diversity in our world, and promoting inclusionand acceptance. The book describes thatwhile people may look different, speak different, and their lives may not lookthe same but inside we are alike. It breaks down barriers between people byhighlighting the similarities in the fundamental routines of individual’s daily lives. For example: weall laugh and cry, we learn and we listen, and we sleep and we eat. This bookallows students to accept their differences while as well as recognize theirlikeness to their peers and other members of society. Furthermore, the vividillustrations and vibrant colors display the many different cultures andpractices of people all over the world as well as captivate the student’s attention.
The book presentsdiversity in ethnicity, making the child feel as though they can relate to thestory and characters throughout. This would be a great way to start a lesson ondiversity and multiculturalism for young children because the book is easy toread and the illustrations provided will help the children understand the manydifferent cultures in the world. It could be presented as a read alone;however, a read aloud would be more engaging and allow students to collectivelyunderstand the message the author is trying to get across via discussion abouttheir own personal background and culture.
Parr, T. (2001). It’s Okay to Be Different. New York: Scholastic Inc.Todd Parr is a New York Times bestselling author andillustrator who has written and illustrated numerous children’s books. Parr’s goal was to give children a “satisfying reading experience about acceptance,differences and empowerment for kids to feel better about themselves in asimple, fun way”.
It’s “Ok to Be Different,” published in 2001 celebrates celebrate thedifferences in different people. It’s “Okay to Be Different” encourages children to embrace who they areregardless of what is different about them, or whatever circumstances they mayface. Parr recognizes that people come in all different shapes and sizes, andthat these differences are what give people their sense of individuality.
Parrtargets many different issues that may make someone feel different, such asappearance, culture, feelings, and family structures. This book relates to avariety of individuals and emphasizes to children that they are not inferior toothers because of their differences. Parr delivers an important message ofacceptance, understanding, and confidence in a child friendly format. Theillustrations featured are bold and bright and childlike makes it relatable tochildren and easy to follow.
This book will enhance a child’s emotional development and teachchildren to celebrate multiculturalism and diversity. An efficient way to share this reading withyoung students would be to read aloud with the students, as they will be ableto look around at their classmates and appreciate the differences among themthat make them unique. Beauvais, G.
, Webster, J. C., &Jones, S. A.
(2013). I Am Mixed. Stranger Kids.I am mixed is a children’s book written by Sebastian A. Jones and GracelleBeauvais. The plot of this book portrays twins, Jay and his sister Nina who aredifferent skin tones. The story is told from the sides of each of the twins andexplores life through the eyes of a mixed-race child.
The authors portray thetwins like any other children living a regular life and doing the same thingsas other children, bringing a sense of relatability, yet still celebratingtheir uniqueness. The illustrations created by Webber add a dimension ofvibrant colour and responsiveness to the text. This book would be great to havein a classroom as classrooms are so diversified children will learn that its okto be different. “I am mixed” teaches children that although people come in alldifferent colours they are all similar in some way. It teaches children thatdifferences are what make them unique. With a simple age appropriate plot, thisbook commemorates diversity making it a great read and useful resource. Tyler, M.
, & Csicsko, D. L. (2016). The skin youlive in. Chicago, IL: Chicago Children’s A simple children’s picture book, written by Michael Tyler portraysdifferent boys and girls doing everyday things and feeling everyday ways. Thebook incorporates poetry and rhyming patterns to deliver a message of socialacceptance to young readers. It is an easy book for young children to read aswell the pictures help deliver and emphasize the message. The “Skin You Live In” will help children understand that different skincolours exist in the world and that not one is better than the other.
Theauthor creates a sense of familiarity by comparing skin colour to a variety ofthings such as; warm coca, spun sugar, lemon, and cinnamon, which removes thedissimilarities amongst the students and their peers. Furthermore, by employingthis technique, Tyler makes it acceptable to be special and different. DavidLee Csicko’sillustrations are bright and happy, capturing the children’s attention.
