Megumi’s First Trip to Kyoto {Multicultural Book Review}

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Disclaimer:

I have been given this book in exchange for a review. However, all opinions are honest and my own. 

Working with Multicultural Kid Blogs is great in many ways: not only I get to meet some wonderful bloggers from around the world and learn from them; but I also get to review some of the most interesting multicultural books.

Today I’d like to share with you a book we read with my children called Megumi’s First Trip to Kyoto by Alexandra Parsons (click the link for more information).

In the book a young girl, Megumi, goes on a trip with her grandfather. On the way she plays an imagination game with him, introducing numbers in Japanese to the reader.

The whole book is filled with  useful Japanese vocabulary which could be interesting to children learning about Japan, or preparing to take a trip there.

While counting and playing the imagination game, Megumi and her grandpa open the world of Japanese culture to the reader: its temples, its flag, its traditional scenery and nature.

It was fun trying to pronounce the words and then comparing our pronunciation to the one we found online – so different! But nevertheless, a lesson to learn, and my daughter, who speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, was quite interested in Japanese as well.

We really enjoyed reading this book. The illustrations seem simply but leave a deep impression on the reader.

In order to get a little big more familiar with Japan and Kyoto, we found them on the maps.

Then, we looked at some interesting facts, craft and ideas about, and related to Japan over at my fellow bloggers’ sites:

Japanese Sensory Garden from All Done Monkey

Japan Collection from Glittering Muffins

Books About Japan from Kid World Citizen

All About Life in Japan from Melibelle in Tokyo

We also made some fans from paper and decorated them.

And then, we made Japanese Udon to complete our evenings of taking a virtual tour to Japan with Megumi and her grandpa.

Have you ever been to Japan? Share with us your experience!

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About the author:

Alexandra Parsons is a Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund Scholar, and this book incorporates various aspects of the Japanese culture that she witnessed and participated in during her visit in 2005.  She is an English teacher and Learning Specialist at a private school and lives with her family and two dogs in Florida.

MCCBD Books Review: Lee & Low Books

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Miss T is a real book worm. At 7 her level of reading and comprehension is pretty high. So I always try to offer her some challenging books that would increase her general reading level as well as teach her some new and interesting things.

So, this year for Multicultural Book Day I have requested to be paired up with an author who has books for older kids. That’s how I was introduced to Lee & Low Books, Inc. who are incidentally has already been connected with Multicultural Kid Blogs Community that I belong to.

I was send 3 books for review and below are my honest opinions as a mother and a reader.

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Amazing Places   by Lee Bennett Hopkins.

This was my most favorite book as it is a collection of beautiful illustrations and poems that represent some of the greatest places and items of American heritage. Traveling through Chinatown in one moment and crossing over the Grand Canyon in another; learning about Liberty Bell on one page and jumping into the Niagara Falls on another.

The selection of poems is so in tune with every place illustrated in the book that for a child’s imagination it is as if you were there visiting.

I would recommend this book for children from 7 years up with more advanced reading skills. However, I am sure a younger child, say, 5-6 years old, would also enjoy looking at the pictures and listening to the poems.

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The Monster in the Mudball   by S. P. Gates.

This is a fantasy/mystery about a boy Jin who accidentally releases a monster his neighbour was keeping for many years away from the world. It is not a very heavy reading, however I was hesitant to give it to my 7 year old to read as there are some scary moments.

And even the concept that the monster likes to eat babies would alone be a cause for some unpleasant dreams. But when she is older, she will definitely enjoy this story as it is filled with some riddles and exciting moments of anticipation.

I would recommend this book for children over 12 years old.

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Drift   by M. K. Hutchins.

Now, this is a book I enjoyed reading myself. It is based on lots of Native American, Mayan per se, traditions and tells a story of Tenjat and his sister Eflet who live on a Turtle island and fight for survival every day, going through daolut struggles facing bullies, and discovering a secret about their own heritage amazing and dangerous enough to destroy their lives and everyone’s on their island.

This is a very interesting fantasy book. It brings about the culture that has been almost forgotten, reviving certain concepts and ideas, and giving us a glimpse what live might have looked like during Mayan period.

I would recommend this book children over 15 years old.

I am grateful to Lee & Low for letting me get familiar with some of the books they have published. I hope in the future we get to read more books from them.

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Pleas join us today in celebrating Multiculturalism through books by visiting our main page and linking your favorite multicultural books reviews!

Join the Twitter Party Today 9-10pm EST – lots of books to be given away!

Play Dough and Paper Plate Wreath

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Christmas is such a beautiful time for children. Whether it fits their cultural believes or not, the magic of the holiday finds its way into the children’s hearts and gets them excited about the festivities.

