Jul 052018
 

The Thunderbird is an important symbol found in legends throughout North America. Sometimes friendly, sometimes threatening, this awe-inspiring bird was a supernatural creature that derived its name from the flapping of its powerful wings, which was said to produce thunder. Read on to find resources to teach children about this widespread Native American legend, as well as a new middle grade fiction series that celebrates mythical creatures.

Thunderbird: Native American Legend | Alldonemonkey.com

Photo by Dr Haggis [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Thunderbird: Native American Legend

The Thunderbird appears most frequently in legends of the Pacific Northwest, yet it can be found throughout North America. It appears in songs and oral histories, even in ancient stone carvings. With the flapping of their powerful wings and the lightning that would shoot out of their eyes, the Thunderbirds were said to bring rain and storms.

A Note About Sources

When learning about Native American cultures, it is extremely important to interrogate your sources. This is a highly sensitive topic among Native communities, and with good reason. For hundreds of years outsiders have appropriated and interpreted Native culture. Even when done with good intentions, this can distort the original context, so it is important to make sure that your source is reputable and respectful.

For example, when searching for resources on the Thunderbird legend, I came across many entries from “cryptozoology,” a branch of pseudoscience that attempts to prove the existence of creatures from legend. As a result, there is a lively search for the “real” Thunderbird, sometimes thought to be a surviving pterosaur and sometimes a monstrous creature related to the condor.

You also run into a lot of links about the cars and the airplanes named after the powerful Thunderbird!

As a result, I’ve collected for you reliable resources about the supernatural Thunderbird from Native American legends, so you can learn more about it with your children. Keep in mind that the Thunderbird appears in legends across North America, so you will run across some variation.

Thunderbird: What to Read

History of the Thunderbird symbol, especially in the Mississippian culture

A history of the modern Thunderbird jewelry of the US Southwest

Thunderers in Cherokee legend

Collection of Native stories about the Thunderbird

Thunderbird and Whale stories from the Pacific Northwest

I also found a beautiful book at our local library, called Brave Wolf and the Thunderbird: Tales of the People. This traditional Absaroka (Crow) tale is here retold by Joseph Medicine Crow. It is an example of how the Thunderbird often is friendly towards humans and can help them. It is part of the Tales of the People series created with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

Thunderbird: Where to Visit

Thunderbird: Native American Legend | Alldonemonkey.com

Thunderbird Park, Victoria, BC

Thunderbird Park in Victoria, British Columbia

Mythical Creatures for Kids

If you have a child that is fascinated by mythical creatures, then you don’t want to miss the wonderful new middle grade series The Unicorn Rescue Society. In the first book, The Creature of the Pines, we meet Elliot, a bookish boy starting his first day at a new school. He quickly teams up with Uchenna, his polar opposite in many ways except for how neither of them seems to be a bit of a misfit. But my favorite character is the wild-haired Professor Fauna, a mysterious teacher feared by most students. But when the children find a mysterious creature on a school field trip, they find that Professor Fauna is the only person in whom they can confide.

And thanks to him, they are introduced to the Unicorn Rescue Society – much to Elliot’s chagrin and Uchenna’s delight. Young readers will delight in their adventures with the Professor, and travel along with them to save a dragon in the just released second book in the series, The Basque Dragon. Highly imaginative book for anyone who believes (or wants to believe) that mythical creatures might still exist!

Unicorn Rescue Society

This book is part of the Basque Dragon book tour. Find out more in the links below!

WEEK ONE

July 2 – Liv The Book Nerd – Review + Creative Instagram

July 3 – Mommy Ramblings – Favorite Mythological Creature from a Children’s Picture Book

July 4 – Live.Laugh.Love.Library – Listicle: Five Interesting Facts about your Favorite Mythological Creature

July 5 – All Done Monkey – Review + Favorite Mythological Creature

July 6 – Storymamas – Favorite Mythological Creatures to have as pets

WEEK TWO

July 9 – The HSP Bookshelf – What Mythological Creature I would want to have as a pet

July 10 – The Pages In-Between – Creative Instagram Picture

July 11 – Lost in Storyland – What Mythological Creature I would want to have as a pet

July 12 – Laura’s Bookish Corner – What Mythological Creature I would want to have as a pet

May 242018
 
 May 24, 2018  family, multiculturalism, raising world citizens Comments Off on Multicultural Guide to Wedding Etiquette for Families

The wedding season is upon us, highlighted by the recent royal wedding. But if you are invited to a wedding from a culture other than your own, it can be difficult knowing what to expect – especially if you have children. Are children included in the invitation, and if so, how are they expected to behave and dress? I’ve asked parents from around the world to share their tips for wedding etiquette for families from their own cultures, and it’s a fascinating view!

Many thanks to those that graciously shared their experiences with me for this article! Share your tips on wedding etiquette for families in the comments, and don’t miss my review at the end of the post of a new children’s book about Indian weddings!

Multicultural Guide to Wedding Etiquette for Families | Alldonemonkey.com

Multicultural Guide to Wedding Etiquette for Families

What to Expect

India: Sumiti: “I grew up in a big Punjabi family. And weddings were a big affair. It was minimum 4 days affair (could go up to a week) and the relatives and friends from across the world would stay at our house. The meals (breakfast/lunch/supper/dinner) were catered for all or women of the house would take turns making meals.There is one big evening only for Henna Ceremony, where men are at the bar and women are getting henna done and it’s an evening of dance and fun. All the neighbors are invited for the functions and are treated as family.”

India: Puneeta of Maple and Marigold: “Indian wedding celebrations traditionally carry on for many days. Close family and friends will often travel far distances to attend…Mid-morning naps, dinner before you leave home and comfortable shoes, all work for kids. And parents too. There’s usually loud music so carry headphones for the little ones.”

China and Taiwan: Amanda of Miss Panda Chinese: “A Chinese wedding is like marrying two families. It is a huge event, and it often starts from the engagement ceremony and the delivery of engagement cookies with fancy packaging to relatives and close friends. A Chinese wedding can be extravagant, and it can easily have several hundred guests in a hotel ballroom, a restaurant, or a huge block wedding feast with live music entertainment.” 

Mexico: Becky of Kid World Citizen: “There is a lot of dancing, and the party goes on very late.”