Children have theability of going through the book and seeing other skin tones, andunderstanding that skin colour is a part of who they are. This book would begreat for a read aloud as it would create an atmosphere of discussion withchildren.Yaccarino, D. (2011).
All the way to America: thestory of a big Italian family and a little shovel. New York: Dragonfly Books.”All the Way to America: The Story of a Big ItalianFamily and a Little Shovel”, is a non-fiction children’s story book written andillustrated by Dan Yaccarino. Dan is afamous author, and television producer, he has received recognition for hisillustrations, books and television series. The story book is anautobiographical tale about great grandfathers’ journey to America. The story follows Dan’s family from generation to generation as well as ashovel which his great father brought with him when immigrated to Canada. Manyyoung children have only a little idea of why and where their grandparents havecome from.
This book allows children to think of where their family originatesfrom and will create a topic of discussion among the children as they learntheir classmates have come from all different parts of the world. Not only doesthis book teach children of the sacrifices their families may have made whilealso encouraging hard work. The shovel being passed down is to symbolize allthe hard work his ancestors did. The book is a simple read and theillustrations are done right, to give visualization to the context. This readaloud book could potentially create discussion between children and their peersas well as their families, and help them appreciate and understand their owncultures and the cultures around them. It will allow them to understand theirparents sacrifice and the sacrifice of the generations before. Ulmer, M. (2001).
M is for maple a Canadian alphabet.Toronto: CNIB.Published in 2001 by bestselling author and sportswriter Michael Ulmer, the picture book focuses on Canada’s rich history, culture, and people. This would bebeneficial in educating children on Canada’s deep history as well as important figures.
It couldalso be used as a tool to create a better understanding of Canadian culture andcustoms. The book is written in an alphabetical format providing manyinteresting points corresponding with the letter. The book is suitable for all ages and willgive individuals a chance to connect with their roots. “M is For Maple” is a national bestselling book that is filled withfull colour illustrations.
The picture book is easy to read and filled withmany poems. A book like this is essential in classroom filled of children fromdifferent backgrounds as it gives them common ground in trying to build aconnection with their identity. Whether it be learning about Canada’s Aboriginal ancestors, or Canada’s favorite pastime, this book will educate and remindstudents about Canadas rich and diverse history.Singer,M.
, & Cairns, J. (2011). A full moon is rising. New York: Lee &Low Books.MarilynSinger is an award-winning author who has written many children’sbooks in a variety of genres. “AFull Moon Rising” is a collection of poemsthat describes how people around the world celebrate a full moon. This is agreat way to teach children about the different cultures and traditions aroundthe world, as well as in their own backyard. Informative and innovative, thepoems unite people by lyrically explaining celebrations and customs around theworld.
The book is filled with pictures and illustrates a visual connectionbetween the moon and the customs. The book features the moons in differentplaces from America all the way to Africa giving the readers a variety ofdifferent societies to learn about and explore. The book investigates thedifferent phases of the moon and provides some extra information regarding eachcountries celebration. This easy to read book will help children in learningabout the different cycles of the moon, as well as create an opportunity fordiscussion and appreciation for multiculturalism. Choi,Y (20010 The Name Jar, New York: AlfredA.
Knopf publishing company, Yangsook Choi is an accomplishedwriter who has received praise for her writings receiving awards from theInternational Reading Association’sChildren’s Book Award. “TheName Jar” by Choi is a children’spicture-book that tells the story of a little girl whose language and culturaldifferences create a disturbance in her new school environment. Huenhi is arecent immigrant from Korea who is on her way to her first day in an Americanclass when revealing her name students begin to poke fun of her strangesounding name. Huenhi just like any other kid just wants to fit in and decidesto let her classmates pick put a new name for her. As the story progressesHuenhi learns the meaning behind her name, and learns to accept and be proud ofthe culture she is from. This book is agood read aloud book as it raises questions and discussions of the differentnames present in classroom, as well as exploring and appreciating the differentcultural and linguistic differences among students in a class. Section III:Description of some of the learning activitiesi) Magazine and article collection more sothose that deal with cultural diversityChildrenlove color, images and physical activities that are gelled in the learningprocess. Thus, the kids in grade one and two will have an amazing time creatinga poster collection from magazines and articles.
