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Posts Tagged ‘diversity’

A young boy and his grandma ride the bus each week. This week, CJ has a lot for questions for his Nana:  Why do they have to walk in the rain? Why don’t they have a car like his friends? Why is the neighbourhood so dirty? As Nana answers CJ’s questions, CJ’s perception of things begin to change. A lovely story about shifting the way we see things.

When I first cracked this book, I thought it was about a boy learning to see his neighbourhood differently, but after a more careful reading, I see that Nana and CJ are in that neighbourhood to help out a soup kitchen. While I still feel the book would be a great read aloud, I think it would be more poignant and relevant to my students, who live in the inner city, if CJ and Nana lived in the neighbourhood with soup kitchens, boarded up stores, and graffiti littering walls.

I love how the main characters have brown skin and yet the book isn’t ‘multicultural.’ I  get so tired of only seeing/reading about people of non-European descent in books only if the book is specifically about ‘culture’ or multiculturalism’ or cultural holidays or the non-white person is the sidekick. Enough already.

I also love how the minor characters are diverse: many skin tones, a blind person, someone in a wheelchair, a homeless person,a guy with tattoos…

A lovely read aloud to prompt discussion, gorgeously illustrated.

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Nous avons besoin de livres avec la diversité, comme les livres ici:

   

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When some of our French Immersion teachers asked me for a book they could read with their students that included same sex parents, I had to apologize. I had been looking for such a book for our library for quite awhile, but had found nothing. I promised to keep looking. Fortunately, I asked Evelyne from Chouette books to help and she found this one:

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In this lovely story a teacher asks her students what they did during their holidays. When a boy named Martin says that he had a great holiday with his two dads, it sparks a grand discussion about diversity in families. Highly recommend as a read aloud, in the class library, in the school library, and for home.

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Donovan is busy on his big day, getting ready for the wedding. He’s not getting married, but his two mom’s are and he is the ring bearer. Perfect book for discussing diversity in families.

Author Leslea Newman also wrote Heather Has Two Mommies.

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Inclusiveness

I love books that promote inclusiveness rather than tolerance. here is a lovely picture book about the different ways people practice religions.

Very short text. Wonderful message. Beautiful photos of children and families from around the world. Includes information about the photographs at the end.

Here’s another book  I love.

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We are excited to add two new books to Strathcona’s Aboriginal Collection. Both books were given to each library in the VSB from The Aboriginal Education Department.

The Giving Tree: A retelling of a traditional Metis story by Leah Dorion, is the story of a Manitoba maple with a large hollow in the trunk. When a boy asks his grandfather to tell him a childhood story, his grandfather began to talk about this tree. While on route to visit relatives, the family would stop at the giving tree, middway between Metis villages, offer tobacco, rest, and have a meal. One day they forgot to bring sugar for the tea so they reached into the hollow and pulled out sugar, tea, tobacco, flour, and a pair of moccasins. The boy was amazed and his father explained that the tree was sacred to the Metis people. For a long time Metis travellers have used the tree as a cache to help others and send messages.

The beautiful story teaches traditional Metis values and is illustrated with Leah Dorion’s gorgeous stylized paintings. Contains a CD.

Jenneli’s Dance by Elizabeth Denny is the story of a young girl who develops a sense of pride for her Metis culture by learning a traditional dance.

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Gone are the books about nuclear families, with the annoyingly ‘normal’ mom, dad, brother, sister and dog, all of the same ethnic background living in a nice house with a fenced yard. Books about families should celebrate a diversity of families. When I buy books about families I always look for: single parent families, mulit-ethnic families, same sex parents, adopted children, foster children, families with grandparents or aunties, and families living in a variety of homes/neighborhoods all in the same book. If a book about families doesn’t include same sex parents, I never buy it, no matter how great it is. Even if you are borrowing or buying a family book just for your family, be sure the book includes a variety of families. Children internalize these subtle messages about which families are normal and acceptable and which are not. Be thoughtful about the values you are teaching your children  and other peoples’ children, whether implicit or explicit, and make sure they are values you think are important.

The Great Big Book of Families is a wonderfully inclusive book that celebrates families of all configurations and sizes. It also explores the differences in homes, jobs, holidays, schools (including homeschooling), vacations, food,  and transportation. Cute, light-hearted illustrations.

Read the book, then: make family trees, write about your families.

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