Poland: Hanna of HannaCheda.com: “There is a mass or wedding vows at a town hall and then a wedding party at a ball room/hotel,etc. Loads, loads of food. Traditionally people had a band playing live music instead of a DJ. Many still do. Tons of food and vodka during the whole night. Hot food is served all the time. It’s not a single dinner. There is often a brunch on the next day also involving alcohol.”

Fiji (Indian): Ashi: “Indian weddings in Fiji are traditionally multi-day affairs which encompasses many elaborate ceremonies such as putting hardi (turmeric) on the bride and grooms body, henna (mehndi) which is painting beautiful designs on the hands and feet of the bride, prayer ceremonies and etc. I would say, the weddings are divided into three segments, pre-wedding, main-wedding celebration and post-wedding celebrations. For each daily festivity, they expect close to 100 people to show without any RSVP. In Fiji, people do not believe in the concept of RSVP. My grandma always said to us guests is like gods. They’re okay having extra food prepared but no one should leave the wedding functions hungry.”

Mexican-American: Chantilly of ChantillyPatino.com: “People stay forever, eat, drink, dance, visit, etc. A wedding is an opportunity for community and reuniting family you might not have seen in a while. There’s usually recuerdos, candies, cake or centerpieces to bring home. Nobody goes home empty handed.”

Russia: Varya of Creative World of Varya: “In Russia the wedding is celebrated 2 days – first day at the bride’s home where her parents give her away, second day – at her new home, where the groom’s parents receive her into the family. Lots of food, dancing, some love inviting entertainment.”

Read about a traditional wedding in Malawi!

Multicultural Guide to Wedding Etiquette for Families | Alldonemonkey.com

What to Wear

Across the board, the safest bet is to not wear white – no matter what the bride is wearing! Rita of Multilingual Parenting shares, “I once wore a cream dress when the bride had chosen dark red and felt a bit awkward.”

USA: Even within the US, there is some debate about what is appropriate to wear. Diana of Ladydeelg in NYC thought wearing black was very chic, while Mary-Helen, who grew up in New Orleans, said that “In the South, wearing black to a wedding is a passive aggressive way of saying that you REALLY are unhappy with this particular union” and are treating it “as if there has been a death in the family.” Instead, one should wear something “floral or happy looking.”

India (Punjabi): Sumiti: “Wearing black and white outfits to the wedding or reception is a total No No. The outfits should have bold colors and ladies were expected to wear heavy jewelry.”

India: Puneeta of Maple and Marigold: “Since Indian wedding usually involve dancing until late in the night, comfortable shoes are great for kids and adults. Wear leggings underneath the lehenga (Indian skirt) in case a quick change of attire is needed on the dance floor.”

India: Charu of Ketchup Moms: “In India kids are expected to be dressed in Indian attire for weddings mostly. And interestingly a young boy from the immediate family of the groom’s side is dressed just like the groom and then he ride on the horse with the groom (another custom) to the house of the Bride to marry her. He is called ‘Sarwala’.”

Mexico: Becky of Kid World Citizen: “People get VERY dressed up. Here in the Yucatan, men always wear a guayabera, but everywhere else it would be a suit or tux.”

China and Taiwan: Amanda of Miss Panda Chinese: “You will see children dress in new clothing to attend a wedding. Red is always a good color but any bright happy colors are good choices. No black clothing for children or adults.” 

Poland: Hanna of HannaCheda.com: “You should not wear white to the wedding. Or black (brings bad luck).”

Read about the tradition of a “cake pull” in the US South!

Multicultural Guide to Wedding Etiquette for Families | Alldonemonkey.com

Should Kids Attend?

One of the most hotly debates aspects of wedding etiquette for families in the US is about including children. As we saw at the recent royal wedding, children are often included in the wedding party at British weddings, while in the US they are often not even invited! So how do you know whether or not to bring your kids when you receive an invitation? It depends on where you are:

Yes 

India: Sumiti: “Children are expected to attend, and it is a fun event for all ages.”

India: Vandana: “Kids are a part of the celebrations and very welcome. When we give the invitation, it’s implied that it is for the whole family, unless specified, which is very very rare.”

China and Taiwan: Amanda of Miss Panda Chinese: “Children are always welcome to the wedding. You will see children dress in new clothing to attend a wedding. Children are an important part of a Chinese wedding because they bring happy spirit to the bride and the groom. They are also a reminder for the bride and groom of having a family. There is a Chinese tradition that one healthy happy little boy of a close relative of friends will be chosen by the bride’s or the groom’s family and this child will jump on the bed of the newlyweds prior to the weeding banquet to symbolize the couple will have happy healthy kids.”

Latvia: Ilze of Let the Journey Begin: “In Latvia kids are welcome to all weddings, have never heard of asking people to not bring their children to the wedding (or a part of it) as it sometimes happens, e.g. in the US. Most commonly, the wedding takes place in one location and then the party at another with accommodation included (hostel-style and free of charge for the guests). So many parents just let the kids stay up until they drop, put them to bed, and continue celebrating. On the second day of the wedding, as the guests are slowly getting up, having breakfast and getting ready to leave (noon-ish) you’d usually see children running around and playing.”

Fiji (Indian): Ashi: “When people give out wedding invitation cards, they generally expect everyone from the family to attend most of the festive activities. They’ll invite everyone they know (the whole village). Kids are the blessings of the family and they’re included in all the wedding festivities.”

Multicultural Guide to Wedding Etiquette for Families | Alldonemonkey.com

No 

Poland: Hanna of HannaCheda.com: “Kids used to take part in the wedding, but many parents including us do not bring them. Preferably I prefer to have fun on that night, drink, dance and not to chase after my kids. Only took them to one wedding when they were small and didn’t enjoy it at all.”

Maybe 

USA: In the US, it is mixed whether or not children are included in a wedding. Many report that children are often excluded from weddings, while others say that they are usually invited to daytime weddings. Often people assume that children are not invited and so leave them at home. Even Martha Stewart (or at least her organization) weighed in on how to decide whether to include children at a wedding. Your best bet? Unless it is specifically stated on the invitation, be sure to ask.

But keep in mind this is not true for many groups in the US. Chantilly of ChantillyPatino.com shares that for Mexican-American weddings, “Many times it’s expected that you’ll be bringing the little ones, grandma, etc. I’ve heard that in many American weddings (at least those uppercrust ones) that people have to request to bring their kids. In MexAm culture, for most, it’s expected you would bring them…from newborns to teens. This is a family event after all.”

How Are Kids Expected to Act?