This year Kid Blogger Network bloggers gather yet again to give you 10 days of a Kid-Made Christmas: Ornaments Inspired by Books, hosted by Mama Miss. Check out my post on Christmas Lantern from last year before I go onto introducing a new craft!

In my ESL classes I try incorporating many things: phonics, elements of reading, writing, craft and more. It has now become a tradition that we read a book or a part of a book at the end of our class.

We were going through a book called Christmas is the New House.

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When children saw the picture of Wreath being hung, they became curious.

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And as I tried explaining what it is, the idea of a simple wreath craft came to my mind: Play dough and Paper Plate Wreath.

Materials needed:

One paper plate
Play dough of favorite color (even though the wreath is isually green, I let children use their imagination)
Assorted beans
Clear contact paper (optional – to preserve the craft)

How to make it:

1. Cut out the middle of the paper plate, leaving just the rim of the plate. Keep it for some other craft! (I love upcycling!)

2. Have the children take pieces of play dough and spread them over the rim, pressing firmly so it doesn’t easily fall off.

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3. Using beans, decorate the wreath.

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4. If you want the wreath to last – use contact paper to stick over the craft and secure on the side that has no play dough to preserve. You can decorate it with a bow as well. In my experience preserved this way play dough keeps fresh for at least 3-4 months and then still stays while drying up for another few months.

Voilà, you have these pretty wreaths!

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As an option, and to make a bigger size wreath, you can cut it out of the cardboard and also add more things, like, leaves and twigs besides beans to decorated over the play dough.

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Join us for the remaining days of 10 days of a Kid-Made Christmas! And check out already posted ornaments!
Link up below your favorite and relevant posts!

Merry Christmas!


   

    An InLinkz Link-up

   

Book Review: Enough of Frankie Already! {Multicultural Children’s Book Day}

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Up until 1 year ago I had no idea there is a Multicultural Children’s Book Day! I am very happy to take part in it this year.

Children’s reading and play advocates Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book and Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom teamed up in late 2013 to create an ambitious (and much needed) international event. On January 27th, 2015 this dynamic duo is hosting yet another Multicultural Children’s Book Day as a way of celebrating diversity in children’s books.

I was given an opportunity to participate by reviewing a book by the author Felicia Capers called Enough of Frankie Already! The book is directed at the issue of bullying and offers as many examples of bullying as some of the solutions of how to advocate against bullying.

{Disclaimer}: I received a copy of ebook from the author in exchange for this review. However, all the opinions are strictly my own.

I liked the style of writing and vivid illustrations. The book is written in an easy comprehensive way and targets students from grade 1 up. The story is narrated by a character of the book – Amir – who, among other students in his school, is being bullied by a boy called Frankie.

It is quite obvious from the book, just as it is in reality, that often teachers don’t notice that bullying takes place. Simple things like pulling someone or taking away the ball seem as innocent quarrels between children, however, the reality could be much more harsh as many children in schools suffer from being bullied by their peers or children from older grades.

The solution in the end of the book is simple – children initiate an anti-bullying campaign, and even Frankie the bully gets involved.

There is also a list of questions to discuss with the students and with own children at home after reading the book. I think it is especially thoughtful since sometimes it is hard even for adults to formulate such questions.

I think we are quite lucky here in China as bullying is still not a huge problem here in regular schools – the intense system of studying and long hours at school don’t really leave children with much opportunities to neither play nor bully others. Though, I did hear about some incidents as unfortunately there is always a child or a few who take “pride” in trying to dominate others.

Multicultural Book Day

The Multicultural Children’s Book Day team hopes to spread the word and raise awareness about the importance of diversity in children’s literature. Our young readers need to see themselves within the pages of a book and experience other cultures, languages, traditions and religions within the pages of a book. We encourage readers, parents, teachers, caregivers and librarians to follow along via book reviews, author visits, multicultural booklists and visit the huge multicultural book review link-up that will occur on the MCCBD website 1/27/15.

Here are some ways you can help us celebrate Multicultural Children’s Book Day

  • Visit The Multicultural Children’s Book Day website and view our booklists, reading resources and other useful multicultural information.
  • Visit our Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board for more reading ideas.
  • Have children bring in their favorite multicultural book to school on this day and share it with the class.
  • Watch for the #ReadYourWorld hashtag on social media and share.
  • Visit our Diversity Book Lists and Resources for Educators and Parents on our website.
  • Visit MCCBDsponsors (you can find them HERE)
  • Create a Multicultural Children’s Book Day display around the classroom or library.
  • Visit The Multicultural Children’s Book Day website on January 27thto view and participate in our huge blogger link-up, multicultural book reviews, giveaways and more!

