World Cultures (Comparative)

Screen shot 2015-02-18 at 1.10.53 PMTari: The Little Balinese Dancer

Written by Pamela Noensie,

Illustrations by Garetta Lamore

 
Take a trip to the beautiful island of Bali.

This wonderful book is a “girls-eye-view” of life in a small village on an island in the South Pacific. Throughout the beautifully illustrated pages, the book shares customs, traditions, food and many other aspects of day-to-day life for Tari. It also weaves a lovely story about the young girl’s grandmother and their shared love of traditional dance from Bali.

This is an excellent book, especially on the topics of traditional cultures, world cultures, strong girl characters and dance. Highly recommended!

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Screen shot 2014-10-27 at 3.05.34 PMYikang’s Day – From Dawn To Dusk In A Chinese City, Written By Sungwan So

This is a wonderful “day in the life” book that follows a young girl named Yikang throughout her day, from breakfast with her family, through her school day and back home for dinner and family time. Set in the northern city of Changzi (Shanxi Province), this brightly photographed story is a great way to learn more about life in modern China. It’s also a fun way to start discussions about how life in other cultures may be different and how it might be the same.

For instance, many students will recognize the subjects that Yikang studies during her day such as art, math and music. Plus there’s exercise time at school and a flag salute that’s similar to many US schools.  However, Yikang goes to school on a bicycle and gets to go home for an extended lunch – returning at about 3 PM! Along with a nice story, the book also has very good notes about Chinese culture, names and surnames and much more.

Part of the Dawn to Dusk book series, Yikang’s day is a great way to help kids see the world through the eyes of a child growing up in a different culture.  Some other favorite Dawn To Dusk titles are also listed below as well!

Bongani’s Day: From Dawn to Dusk in a South African City (A Child’s Day)
by Gisèle Wulfsohn


Cássio’s Day: From Dawn to Dusk in a Brazilian Village (A Child’s Day) by Maria de Fatima Campos

Iina-Marja’s Day: From Dawn to Dusk in Lapland (A Child’s Day) by Jaakko Alatalo

 

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Rise and Shine MarikoRise and Shine, Mariko-Chan!
Written by Chiyoko Tomioka, Illustrated by Yoshiharu Tsuchida

What is morning like at your house?

For little Mariko and her Japanese/Japanese-American family it’s a busy and happy time.  She needs to get up, get washed and then there’s breakfast with her mom and dad, her two older sisters; Yuko and Yumi, and her “Oba-san” (grandmother).

This short book with bright and inviting illustrations is a wonderful multicultural read.  It shares an experience common to all children – getting ready for the day – while allowing young readers to discover unique aspects of Japanese culture such as special names used to show affection or respect and different foods that might be part of a Japanese meal.  Written by Chiyoko Tomioka, this book was originally published in Japan as: “Chiko-chan, Itterasshai”, meaning  “See You Later, Chiko-chan!”

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AUST BOOK COVERWritten by Deborah Underwood

Can you imagine playing a conch shell trumpet? What about a “nose flute” or a didgeridoo made from a hollowed out tree branch?

Although this book is a bit older (written in 2008) it provides a thorough look into the culture, traditions and music of this important region of the world accompanied by exceptional photography. Written with respect and intelligence, this book shares both ancient musical customs and more modern cultural expressions including pop stars, music made by missionaries, a Maori opera diva and “protest rock” groups such as Yothu Yindi from Australia.

Countries included in this “World of Music Series” book are Australia, New Zealand, Micronesia, Samoa, Tonga, the Solomon Islands Hawaii, Fiji and Guam.

Related Resources

bilma this oneHear, Color or Create A Recycled A Didgeridoo

http://www.dariamusic.com/didgeridoo.php

Make Your Own Australian Bullroarer

http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/uncategorized/outdoor-musical-play-make-your-own-bullroarer/

Legend Of The Didgeridoo

http://makingmulticulturalmusic.wordpress.com/2012/08/24/the-legend-of-the-didgeridoo/

Step-By-Step Bilma (Australian Clapsticks) Instructions from DARIA’s store at TeachersPayTeachers

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Australian-Instruments-Make-Your-Own-Bilma-Clapsticks-1133140

Color A Ukulele Poster from DARIA’s store at TeachersPayTeachers

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-Ukulele-A-Stringed-Instrument-from-Hawaii-Mini-Poster-and-Coloring-Page-1095283

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Coloring Book CoverColoring is such a fun way to explore the world with kids.