If you do take your children, what behavior will be expected of them? Here are tips on wedding etiquette for families from experienced parents!

Mexican American: Elizabeth says, “Kids were always included and expected to act like kids – dance silly, run around, fall asleep.”

China and Taiwan: Amanda of Miss Panda Chinese: “Children love going to the wedding as well. They always have fun with the candy and soda provided on each table prior to the beginning of the 10 or more dishes are brought to the table one by one. The tips for bringing kids to a Chinese wedding is to make sure they sit through the wedding ceremony (it can go up to an hour) before the banquet starts.”

Latvia: Ilze of Let the Journey Begin: “On the second day of the wedding, as the guests are slowly getting up, having breakfast and getting ready to leave (noon-ish) you’d usually see children running around and playing.”

Fiji: Ashi: At a wedding in Fiji “you’ll hear screaming, crying, whining, kids running around but we’re all accustomed to all these noises. Children are considered blessing, they’re included in all the functions in Fiji Islands.”

New Children’s Book About Indian Weddings

I received a complimentary copy of Let’s Celebrate an Indian Wedding for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

And now you can share the joy and beauty of an Indian wedding with your children thanks to the new children’s book Let’s Celebrate An Indian Wedding! (Maya & Neel’s India Adventure Series, Book 9). This book is a great way to prepare if you are attending an Indian wedding or simply want to learn more about it. This is the latest installment of the adventures of Maya and Neel, and it does not disappoint!

I love the emphasis on the diversity of Indian weddings. While Maya and Neel are attending a wedding in New Delhi, there is also information about weddings in other regions, such as Tamil Nadu, where the bride and groom sit on a beautifully decorated swing!

Related Post: India for Kids: Favorite Resources for Elementary Age

Maya and Neel get to participate in all stages of the wedding, including of course lots of dancing! Kids will love learning about lovely traditions such as stealing the groom’s shoes in order to get a treat!

This is a wonderful book to share with children if you are attending a wedding this summer, or if you’d like to learn more about Indian culture!

What are your best tips on wedding etiquette for families?

May 092018
 
 May 9, 2018  activities, Book Reviews, Geography, multiculturalism, recipes, Spanish, Summer Comments Off on Tropical Chocolate Mango Popsicles

The weather is finally warming up in our neck of the woods, so we celebrated by concocting some fruity, chocolate-y pops! Inspired by a traditional Puerto Rican treat, these tropical chocolate mango popsicles are full of fruity goodness – mango, banana, and coconut – plus a touch of decadence from the chocolate. What better way to celebrate the fact that summer is just around the corner? Plus, you don’t want to miss our giveaway of a wonderful new children’s activity coloring book all about Puerto Rico!

Tropical Chocolate Mango Popsicles | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Puerto Rico, the Island of Enchantment for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links; if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Tropical Chocolate Mango Popsicles

Summer is coming, which makes us all think about tropical beaches and relaxing by the waves. To bring a little taste of the tropics to our home in Northern California, we decided to make these scrumptious tropical chocolate mango popsicles. I was inspired by Puerto Rican limber, a frozen treat similar to popsicles and often made with fresh fruits and juices. You can do all kinds of combinations, but we were especially interested in mango – which was great because I had a huge bag of frozen mango in the freezer! Of course, if you have fresh, by all means use that, but it is often hard for us to find really good mangoes in our area, plus with kids, it’s so much easier to use frozen since it’s already peeled and chopped for you.

If you want an authentic mango limber, then I highly recommend trying this recipe from Modern Mami, or you can browse this great collection of healthy limber recipes! I wanted to do something a little different, so we added a little twist to our recipe by adding shredded coconut and banana, as well as chocolate. Cocoa powder alone is quite bitter, so I actually used hot chocolate mix (!) but if you don’t have this, just use cocoa powder and sugar to taste.

Tropical Chocolate Mango Popsicles | Alldonemonkey.com

Ingredients (makes 6+ popsicles)

4 cups of mango (frozen or fresh)

1 banana

honey to taste

3 cups water (add more or less depending on how thick you like it)

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup hot chocolate mix (or combination of cocoa powder and sugar)

Combine all ingredients in blender. Taste and adjust for sweetness. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.

Puerto Rico has been on my mind a lot lately, even since the devastation of Hurricane Maria and the excruciatingly long recovery that followed and is still ongoing. So when my friend Melissa López Chaperoo approached me to help edit her beautiful bilingual coloring activity book Puerto Rico, La Isla del Encanto – Cuaderno de Ejercicios: Puerto Rico, The Island of Enchantment – Workbook, I jumped at the chance.

Tropical Chocolate Mango Popsicles & Puerto Rico Workbook | Alldonemonkey.com

I am endlessly impressed by the author’s talent as an illustrator but also the depth of her knowledge about the subject. Puerto Rico, La Isla del Encanto – Cuaderno de Ejercicios: Puerto Rico, The Island of Enchantment – Workbook is incredibly comprehensive, covering topics as varied as history, geography, government, religion, sports, food, and the arts. It contains nearly 200 workbook pages (plus answer keys) appropriate for elementary school and even older (though younger kids will definitely enjoy the coloring part of it!) There is so much to explore here, no matter what your child’s interests, so it is sure to be a hit!

The book is completely bilingual, so whether your kids read/write fluently in Spanish, just un poquito, or not at all, this is the perfect book to expose them to Spanish and the rich culture and history of the Island of Enchantment.

Tropical Chocolate Mango Popsicles & Puerto Rico Workbook | Alldonemonkey.com

Even better, all of the profits from the first year of its publication go to recovery efforts in Puerto Rico. This book is a true labor of love, dedicated to the author’s homeland during its time of need. It is a great way to support Puerto Rico and teach kids about this beautiful island that they have surely been hearing about on the news.

Giveaway

And now you can win your own copy! Simply comment on this post, letting us know which topic about Puerto Rico you think your child would be most interested in! Geography, history, the arts, sports, or … ? Let us know!

Contest ends Tuesday, May 15, 2018, at midnight PT. Winner chosen by random selection. US Shipping Only

Related Posts

Cuban Mango Milkshake

Frozen Treats from Around the World

15+ Favorite Popsicle Recipes

Apr 172018
 
 April 17, 2018  Book Reviews, Geography, multiculturalism, raising world citizens Comments Off on Learn About South Asian Culture Through Books

South Asian culture is so rich and diverse, that it is a fertile topic to return to again and again with your students. Whether you are interested in religion, history, the arts, food, or folk traditions, there is so much to explore. Here are some wonderful new children’s books about South Asian culture that you won’t want to miss!

