You are on page 1of 9

Jessica Wilcox 2/15/10

Rationale: I chose this specific set of books to represent the way I incorporate multicultural literature into my classroom. While the books might seem a little young for the age group, I use these books as a jumping off point for deeper and more complex thinking about the connections we share as people within various cultures. In my personal background, I received almost no exposure to multicultural literature. I remember specifically being taught Greek mythology as a part of my fifth grade diversity unity. Although my family includes Cherokee, Navajo, Irish, English, and Dutch roots, my personal family was so removed from any knowledge of their families that I did not grow up in an environment of awareness. As an adult, I have been pleasantly surprised by the connections that I feel to other people through the sharing of stories and experiences. My goal with this specific group of books is to encompass more than one specific group of people. Although I did not include it in this grouping, I also teach the legends of Mulan as a part of this unit of study. I usually structure these books in such a way that my students move from focusing solely on their own personal experience and history and then move outward to a greater understanding of interconnectedness and intercultural dependency. My overarching goal is to give my students an understanding of how they share in the human experience with people all over the world.

• title: “The Goat in the Rug: as told by Geraldine” • author/illustrator: Charles L. Blood & Martin Link/Nancy • • • •

Winslow Parker publisher, copyright,: Aladdin Paperbacks edition 1990/Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division ISBN number:0-689-71418-1 genre: juvenile fiction current library location of book: Arbor Christian Academy

• Summary: In this simple yet sweet little book, Geraldine, a goat, tells the story of Glee ‘Nasbah the Navajo rug maker. Glee ‘Nasbah goes by Glenmae because it is easier to pronounce. According to Geraldine,

She is one of the last remaining Navajo rug makers. In the story, Glenmae goes through the traditional process to make this rug. She first sharpens her scissors and trims all of Geraldine’s wool. She proceeds to wash, dry, and spin the wool. Along the way, Glenmae swaps out traditional plants, for store bought dye. Glenmae proceeds to make the rug and in the process, Geraldine’s wool grows out again. The process is a slow cycle that Geraldine claims is dying out.

Personal Response:

I thoroughly enjoy this book. It evokes in me both a sense joy found in preserved moments of tradition and sorrow at the loss of cultural history, particularly that of oral tradition. As we know, so much of Native American history passed through oral tradition, and as a result much of what we know is in fragments. • Classroom Use: I use this in my classroom as an introduction to a unit on multicultural literature. As with any form of cultural literature, the earliest form is found in oral tradition. I read this book to the class and then each students writes down a story that has been passed down in their family. We go through the process of recording the information and remembering where it came from.

• • • • • • •

Title: “Adelita: A Mexican Cinderella Story” author/illustrator: Tomie De Paola publisher, copyright: G. P. Putnam’s Sons. Penguins Young Readers Groups ISBN number: 0142401870 Genre: children’s fiction current library location of book: Arbor Christian Academy brief summary: “Adelita” is basically the Cinderella story re-told from a Mexican setting. Adelita is the beloved daughter of a very happy couple. Her father loved her mother very much, but love wasn’t enough to keep her alive. After Adelita was born, her mother passed away. After several years of bliss with her father and nurse Esperanza, Adelita’s father passes away. The story basically follows the same story as the classic European version of Cinderella; however, this re-telling uses very different descriptions and idioms. Ultimately, Adelita’s ‘fairy Godmother’, Esperanza, dresses Adelita in her mother’s clothes and the happy ending takes place.

in-depth personal response: I am personally infatuated with the stories I grew up with being told in a different perspective. This story does just that. As a child, I did not really feel like I had any real culture. My family was a typical lower income Caucasian family. Although my family has ties to various cultures, we didn’t really operate within any of them. Stories like this capture my imagination and allow me to step into a similar experience from a new place.

suggested use of the book in classroom setting: In the classroom, I use this book as a follow up lesson the “The Goat in the Rug”. That lesson began with oral tradition, and recalling personal and family history. This lesson and book bring into focus the reality that each culture has similar versions of the same story. This lesson serves to show an overall connection between each culture. I read this book to

my class, and then we do research on different cultures and folklore/fairy tales. I have each student rewrite a popular fairy tale or story from a different cultural perspective than the one in which they first heard the story.