This 14 page E-book available as an immediate digital download from TeachersPayTeachers shares a dozen different instruments from world cultures plus a map of where you might find them. Instruments included are ones that are easily recognized – like the guitar – but also more unusual instruments that come from Russia, India, China, Hawaii and South America as well.

uke bwColoring the black and white image, learning about the instrument and locating it’s country of origin are just a few ways that classrooms and homeschoolers use this book to explore a world of music.

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/LETS-COLOR-A-WORLD-OF-MUSIC-1253263

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Written By Margaret Musgrove, Illustrated By Leo and Diane Dillon

Africa is a large and diverse continent.

This beautiful book takes an ABC approach to exploring some of the cultures found throughout Africa.  Although a short book can’t tell a complete story of African heritage, the beautiful illustrations and short descriptions of various cultures are enough to make any reader – young or older- want to learn more.

How do people live? What do they like to grow and eat?  How do people dress and what are their families or celebrations like?  What games do the children play?  This book allows you to take a whirlwind trip throughout Africa as an introduction to its rich and diverse cultural heritage.


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Written By Margy Burns Knight

Illustrated By Anne Sibley O’Brien

Africa is a broad and diverse land.  This book shares short vignettes of how life is different in 53 countries that make up the African continent.

Bright illustrations share everyday activities such as going to school on a busy street in Cairo, practicing a traditional dance in Nigeria, children drawing their impressions of the war in Rwanda and kids dreaming of being professional runners in Kenya. Although it’s hard to compress so many traditions and cultures into a short title aimed at young readers, this book is a welcome starting point to explore the diversity of the continent in a way that encourages the reader to want to learn more.


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Written By John Steptoe

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters is a Cinderella tale beautifully in Zimbabwe.  Written by John Steptoe, the story was inspired by a folktale of that region published in the late 1800’s and the names of the characters are from the Shona language of Zimbabwe.

The book tells the tale of a village elder and his two daughters whose personalities are as different as night and day. When a King from a nearby town declared his intention to find a wife, the real action of the story begins.  As both girls travel to the main city to meet the King, they encounter obstacles that turn out to be tests of character.  How both girls handle the situations determine who is seen as fit to marry the King.  And there’s another plot twist that will surprise you, but you’ll have to pick up the book to find out what it is.

Although the “Cinderlla story” is well known, this book is so well written and lushly illustrated that you may find yourself lost in the tale or rereading it time and time again.  It’s just that good.


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Written and Illustrated By Sheila Hamanaka

What colors do children come in?  All the colors of the earth!

Japanese-American author and illustrator, Sheila Hamanaka weaves a beautiful picture of how our skin and hair color is just one part of the incredible beauty and diversity found in nature.  Both kids and adults will delight in the way Shiela describes the colors found in world peoples in ways that are strong and vibrant such as “the roaring browns of bears” or compares hair types to those of mermaids or “…hair that curls like sleeping cats in snoozy cat colors”.  Wonderful illustrations taken from original oil paintings make this a great picture book for younger children as well.

At a time where children will encounter a great deal of diversity in the world around them, books like this encourage a sense of wonder and delight in difference – a perfect antidote to intolerance, ignorance and fear.


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Written and Illustrated By Sheila Hamanaka

In Sheila Hamanaka’s Grandparents Song, a young girl tells a tale of her ancestors that came from the four directions of the Earth.  Each contributed something wonderous and special to her heart, soul and life.  Each page or set of pages shares one ancestry and describes it with striking poetry, wonderful images and folk art such as Native beadwork incorporated into the pictures.

Dedicated by the author to “our American Ancestors, in Whose Dreams We Walk”, this is a wonderful book about multiculturalism and the American Family Tree.  It’s also a powerful book for those of us who struggle with questions of identity because of mixed heritages. It helps us see a joy and a wonder to our unique combination of backgrounds in a way that affirms the dignity and the value of all people.

Highly recommended!


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Written By Mary D. Lankford, Illustrated By Karen Dugan

Did you know there are at least 19 different ways to play hopscotch around the world?  Many of them look like the familiar block patterns seen in the USA, but some are round in overall shape, square or made of a series of circles.  Best of all, it’s a game that can be played anywhere – indoors or out, with very few supplies needed.

