Thursday, April 15, 2010

Multicultural families

As a child growing up in a multicultural family (Greek-Japanese-American), I read voraciously but never once encountered a family in fiction who resembled my own in any way. Fortunately things have changed and today's students have access to more books that reflect the reality of many families today.

In kindergarten and first grade we have embarked on a unit of reading books about families where the parents come from different religious, cultural or ethnic backgrounds, or in which children are growing up in a culture that differs from that of their parents.

Students have responded enthusiastically to these books! The first book we read was about a girl growing up in an interfaith family celebrating both Hanukkah and Christmas. In one class, five children indicated that they also had one Jewish and one Christian parent, and they were thrilled to see this aspect of their lives reflected in literature as well as to share their own holiday stories.

Below is a partial book list as well as a link to a website that lists a few more books. Happy reading!

Picture books:

I Love Saturdays y domingos by Alma Flor Ada
Black is Brown is Tan by Arnold Adoff
My Two Grannies by Floella Benjamin
Oscar's Half Birthday by Bob Graham
Two Mrs. Gibsons by Toyomi Igus
Romina’s Rangoli by Malathi Michelle Iyengar
Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan
Yoshiko and the Foreigner by Mimi Otey Little
Light the Lights by Margaret Moorman
My Two Grandmothers by Effin Older
Grandfather's Journey by Allen Say
Tree of Cranes by Allen Say

Chapter books:
Bindi Babes by Narinder Dhami
Brendan Buckley’s Universe and Everything in It by Sundee Frazier
Habibi by Naomi Shihab Nye
Half and Half by Lensey Namioka
Homesick by Jean Fritz
In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord
The Lionboy Trilogy by Zizou Corder
Looking for Bapu by Anjali Banerjee
Lowji Discovers America by Candace Fleming
Maya Running by Anjali Banerjee
Project Mulberry by Linda Sue Park

A great website with recommended reading:

Interracial Family Themes in Picture Books

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a great list. Thanks for posting. I never saw my family in books when I was growing up, either.

Thanks for including two of my titles on your list. If anyone wants copies of MAYA RUNNING, which is now out of print, drop me a line!