NOTE TO TEACHERSEmbracing One’s Cultures: A Guide
Grades 3 up
by Sydney TaylorMaya Running
by Anjali BanerjeeFresh Girl
by Jaïra PlacideThe Shadows of Ghadames
by Joëlle StolzMacaroni Boy
by Katherine AyresHalf and Half
by Lensey NamiokaBindi Babes
by Narinder DhamiSee You Down the Road
by Kim Ablon Whitney
Visualize the varied cultures in American society today: descendents of Vietnamese refugees; foreign and native-born children of Latin American parents seeking to break the bonds of poverty; Muslim youth from devout Middle Eastern families; descendents of early 1900s immigrants from Ireland, Italy, and other European countries; sons and daughters of research scientists, scholars, and engineers from all over the globe. Every race, nationality, and religion contributes to the photograph of “Our American Family.” But instead of embracing the richness of America’s unique crossroads of cultures, schools often become a battleground where students from diverse backgrounds fight to belong. Prejudice stemming from negative stereotypes and ignorance leads to students being harassed and teased about the clothes they wear, the food they eat, and the way they speak, which robs those targeted of the pride they should be able to express in their own ethnicity. The books in this educators guide include literature that encompasses many of the cultures students may encounter in their school, and can help students define and embrace their own culture as well as the cultures of others. These books focus on themes of acceptance, cultural pride, and a sense of heritage that must be fostered in all of our students if our schools, and ultimately our society, can hope to be productive, successful, and united.
ABOUT THIS BOOKAs a Jewish family living in a predominantly Jewish area in early twentieth-century New York City, five sisters–ranging in age from four to twelve–enjoy life with their parents and share great adventures.
TEACHING IDEASQUESTIONS FOR GROUP DISCUSSION
Set in 1912, life in this story seems much simpler than it is today. What are some of the differences? How have the changes in our society affected family life? How has life for a Jewish family changed? 2.
When Sarah loses her library book, her mother makes Sarah tell the librarian what happened and offer to pay for the book out of her allowance. Why doesn’t her mother go with her? What does this teach Sarah about responsibility?3.
Mama uses inventive ways to teach her daughters responsibility and to help motivate them to do chores they would rather not do. What are some of the things Mama does? How will these lessons help her daughters?
Taking It Global
Discusses cultural diversity in America.
American Civil Liberties Union: Immigrant Rights
The official Web page.
The American Immigrants Home Page
Helpful information for and about immigrants.
Federation for American Immigration Reform
Immigrant reform movement and its affect on public schools.
Cultural Diversity–a CCSD research program
Lifestyle patterns of immigrant youth.
Prepared by Susan Geye, Library Media Specialist, Crowley Ninth Grade Campus, Crowley, Texas.