Learn About South Asian Culture Through Books

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Learn About South Asian Culture Through Books

Let’s Celebrate Vaisakhi! is the latest Maya and Neel adventure, this time exploring a joyful spring harvest festival from the Punjab state in India. Fans of Maya and Neel won’t want to miss this latest adventure into the rich traditions of South Asian culture! Punjab, which borders Pakistan, is known for its large Sikh population, so Let’s Celebrate Vaisakhi! features a section on Sikhism as well as information about the food and dances associated with Vaisakhi. As always, the illustrations are so beautiful and engaging, and the wealth of information is presented in a way that is easily understood by young readers. I love how there is an emphasis on the natural world of the region and how it is showcased in the various aspects of the Vaisakhi festival.

One aspect of South Asian culture that cannot be glossed over is the caste system, which historically designated people into a rigid hierarchy from birth. The Boy Who Asked Why: The Story of Bhimrao Ambedkar is a beautifully done book about a civil rights hero you probably have never heard of who fought against this hierarchy and the injustices it engendered. Bhimrao Ambedkar grew up in the early twentieth century, when the caste system was still entrenched. As an Untouchable, the lowest caste of all, others were not allowed to touch or even interact with him. Overcoming incredible odds, Ambedkar pursued his education and became a successful lawyer, but he still faced many prejudices despite all of his achievements. He led a movement to break down the barriers that held the Untouchables back. Great book to inspire children to allow ask why in the face of injustice.

One of the smaller countries that makes up South Asian culture is Bhutan. In the West, it is principally known for its use of the “Gross National Happiness” instead of “Gross National Product.” This joyful, kind attitude can be clearly see in the lovely folktale Room in Your Heart. Can you imagine going to a country with no hotels, where instead visitors could stay with a local family? This was a reality until the mid-twentieth century in Bhutan. Inspired by this tradition, Room in Your Heart is a beautiful story of a woman who, despite having so little herself, welcomes those in need who appear at her door. Wonderful way to teach children about generosity, and that “there will always be room in your home, as long as there is room in your heart.”

Related Posts on South Asian Culture:

Sikhism: Learning Resources for Kids

India for Kids: Favorite Resources for Elementary Students

Learning About India: The Lotus Temple and Sacred Geometry

Feb 212018
 
 February 21, 2018  Kid Fun, multiculturalism, Purim 14 Responses »

Are you excited for Purim? Here are some ideas for throwing a Purim party everyone will enjoy, including an amazing new Purim album for kids! So whether your kids are already familiar with Purim or learning about it for the first time, here are fun ideas and resources to plan a Purim party your kids will love. And don’t miss the big GIVEAWAY at the end of this post!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Purimania by Danna Banana; however, all opinions are my own.

Plan a Purim Party Your Kids Will Love | Alldonemonkey.com

Plan a Purim Party Your Kids Will Love

What Is Purim?

The origins of the Jewish holiday Purim go back to the Persian Empire in the 4th Century BCE. After King Ahasuerus had his wife, Queen Vashti, executed because she didn’t follow his orders, he held a beauty contest to find a new queen. The winner, Esther, was at first careful not to reveal to the king that she was Jewish, yet she was destined to become  heroine for her people.

The problems began when her cousin Mordechai, the leader of the Jews, refused to bow to Haman, the Prime Minister. Furious, Haman influenced the king and set into motion a plan to kill all of the Jews. Yet Mordecai convinced Esther to intercede with the king, a very dangerous task, since anyone who visited the king without being summoned could be put to death. Yet Esther showed true courage by speaking to the king, who turned against the wicked Haman. Haman was put to death and replaced as prime minister by Mordechai. The Jewish people were saved and were finally allowed to defend themselves against their enemies.

How to Celebrate

Purim is a joyous celebration of Esther’s bravery and the triumph of good over evil. Purim starts Wednesday night, February 28 and continues through Thursday, March 1, 2018, in the US (ends March 2 in Israel). Here are some great ways to help your kids celebrate Purim and learn more about this fun holiday. (Read more in this wonderful how-to guide).

Plan a Purim Party Your Kids Will Love | Alldonemonkey.com

Costumes

Purim is perhaps best known for the fun costumes that everyone wears. While traditionally people dressed up only as Esther, Mordechai, or the King, these days you can wear any costume you like!

Food

Try your hand at making hamantaschen, the triangular cookies thought to represent Haman’s triangle-shaped hat. There are so many variations to love! People also send gifts of food and drinks to friends during Purim, to reinforce bonds of friendship and community.

Service to Others

Purim is also a time to think of the less fortunate. Why not do a food drive at your Purim party or collect donations for a local charity?

Books

At the heart of Purim is the story of Queen Esther herself and how she saved the Jewish people. Read more about her as well as other Purim stories in this collection of Purim books for kids.

Crafts

Make your own grogger, a special noise maker to use when you read the Purim story, so you can boo and make lots of noise whenever Haman is mentioned! Another fun activity is to color in and use these printable Purim puppets.  Don’t miss these other free Purim printables, including masks and coloring pages.

Music

And just in time for Purim is a new album from award-winning family performer Danna Banana, writer of classics like “The Goofball” and “Suddenly Summer.” Purimania is a stellar collection of tunes old and new celebrating Purim. (See details below on how you can enter to win your own copy – plus a $25 Amazon gift card!)

Danna Banana is a well-loved performer with six albums out and numerous performances across the country. He is a John Lennon Songwriting Grand Prize Winner and named New York Magazine’s Best Party Entertainer. The New York Post called him a ‘ripe talent’ and a mom in New Jersey called him ’a piñata of listening pleasure’. Trained as an opera singer, he sang leading roles all over the country in such operas as La Boheme, Don Giovanni, and Carmen before turning his talents to children’s music.

While most of Danna Banana’s work is non-denominational music for kids, among his earlier albums include Bananukah!, a celebration of Hanukah. That album’s success prompted him to create Purimania.

As in Bananukah!, Purimania mixes traditional songs with his own tuneful originals. Mr. Banana offers lively versions of classics like “In Shushan”, “Wicked Man”, and “Hag Purim” while “The Purimania Song” offers up his own whimsical version of the Purim story. In “Hamantaschen Party”, he uses recipes for Hamantaschen, the traditional cookie of Purim, as his lyric– both regular and gluten-free!