This is a great little book that gives you the history of hopscotch style games – some of which date back so far in time that they appear in artifacts from Roman times!  For each entry, there’s a bit of cultural background followed by the rules and explanations for that version of the game.

Here are just a few of the countries covered and the names of their hopscotch-style game:

Honduras              La Rayuela

India                       Chilly

Italy                        La Campana

Nigeria                   Ta Galagala

Great Britain        Hop-Round

Germany               Paradies Hüpfen

China                      Gat Fei Gei

France                    Escargot

Looking for a great way to get outside and play a game almost anyone can hop right into?  Check out these eclectic versions of hopscotch.  It’s a great way to explore world cultures through something as fun as learning and playing a new game!


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Apr
05

Old Turtle

Written by Douglas Wood, Illustrated by Cheng-Khee Chee

Along time ago, when everything on Earth could speak, there was a discussion.  The discussion turned to an argument.  It seemed that all things wanted to perceive God as being very much like themselves.  Can you imagine what came of this?

If you guessed that it created a state of disharmony – you would be right.  But, luckily, the wise Old Turtle stepped in and helped everyone understand how to find God in all things and restore peace.

But the story does not end there.  Just as peace is restored, Old Turtle explains that another type of creature will come to live on the earth – humans.  And they may have to learn the same lesson themselves.  Will they get this important lesson right or struggle with the concept as the animals, plants, trees and rocks all did?

This gentle parable, beautifully illustrated with watercolors by Cheng-Khee Chee, is a moving story for kids and adults alike.  And since it is so cleverly written, it can be read and appreciated by people of any religion as a way to understand the “allness” and the “oneness” of God.


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Written By Marilyn Singer, Illustrated By Frane Lessac

What is going on in the world when one mother and young child are settling down to bed at 9 PM?

Writer, Marilyn Singer takes you on a journey around the globe to see a special late night party in Puerto Rico, dolphins playing in the midnight seas of the Atlantic and a late night trip to the pantry in England.  The book visits Zaire and Switzerland, Russia and India, China, Japan, Australia and Samoa, Alaska and Los Angeles, all with engaging pictures that make you feel you’ve had a nice visit to a very special time in these remarkable locations across the planet.

Although the book sets out to explain about time zones, it really does so much more. This late night “book flight” around the globe shares a world of diverse cultures in a way that excites curiosity and enthusiasm, and hopefully a little sleepiness, too!

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Written by Deborah Heiligman

This beautiful book, written by Deborah Heiligman, is part of a series by National Geographic that highlights holidays as they are experienced around the world with the type of accurate reporting and stunning photographs that you’d expect from this publication. In this book, the common elements of Hanukkah along with it’s history and background are shared as they are celebrated in a variety of countries and cultures ranging from Uganda, India, Israel, Egypt, Italy, Canada, Peru, Poland and the United States.  For example, a picture of a lovely South Korean Hanukkah card is included here as well as photographs of children in Ghana playing dreidel in front of their family’s rural store.  This short book is a wonderful and inspiring journey through Hanukkah celebrations and is as informative as it is enjoyable!

Among the other books in this wonderful Holidays Around the World series are: (Holidays Around the World) Celebrate Diwali: With Sweets, Lights, and Fireworks, (Holidays Around the World) Celebrate Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr, (Holidays Around the World) Celebrate Kwanzaa: With Candles, Community, and the Fruits of the Harvest and (Holidays Around The World) Celebrate Christmas: With Carols, Presents, and Peace.  If you are looking to learn more about any of these special and meaningful celebrations, these books make an excellent place to start.


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Travel around the world to explore the many different way that people celebrate Christmas in 12 different countries and cultures.  Visited in this book are Australia, Canada, Ethiopia, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Guatemala, Italy, Mexico, the Philipines, Sweden and the state of Alaska in the USA.

Beautifully organized, this book has a page of well-written information and a wonderful, colorful illustration for each entry.  A “Christmas Chronology” helps you trace the background of the celebration throughout important dates in history and a section at the end of the book includes unique and unusual Christmas crafts such as Filipino style Christmas stars, an easy advent calendar and Christmas poppers and cornucopias.

Think you know all about Christmas?  Pick up this book and you’ll surely make some new and wonderful discoveries about the celebration of this beloved holiday

Suggested Reading Level –  Grades 2 – 5


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