• • •

Title: “Almost to Freedom” author/illustrator: Vaunda Micheaux Nelson/ Colin Bootman publisher, copyright: Scholastic Inc., Copyrigt@ 2003

• • • •

ISBN number: 0-439-61994-7 Genre: Juvenile Fiction current library location of book: Arbor Christian Academy brief summary: This book is told from the perspective of a rag doll that belongs to a young slave girl named Libby. The doll’s name is Sally, and she is the constant companion and witness to what Libby’s family endures on the plantation. She is present while Libby works the fields, and is whipped for asking a question. When Libby’s family makes a break for their freedom on the Underground Railroad, she is there for the ride. In the mad dash to freedom, Sally is left behind in one of the safe houses. She waits for a long time and greaves the loss of her girl. After a long period, another family comes to the house for protection. Sally is given to a new little girl and is re-named Belinda, which reminds her of Libby.

In-depth personal response: This story literally had me first in tears and then smiling. We often take for granted simple items that are passed down from one generation to another. This book is such a great reminder that there are so many cultures and cultural histories within the over-reaching umbrella of Americana.

suggested use of the book in classroom setting: I use this

book as a follow up to “Adelita”. I find that my students really enjoy looking into their own past and family history to find items that have been passed from one generation to another. I typically read this story to my students and have them do some writing on an item or items that have been passed down. This usually produces multiple stories and an opportunity for discussion.

• • • • • • •

Title: “Zoom”

author/illustrator: Istvan Banyai publisher, copyright: Puffin Books, Penguin Group, copyright@Istvan Banyai 1995 ISBN number: 0-670858048 Genre: fiction current library location of book: Arbor Christian Academy Brief summary:This book is basically a visual depiction of the interconnectedness of all cultures and all life. The story begins with a very close look at the top of a rooster, and continues to zoom out through many different countries and ultimately the planet Earth. While the book has no words, it is incredibly thought provoking.

In-depth personal response: This book really fascinates me. It is brief, but I never seem to get enough of it. I find that the more I pour through its pictures, the more details I find. This book is a reminder of just how interconnected we are in this world, regardless of where we come from. As someone who has wrestled many times with finding a place to fit, the concept of interconnectedness is really comforting and fascinating. This book also reminds me of why it is important to understand and study other cultures.

Suggested use of the book in classroom setting: I use this book to tie together all of the reasons and possibilities for studying multicultural literature. As I am certain other teachers have heard, my kids sometimes ask why we need to learn about other cultures instead of our own. I use this book to answer the question because we are all connected and, ultimately, understanding other cultures allows us to better understand our own. I read this book and then my kids trace back family roots, and do a project on all of the cultural influences that have shaped their own family stories.

• • • • • • •

Title: “Chicken Sunday” author/illustrator: “Patricia Polacco” publisher, copyright: Scholastic Inc. Copyrigt@1992 Patricia Polacco ISBN number: 0-59046244-x Genre: Juvenile fiction current library location of book: Arbor Christian Academy brief summary: This is the story of a young girl from Russia American who spends her Sundays, and many other days, with her African American neighbors, Winston, Stewart, and their gramma Ms. Eula. In the story, the young girl finds herself drawn to Ms. Eula, because her own Babushka has recently

passed away. The story is about friendship and reconciliation between cultures and neighbors. Ms. Eula loves a hat in Mr. Kodinski’s hat shop. The kids know that she doesn’t have the money. They put their money together but still don’t have enough. When they attempt to ask Mr. Kodinski for a way to earn the money, the kids are mistaken for vandals and Mr. Kodinski becomes very upset with them. Ms. Eula believes the kids, but asks them to prove to Mr. Kodinski their goodness. By collaborating with the little girl’s mother, the kids make Mr. Kodinski some Pysanky eggs and raise the money to buy Ms. Eula’s hat, bringing Mr. K some joy in the process. • in-depth personal response: This book is such a picture of how all cultures can come together and yet still retain uniqueness. The book makes me feel comfort and pride at the ability American has to use cultural differences to work for a greater good. I also love the simplicity of children being themselves. • suggested use of the book in classroom setting: This is the last book I use in our multi-cultural unit. I use this book after “Zoom” as a picture of what cultures coming together can look like. I read the story and have the kids work together in groups to identify the various cultures and products that influence their everyday lives and traditions.