My kids and I have been listening to Purimania over and over – it is irresistible! The songs on this album are sure to add the element of fun to any Purim party and make everyone – adults and kids – want to get up and dance!

Check out Purimania! It’s the funniest, most danceable Purim music ever! Let’s party like it’s 330 B.C.! Here’s the title video:

Visit https://www.dannabanana.com/ for music purchase info.

Social Channels:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dannabanana123

Twitter: https://twitter.com/dannabanana123

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/dannabanana123

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/danna-banana/5049666

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/74v630qTDZTHMNcljo12Kj

Hashtag:

#purimania

GIVEAWAY

And now for our big giveaway! One lucky reader will win a digital copy of Purimania plus a $25 Amazon gift card! All you need to do to enter is comment below with your favorite character from the Purim story.

Giveaway ends Tuesday, February 27, 2018 at midnight PT. Winner chosen by random drawing.

Feb 072018
 
 February 7, 2018  multiculturalism, raising world citizens Comments Off on 5 Ways to Celebrate Diversity When Everyone Around You Looks the Same

Do you wonder how you can celebrate diversity with your kids because you live in a fairly homogeneous area? Here are great tips from guest author and mompreneur Kamilah of Many Shades Club, a unique children’s book delivery service featuring books with diverse characters and families of all kinds. 

Disclosure: I received a complimentary subscription box from Many Shades Club for an upcoming review; however, I received no compensation for this guest post on how to celebrate diversity with kids, a subject dear to my heart.  

5 Ways to Celebrate Diversity When Everyone Around You Looks the Same | Alldonemonkey.com

When my husband and I (who were born and raised in the D.C. Metro Area and spent most of our adult lives living in Brooklyn, NY) moved to Florida, we were in for a bit of a shock. We were, in essence, city folk. We were used to having access on a regular basis to just about all kinds of people, food, languages, accents, complexions, genders, family make-ups, and socio-economic statuses that you can imagine.

We knew we valued “diversity.” But we never really appreciated just how much until it became less a part of our everyday lives and more something that we had to put quite a bit of effort into trying to find.

Throw kids in the mix, and for us it no longer was a wish, but an imperative. We felt that our regular access to diversity as kids had fundamentally shaped the people we became and the way we engaged with the world. Bringing this sense of awareness and regular access to all kinds of people and families (especially while living in a much more homogeneous place) is now priority #1 for us now as parents. Here are five things we’ve tried as ways to celebrate diversity in a place where it takes much more effort.

5 Ways to Celebrate Diversity (When Everyone Around You Looks the Same)

Related Post: Resources to Help Kids Embrace Diversity

1) Regularly attend cultural events and celebrations that are different from your own

Local Diwali Festival? We’re there! Japan Association hosting a day of demonstrations and exhibits? Sign. Us. Up.

There’s something very mind expanding about being in places where you are in the minority. Not only does it give you a sense of awareness and a taste for what it’s like for people who may be in that position on a daily basis in their places of work, school, worship, etc, but there are valuable lessons in the discomfort that may be felt initially and the potential gradual lessening of that discomfort as you continue to expose yourself to different cultures. More than anything else, it’s just fun, and interesting, and cool, and lights up parts of your brain that might not otherwise be lit.

Sign up for email lists, social media groups, etc for community events to make it easier to find things to do.

2) Constantly seek and read books that show characters from all backgrounds, and in casual and age-appropriate ways, talk about what you see

And especially for older kids and adults, read books about the experiences of different kinds of people written from the voice and perspective of the people actually living those experiences. Think critically and mindfully about what you’re reading.

5 Ways to Celebrate Diversity When Everyone Around You Looks the Same | Alldonemonkey.com

3) Try taking public transportation

When you don’t live in a city that relies on public transportation for the majority of the population to get around, taking buses and trains can lead to some interesting conversations and broadening perspectives about the ways that people live, possible disparities, and appreciation for what you do have. Do it on a day when you have time to spare, and start with a short trip (to the library or grocery store, for example). Many cities with public transit have websites with trip planners, or you can also use Google Maps.

4) Expand your social circles and open your home to people for a meal

When our kids are in their comfort space of home and see all kinds of people regularly welcomed into our home, we can’t help but to think and hope it makes some sort of impression. It is also a wonderful way to teach by example about acceptance and welcoming people of diverse backgrounds.

Related Post: Starting a Multicultural Moms Group

5) Food, glorious food

We regularly search and venture to new neighborhoods to try new restaurants that specialize in foods that we’ve never tried before. These are awesome places to both meet new people and raise adventurous eaters.

At the end of the day it’s really all about exposure. It can start with surface-level exposure (just being in the space where there are different kinds of people), but the goal for us is for it to expand to more substantive engagement—actually getting to know people and experiences and being comfortable around all kinds of people and experiences, which we hope will grow into an appreciation for and an awareness of self and others. While it definitely takes extra work to celebrate diversity when everyone around you looks alike, it can be done. And we’re choosing to believe it’ll be worth it.

All images courtesy of Many Shades Club.

Many Shades ClubKamilah is an Orlando based nature-loving, travel-seeking wife and mother of two, and the mom in the ‘Mom & Pop’ duo behind Many Shades Club, a diverse children’s book delivery service. Many Shades is a unique children’s book delivery service. Every month children receive a high quality book, carefully curated by us, that features diverse characters and families of all kinds. We do the searching, shopping, and shipping for you, bringing compassion and awareness right to your door.

Jan 192018
 
 January 19, 2018  bilingualism, Book Reviews, Literacy, multiculturalism, Spanish, Valentine's Day Comments Off on Valentine’s Day Mini Book: Speaking of Love

With Valentine’s Day coming up, it’s the perfect time to talk to children about love and how it unites us as one human family. I wanted to emphasize that no matter how different we may seem, we all experience love, so I created this free printable Valentine’s Day mini book that teaches how to say “love” in five different languages. It’s a fun way to celebrate the holiday and to teach children an important life lesson. Scroll down to download your copy!

Valentine's Day Mini Book: Speaking of Love | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Love for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Valentine’s Day Mini Book: Speaking of Love

When teaching children about the world, it’s important to emphasize that despite our differences, we have so much in common. Love is one of the most universal qualities that we share, and this free Valentine’s Day mini book shows children how to say “love” in five different languages: Spanish, French, German, Arabic, and Mandarin Chinese.

