NOTE TO TEACHERS
Embracing One’s Cultures: A Guide
Grades 3 up
All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor
Maya Running by Anjali Banerjee
Fresh Girl by Jaïra Placide
The Shadows of Ghadames by Joëlle Stolz
Macaroni Boy by Katherine Ayres
Half and Half by Lensey Namioka
Bindi Babes by Narinder Dhami
See 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 BOOK
A year after the death of their mother, three Indian sisters–Geena, Amber, and Jazz–are living in England, when their Auntie unexpectedly is invited by their father from India to help take care of them. To stop her from interfering in their lives, the girls do their best to find her a husband.
QUESTIONS FOR GROUP DISCUSSION
1. When Auntie arrives to take care of the girls, she introduces the customs and traditions of India. What are the cultural traditions she expects the sisters to uphold? How do the sisters foil Auntie’s plans to control their lives? How do their lives change as a result of Auntie’s interference?
2. The sisters must cope with important social issues that teenagers of any cultural background would face. How does their Indian heritage influence the way they handle people and situations? (Find out more about the family in Bhangra Babes and Bollywood Babes.)
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.