The essence of the activity isto showcase the multicultural characteristic of the world and how peopleco-exist harmoniously despite coming from different cultures. Teachers will beexpected to communicate to the children in advance on the essentials of theclasses. The children will then present their classroom needs to their parentswho will provide the necessary magazines and articles such that each child willhave his or her own study material with a unique culture. The teacher will alsoprovide some standard magazines as per the Alberta Program of Studies. Together the children will clip varioussections that represent culture and diversity as per the instructions of theteacher.
This can be done either individually or in groups depending on theteachers` preference and the stage of the children.ii) Poem, Picture and Book collection onmulticulturalism Theactivity will aim to create awareness of the existence of different cultures asrequired by the Alberta Program of Studies. Through the teachers` supervision,the children will participate in collection activities where they will berequired to collect poems, pictures, books and other visuals that representdifferent cultures. The whole adventureis in collecting the poems, images and pictures which will help createawareness.
The Alberta Program of Studies advocates for group activities moreso for children in lower grades in a bid to reduce their egocentrism andadvocate for active socialization (Spodek & Saracho, 2014). The childrenwill participate in the activities as groups and will be required to describetheir pieces and what they stand for. The poems collected should be inspired and based on the children`sbackgrounds implying they should be assisted by their parents in selectingappropriate poems, pictures and pieces. This will help educate the children from an early age and consequentlymake them aware of the existence of multiple cultures. iii) Children Plays TheAlberta Program of multiculturalism focuses on the need for embracing andcelebrating diversity in school. June is set as the National Aboriginal Month, asa result, it would be appropriate to organize and plan for plays and artisticcontests to appreciate diversity, more so during the month. This will be anopportunity for the Canadian children to appreciate diversity and the variouscontributions of Metis, First Nations and Inuit through the month-longactivities.
The plays will be well structured to not only entertain but alsoeducate students on the need for diversity and accommodation throughout Canada,and Alberta. What is more, the teachers are expected to lead the children inrehearsals and ensure the children are well distributed in balanced groups thatadvocate for diversity and cultural appreciation. Thus, the children will learnto appreciate the value of culture and its richness not only in school but theentire society.iv) Learning Songs and recitations Childrenlearn through songs and recitations which highlights the importance of addingsong learning sessions as part of the learning curriculum.
The first step willbe pairing up children in different groups based on their respective culturalbackgrounds whereby all the children whether Metis, First Nations or Inuit areperfectly integrated. Also, children from other cultures should be integratedand represented accordingly such that the learning activities are completely inclusive.The children will then participate in learning activities through a continuousrecitation process that will oversee each of the groups learning new songs andrecitations about the other groups such that in the end, all children will havelearnt a new song or piece from a new culture. The importance of such anactivity is to create the much-required multicultural awareness and interestfor the children such that they become interested in learning and appreciatingforeign cultures as a way of life.v) Multicultural calendars and journals Childrenlearn best when given a plan on what to expect to learn.
Additionally, journalsand diaries make learning easier for children since they can write down or drawpersonal accounts of their experiences and what they have learnt. Thus, havinga multicultural calendar and journal will help boost the learning process asthe children will understand what is required of them. Additionally, theCanadian learning guide reiterates that teachers should always capitalize onthe excitement of children and take advantage of such opportunities to educatechildren. Therefore, in regards to cultural education, it will be appropriateto set up exiting calendars that will cheer up children and have them excitedto learn more about culture and diversity.