There is also a matching page (with answer key), so it is easy to use as a fun classroom activity.

Related Post: Teaching Children to Choose Love

To download your copy simply click on the link below:

Download your free Valentine’s Day Mini Book: Speaking of Love

And thank you to EduClips for the lovely bird clip art I used in the Valentine’s Day Mini Book!

Another great way to teach kids about love as a universal language is the gorgeous new children’s book Love from Matt de la Peña, author of the acclaimed children’s book Last Stop on Market Street (read my full review). This lovely new work focuses on how we all experience love in its myriad forms – from a beautiful sunset to laughter or the sound of a parent’s voice. I love the emphasis on recognizing love in the simple, ordinary moments, like playing in sprinkler during the summer or lying in the grass and looking up at the trees.

But love is more than just sunshine and rainbows – it’s also the hug when you’re scared or someone waking at dawn to go to work. This book doesn’t shy away from childhood fears and tragedies, but it handles them gently and reminds children that through it all, they are always surrounded by love, love, love.

And of course I adore the diverse images in the books – in particular a girl in sneakers and a hijab enjoying the beauty of a spring day. The illustrations go a long way towards helping children understand that no matter how different we may look, we all experience love and the simple joys of life.

I highly recommend this book as a wonderful way to celebrate the love that surrounds us and remind children of the beauty in the ordinary.

Related Post: Picture Books About Love

Love Blog Tour

This post is part of the blog tour to celebrate the release of Love by Matt de la Peña. Be sure to check out all the posts below!

WEEK ONE
January 8 – Margie’s Must Reads – Mood Board
January 9 – DoodleMom’s Homeschooling Life – Review and Review and Creative (lesson plan/unit study)
January 10 – The Keepers of the Books – What Love Means to different age groups
January 11 – The Children’s Book Reviews – Creative
January 12 – Books4yourkids – Creative
WEEK TWO
January 15 – Happily Ever Elephants – Review + Kids quotes on what love is to them.
January 16 – Crayon Freckles – Creative Learning Activity
January 17 – My Book Bloom – Review and Craft
January 18 – My Little Poppies – Activity
January 19 – All Done Monkey – Lesson plan or activity.
WEEK THREE
January 22 – Mundie Moms – Ask 7th graders what they think of the definition of “love”
January 23 – Wandering Bark Books – Spotlight
January 24 – Little Lit Book Series – Arts and Crafts Post
January 25 – Between the Reads – Review AND exploring what love means in today’s society and what it means to me
January 26 – The Plot Bunny – Old Valentine’s Mood Board
WEEK FOUR
January 29 – Just Commonly – “Love is” Collage
January 30 – Inspiration Laboratories – Artwork demonstrating love
Sep 262017
 

Hispanic Heritage Month is here, and it’s one of my favorite times of year! Not only do I get to throw a virtual party with my blogger friends (see below for details on our big HHM series and giveaway), but it’s such a fun excuse to celebrate Hispanic heritage with my kids! While we often do crafts and read books, I also really love getting them in the kitchen to make some traditional recipes! So whether you are hosting a cultural event, teaching a group of students, or cooking with your kids at home, here is a collection of some wonderful Hispanic Heritage Month recipes to try!

60+ Hispanic Heritage Month Recipes to Try with Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Hispanic Heritage Month Recipes to Try with Kids

I’ll never forget returning to the US after a year in Bolivia, and so many people commented to me, “You must be so tired of eating tacos!” It seems funny now, but at the time it was slightly incomprehensible: Bolivia is thousands of miles and an entire continent away from Mexico, so my friends in Bolivia had little concept of what tacos were or how they should taste. Despite some commonalities, the cultures and cuisines of Latin America are incredibly varied. Hopefully this list will give you an idea of just how diverse these food traditions are.

We hope you enjoy cooking these Hispanic Heritage Month recipes with your kiddos! Let us know in the comments your favorite dish to cook from Latin America.

Argentina

Panqueques con Dulce de Leche (Dulce de Leche Crepes), Tara’s Multicultural Table

Pastel de Papa con Eliote (Potato and Corn Casserole)Global Table Adventure

Bolivia

Arroz con Leche (Rice Pudding)Crafty Moms Share

EmpanadasAll Done Monkey

Leche Asada (Baked Milk Custard)Global Table Adventure

Chile

Alfajores (Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies)Global Table Adventure

Ensalada (Simple Salad)Kid World Citizen

Colombia

Arepuelas (Crepes)Mama Tortuga

Pandebonos (Cheese Bread)Compras y Hogar

Pasteles de Yuca y Arracacha (Cassava Cakes)Mama Tortuga

SancochoCompras y Hogar

Sopa de Avena (Oatmeal Soup)Mama Tortuga

Costa Rica

Arepas (Pancakes)Pura Vida Moms

Arroz con Pollo (Chicken and Rice)Pura Vida Moms

Atol de Avena (Oatmeal Steamer)All Done Monkey

Atol de Naranja (Orange Pudding)All Done Monkey

EmpanadasAll Done Monkey

Ensalada Rusa (Beet Salad)All Done Monkey

Pañuelo (Cream Filled Turnover)Pura Vida Moms

Tamarindo Juice PopsAll Done Monkey

Tres Leches CakePura Vida Moms

Cuba

Arroz con Leche (Rice Pudding)De Su Mamá

Arroz con Pollo (Chicken with Rice), De Su Mamá

Fritura de Bacaloa (Codfish Fritters), De Su Mamá

Hot Pressed Pork SandwichGlobal Table Adventure

Mango MilkshakeAll Done Monkey

Pastelitos de Carne (Stuffed Meat Pies), De Su Mamá

Torticas (Sugar Cookies)Crafty Moms Share

Ecuador

Arroz con Leche (Rice Pudding)Hispanic Mama

Espumilla (Guava Meringue Cream)Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes

HumitaHispanic Mama

Pan de Yuca (Gluten-Free Cheesy Bread)Ladydeelg

Torta de Choclo (Corn Cake)Ladydeelg

El Salvador

Atol de Elote (Creamy Sweet Corn Drink)Global Table Adventure

PupusasKid World Citizen

Quesadilla (Sweet Breakfast Cake)Global Table Adventure

Guatemala

Hot CocoaGlobal Table Adventure

Honduras

Tortas de Plátano (Plantain and Cheese Turnovers)Global Table Adventure

México

Agua Fresca con Fresa (Strawberry Drink)El Mundo de Pepita

Calabaza en Tacha (Candied Pumpkin)Kid World Citizen

Cochinita Pibil Tacos (Achiote Pork Tacos)Kid World Citizen

Corn TortillasDiscovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes

Creamy Green SalsaPura Vida Moms

Fresh Fruit and Veggie SnacksKid World Citizen

Hot ChocolateMommyMaestra

Mango Jícama SaladMommyMaestra

Paletas (Popsicles)Kid World Citizen

Pan de Muerto (Bread of the Dead)MommyMaestra

Pico de Gallo (Salsa)El Mundo de Pepita

Pumpkin Noosa Cupcakes for Día de los MuertosPura Vida Moms

Tinga de Pollo (Chicken Tinga)Kid World Citizen

Panamá

Tostones (Plantain Chips)Global Table Adventure

Paraguay

Alfajores (Dulce de Leche Stuffed Cookies)Global Table Adventure

Sopa Paraguayo (Cheesy Cornbread)Global Table Adventure

Perú

CevicheHispanic Mama

Lomo Saltado (Beef Stir Fry)All Done Monkey

Mazamorra Morada (Purple Corn Pudding)Crafty Moms Share

Potatoes with Ocopa SauceKid World Citizen

Salchipapas (Sausages and Potatoes)Tara’s Multicultural Table

Puerto Rico

Kid-Friendly Piña ColadaDiscovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes

Limber de Oreo Frozen TreatDiscovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes

Mofongo with Spanish OlivesMulticultural Kid Blogs

Uruguay

Pasta con Salsa Caruso (Pasta with Caruso Sauce)Tara’s Multicultural Table

Venezuela

Cachapas (Corn Cakes with Cheese)Global Table Adventure

Tequeños con Salsa Guasacaca (Cheese Sticks with Green Sauce), Tara’s Multicultural Table

What are your favorite Hispanic Heritage Month recipes?

Hispanic Heritage Month Series 2017 | Multicultural Kid BlogsWe are so excited for our sixth annual Hispanic Heritage Month series and giveaway! Through the month (September 15 – October 15), you’ll find great resources to share Hispanic Heritage with kids, plus you can enter to win in our great giveaway and link up your own posts on Hispanic Heritage!

September 15
Embracing Diversity on Multicultural Kid Blogs: 10 Fun Facts About Dominican Republic

September 18
Spanish Mama: Nazca Lines – Exploratory Art Project

September 19
Hispanic Mama: Fun Ways to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with Your Children

September 20
Inspired by Family: 16 Great Children’s Books About South America

September 21
Spanish Mama: Folk Songs in Spanish

September 25
Spanish Playground: Food from Latin America Infographic Picture Cards Activities

September 26
All Done Monkey: 60+ Hispanic Heritage Month Recipes to Try with Kids

September 27
Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes: Hispanic Inspired Crafts for Kids

September 28
Kid World Citizen

September 29
Pura Vida Moms on Multicultural Kid Blogs

October 2
Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes on Multicultural Kid Blogs

October 5
Spanglish House

October 6
Mama Tortuga

October 12
Tiny Tapping Toes

Don’t miss all of the great posts from previous years as well: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

Hispanic Heritage Month Giveaway!

Giveaway begins September 15 and goes through October 15, 2017. Enter below for a chance to win one of these amazing prize packages! Some prizes have shipping restrictions. In the event that a winner lives outside the designated shipping area, that prize will then become part of the following prize package. For more information, read our full giveaway rules.

Hispanic Heritage Month Series and Giveaway 2017 Grand Prize | Multicultural Kid Blogs

Grand Prize

From Mariana Iranzi: A digital copy of her new CD Primavera
From Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer: A print copy of Cántale a tu bebé with music download – US Shipping Only
From 123 Andrés: A copy of the CD Arriba Abajo (digital copy if outside the US)
From Spanish Playground: Set of books, crafts, and toys from Latin America – US Shipping Only
From Carole P. Roman: Set of If You Were Me and Lived In… books on Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, Peru, Portugal, and the Mayan Empire – US Shipping Only
From Mister G: A copy of the new CD Mundo Verde/Green World (digital copy if outside the US)
From World Music with Daria: Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Musical Craft and Coloring E-Book
From Gus on the Go: Spanish Alphabet Print (US Shipping Only) & single-use promo code for Spanish for kids language app
From Lectura Para Niños: A set of printable little readers, one for each letter of the Spanish alphabet. Designed to last the entire school year, with one new book each week plus several review weeks included throughout the set

Hispanic Heritage Month Series and Giveaway 2017 | Multicultural Kid Blogs

1st Prize

From Mariana Iranzi: A digital copy of her new CD Primavera
From Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer: A print copy of Cántale a tu bebé with music download – US Shipping Only
From 123 Andrés: A copy of the CD Arriba Abajo (digital copy if outside the US)
From Spanish Playground: Set of books, crafts, and toys from Latin America – US Shipping Only
From Carole P. Roman: Set of If You Were Me and Lived In… books on Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, Peru, Portugal, and the Mayan Empire – US Shipping Only
From Mister G: A copy of the new CD Mundo Verde/Green World (digital copy if outside the US)
From World Music with Daria: Set of maracas and a Spanish fan – US Shipping Only
From Gus on the Go: Spanish Alphabet Print (US Shipping Only) & single-use promo code for Spanish for kids language app

Hispanic Heritage Month Series and Giveaway 2017 2nd Prize | Multicultural Kid Blogs

2nd Prize

From Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer: A print copy of Cántale a tu bebé with music download – US Shipping Only
From 123 Andrés: A copy of the CD Uno, Dos, Tres, Andrés! (digital copy if outside the US)
From Spanish Playground: Set of books, crafts, and toys from Latin America – US Shipping Only
From Carole P. Roman: Set of If You Were Me and Lived In… books on Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, Peru, Portugal, and the Mayan Empire – US Shipping Only
From Mister G: A copy of the new CD Mundo Verde/Green World (digital copy if outside the US)
From Lee and Low Books: Martí’s Song for Freedom/Martí y sus versos por la libertad; Rainbow Weaver/Tejedora del arcoíris; Mamá the Alien/Mamá la extraterreste; Marisol McDonald and the Monster/Marisol McDonald y el monstruo – US Shipping Only