The essence of journals is to helpchildren record the important details that would otherwise be easily forgottendue to their low concentration spans. Teachers should encourage the children towrite down or draw the most exciting details they see or what they learn. Thiswill greatly assist in the learning process.
vi) Bring your parents to school days Inas much as it might sound far-fetched, it is one of the most reliable andeffective ways of educating children and developing their interests indiversity studies. When parents come to schools, children get to see their rolemodels interact and talk about their experiences. Consequently, this will getthe children excited and create a much-required urge to learn more aboutdifferent cultures and diversities. It is critical to note that children areeasy to impress and thus, it is necessary to tag parents along occasionally tospice up the learning environment and make the children warm to learning newideologies about new different cultures (Henniger, 2017). Moreover, thepresence of the parents will also play a pivotal role in boosting thechildren`s curiosity and interest in culture since they will see a differentside to the normal sides they are used to seeing of their parents at home. Whatis more, tagging parents to school also helps the children understand thatother children`s parents also have interesting stories too. vii) Coloring and painting activities Childrenare fascinated by colors and are often more interested in drawing and paintingactivities than learning through reading.
The aim of the painting and coloringactivities is to enhance the interest of the children in understanding thevarious aspects of culture and diversity. This means that in the long run itwill be possible for the children to paint different cultural objects as wellas maps which will help boost their understanding of the topic. For instance,children can be divided into different groups and requested to participate inpainting historical monuments, maps, roads, oceans or even trees as long as thepaintings have a cultural value. Consequently, this makes it possible for thechildren to understand different backgrounds and the fact that it is importantto accommodate diversity in the school work.
Children can paint personal objectswhile in groups which will be showcased in class to allow for all children toview and identify the objects.viii) Storytelling Storytellingis an important part of educating children. As mentioned earlier in the coursesyllabuses for children, children have very limited concentration spans. TheAlberta Education program advocates for children friendly education plans forchildren in the early childhood stage.
Multicultural and diversity studiesshould be taught in a fun way that enhances excitement and joy for the children(Bredekamp, 2016). Once the class is the fun, the children are bound to learnand want to know more about the topic. Thus, it is essential for teachers toinvolve the children in storytelling activities that will boost interest levelsof the children. The teachers can be the storytellers, or they can have guestspeakers to tell stories in a captivating manner to the children. This willmake the lessons memorable and leave children excited and yearning for more.Furthermore, having storytelling sessions will enable teachers to tackledifferent aspects of a story depending on the curriculum.
ix) Outdoor lessonsThebeauty of taking children for tours is that it does not have to be to the exactlocation. Showing a child, a tree and giving a simple explanation of theimportance of the tree could go a long way in changing his or her perception ofthe tree. Thus, the cultural studies and classes that require outdoor classesshould be held outdoors. Not only will this help sink in the information taughtbut it will also help in giving a practical appeal to the children.
Thus, it isimportant to have some classes outdoors, more so the classes where the childrencan interact with other children from different classes in a bid to understandthe classes better. Therefore, having outdoor lessons could prove highlyeffective as a learning activity, especially when it involves the use of simpleobjects like the sun, the wind, trees or even soil in describing culturalaspects.x) Oral question and answers Childrenlove answering questions they know answers to; and because of this, it isimportant to involve the children in both regular and random question andanswer activities (Gonzalez-Mena, 2013). Issues on diversity andmulticulturalism should be taught in a gradual and open manner that will enablethe children to appreciate the lessons while learning as well. Consequently, atthe grade one and two level, teachers should challenge children to discuss ingroups in preparation for quizzes on the topics they discussed on. Discussingthe topics in groups helps make the classes fun and increases the efficiency ofthe classes since the children can learn more about diversity from the group.
After the group discussions, the teachers can take the next step of oralquizzes which will help increase interaction of the children as well asenhancing socialization and the appreciation of diversity. In the long run, thechildren will understand the importance of respecting diversity and itsrelevance in everyday life.