Hispanic Heritage Month Giveaway 2017 - Third Prize | Multicultural Kid Blogs

3rd Prize

From Carole P. Roman: Set of If You Were Me and Lived In… books on Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, Peru, Portugal, and the Mayan Empire – US Shipping Only
From Mister G: A copy of the new CD Mundo Verde/Green World (digital copy if outside the US)
From Sarah Aroeste: A copy of the new Ladino/English bilingual picture book Ora de Despertar/Time to Wake UpUS Shipping Only
From Arte Público Press: Picture books Esteban de Luna, Baby Rescuer! / Esteban de Luna, ¡rescatador de bebés!, The Little Doctor / El doctorcito, Dalia’s Wondrous Hair / El cabello maravilloso de Dalia, Grandma’s Chocolate / El chocolate de Abuelita, I Kick the Ball / Pateo el balón, Level Up / Paso de nivel, A Surprise for Teresita / Una sorpresa para TeresitaUS Shipping Only

Hispanic Heritage Month Series and Giveaway 2017 Bonus Prize | Multicultural Kid Blogs

Bonus Prizes

We are giving away an extra copy of the CD Mundo Verde/Green World from Mister G (US Shipping Only) and up to 10 digital downloads of this brand new album: Watch a video of the title track!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sep 222017
 
 September 22, 2017  Education, multiculturalism Comments Off on Donate Books to Encourage Diverse Collections

Books are such an incredible way to open up the world to children, yet still today in 2017 the characters in children’s books remain overwhelmingly white. Studies show the importance of representation in literature, yet there is still an incredible diversity gap. The good news is that there is a groundswell of support for more multicultural children’s literature, and our sister website Multicultural Kid Blogs has just launched a campaign to encourage people to donate books – especially diverse books – so that more of these incredible stories find their way into the hands of the children that long to read them.

Donate books to help make diverse literature more widely available

Today you can find me over at Multicultural Kid Blogs sharing a list of where you can donate books to make diverse literature more widely available. Be sure to share your photos on social media using the hashtag #donateMKB!

Aug 252017
 
 August 25, 2017  Education, multiculturalism, raising world citizens, spiritual education Comments Off on Sikhism: Learning Resources for Kids

Learning about other religions is an important of a world cultures curriculum, but one religion I did not know much about growing up was Sikhism. That is why I was so pleased to receive some beautiful books on Sikhism for kids, which prompted me to deepen my own understanding of this egalitarian, inclusive religion.

When my oldest son was very young, some friends and I had a chance to visit a local Sikh temple with our little ones. It is was an experience I’ll never forget! We were shown such kindness from everyone we met, and I was impressed with their dedication to serving others, as exemplified in the meal that was provided to everyone who attended. Since I was there with a three year old, I didn’t have a chance to really ask questions, and so was left wondering exactly what Sikhs believed and where their traditions had come from. Why do the men wear turbans, and why do they keep their hair so long? Do they believe in one god or many? Why do they all seem to have the same last names?

If you or your children have similar questions, here are great resources on Sikhism for kids that you can share.

Sikhism: Learning Resources for Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Sikhism: Learning Resources for Kids

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. 

Related Post: India for Kids: Favorite Resources

A great place to start is this overview which outlines 10 things everyone should know about Sikhism, including the fact that it is an inclusive, pluralistic religion whose members have a long history of fighting for social justice. You can also get a good overview from the Sikhism Guide online or from the BBC website.

I really love the Khalsa Kids website. (Khalsa is the word for the Sikh community). This site is geared towards Sikh kids, but has one section devoted to explaining Sikhism and another just for teachers. These even include lesson plans and aids for classroom discussions. You really get the sense that Sikhs spend a lot of their time having to answer questions about themselves!

Your kids will enjoy this brief video introduction to Sikhism from Little Sikhs (be sure to check out their other resources as well!)

And now for those beautiful books I mentioned! I am grateful to the lovely Saffron Press for sharing them with me. All three are from author Navjot Kaur but with different illustrators, all of whose paintings compliment the text of each book in wonderfully distinct ways. (Side note: the author’s last name of Kaur is the female equivalent of the last name Singh. All Sikhs have one of these two last names – Singh for males, Kaur for females – to demonstrate their belief in total equality, a revolutionary idea when it was founded in 15th century India, steeped in the hierarchical caste system. Traditionally, last names were an easy way to find out what caste a person belonged to).

Related Post: Zoroastrianism for Kids

As of this writing none of the books below is readily available from Amazon; however, you can find them all on the Saffron Press website.

The Garden of Peace by Navjot Kaur | Sikhism Learning Resources for Kids

The Garden of Peace is a lushly illustrated book about the origins of Sikhism, using the allegory of planting a garden from seeds that no one thought would sprout. Each seed represents a central tenet of the Sikh faith, such as kindness or determination. Despite the opposition of the evil emperor and his warriors, the little seeds grow into a beautiful garden of peace, tended by a growing number of faithful followers who come from all walks of life. At the back of the book are instructions to grow your own garden of peace by, for example, planting kindness and believing in yourself. I also appreciated the extended author’s note, which gives a detailed history of the origins of Sikhism and how Sikhs today carry on this tradition of peace and service to all.

A Lion's Mane by Navjot Kaur | Sikhism Learning Resources for Kids

The award-winning book A Lion’s Mane focuses on the most visible marker of a follower of the Sikh faith – the turban. It explores the meanings of this “lion’s mane” by traveling around the world to connect this Sikh tradition to beliefs about lions in different cultures. For example, Richard the Lionheart of England had many brave knights, and being a Sikh also means having courage. The underlying theme of the book is that although the boy in the book may look different, the turban that looks so “strange” is precisely what connects him to others around the world, and, more to the point, each of us has something that makes us special: “I have a lion’s mane and I am different, just like you!” Don’t miss the curriculum guide that the author has created to accompany this conversation-sparking book.

Dreams of Hope | Sikhism Learning Resources for Kids

Dreams of Hope is a gentle bedtime story told by a father to his young daughter. “Where will our dream journey begin tonight, Little One?” His words travel with her as she flies through dreams to visit the nighttime creatures settling down to sleep in the meadow, on the mountaintop, and in the ocean. The text is sprinkled throughout with Panjabi words, explained in a glossary at the back, including the mantra Vaa hey guroo, which is used by Sikhs as “an expression of awe or wonder.” This gorgeous book is clearly meant to be a keepsake, as it contains space for you to write down your dreams and wishes for your child. It also includes a Dreams of Hope Travel Guide with drawings of peace monuments around the world.

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