Other Fun Details:

Our Sponsor Line-up Platinum Sponsors:Wisdom Tales Press,Daybreak Press Global Bookshop, Gold SponsorsSatya House,  MulticulturalKids.com,   Author Stephen Hodges and the Magic Poof, Silver Sponsors: Junior Library GuildCapstone Publishing, Lee and Low Books,  The Omnibus Publishing. Bronze Sponsors:Double Dutch Dolls, Bliss Group Books, Snuggle with Picture Books Publishing,  Rainbow Books,   Author FeliciaCapers,   Chronicle Books   Muslim Writers Publishing,East West Discovery Press.

Our CoHosts: We have NINE amazing Co-Host. You can view them here.

-MCCBD now has its own Paper.li! A Paper.li is a free online newspaper that aggregates information on the topic of multicultural books for kids from all over the Internet. Please feel free subscribe and stay up-to-date with this topic.

-Connect with us on our new Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/MulticulturalChildrensBookDay

-Connect with us on our new Twitter https://twitter.com/MCChildsBookDay

If you would like more information, or have questions regarding Multicultural Children’s Book Day, please contact Valarie Budayr at Valarie@AudreyPress.com or Mia Wenjen at pragmaticmomblog@gmail.com

Thank you so much for your support!

Dances of India: Book Tour {Book Review}

Today I am sharing with you a review of the book called Dances of India!

  Maya and Leela book cover

Disclosure: I was given a free copy of the book by the author in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own. Logos and book pages are shared with the permission of the author and are not to be used for commercial purpose without the author’s permission.

Since I was a little girl I was taken by the beauty of India’s dance art. I dreamed all my life that I could study one dance style professionally but it wasn’t meant to be and I taught myself some elements of traditional dance styles and used to perform what is called Contemporary Indian dance for a while. My heart still skips a beat when I hear beautiful Indian music and listen to Indian songs.
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Hence, when the opportunity came up to review Dances of India, I was really excited: I had a chance to introduce this bit of my world to my children!
Dances of India is the first of the books in the Little Loka Series (™). Two elephant sisters Maya and Leela give children a multicultural experience by traveling around the world and introducing cultural elements of the countries they visit.little-lokas-logo_400px-small_web
The book is designed for younger children from birth to 4 but my 6 year old enjoyed it as much!
We loved how colorful the book is – the illustrations are very beautiful and attractive. And the words and descriptions are fairly simple and pass on the joy and excitement to the reader.
The book introduces the elements and the spirit of Indian dances and I honestly felt like getting up, turning on the music and dancing – that much joy there is in the book itself!
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You can purchase this book directly from the website’s store or over at Amazon! This would be a great multicultural gift to the global citizen you are bringing up in your home!

Russian Runaway Gingerbread: Kolobok

Each culture, each country, each nation has a number of folk-stories, fairy-tales and myths. When comparing them with each other it is very easy to say this great connection between nations as a lot of them are very similar or simply the same tales told in different languages. Every time I read fairy-tales and see their resemblance I am yet again convinced that the whole world is but one big country and all of us are its citizens!

Today I would like to share with you the folktale called “Kolobok” (the equivalent of the Gingerbread; the little round bun, shaped as a ball).

The story tells about a grandma who wanted to make something special for a grandpa. So she made  Kolobok from scratch and put him on the open window to cool down. Now, Kolobok decided he had to run away. He would roll and sing a song: “I ran away from grandma, I ran away from grandpa”.  He met different animals along the road who wanted to eat him, but he was clever enough to run away. Until he met the Fox. The Fox is usually portrayed as a cunning and naughty animal in Russian folk tales. So the Fox asked  Kolobok to sit on her nose and sing the song again for her. Of course, Kolobok was naive and trusting. But as soon as he jumped on her nose – the Fox swap him with her big tongue and ate him!

For me the moral of the story was always – never trust strangers!

My friend, Alla  and her daughter Aryana, graciously agreed to share some pictures of Aryana reading the book and doing the Kolobok puzzle!

You can make your own Kolobok at home! Below is the recipe I got of a Russian website Shkola Zhizni (The School of Life) and below is the translation of the traditional Kolobok recipe.

You will need:

2 cups of flour (best to mix wheat, rye and buckwheat flour together)

0.5 cup of sour cream

100-150 gr of butter

baking soda on the tip of the knife

Mix all the ingredients, make the balls and bake in the oven at 200C for about 30 minutes.

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Do you have a favorite folk tale that is equivalent to Kolobok or the Runaway Gingerbread? Share with me – I’d love to learn about it!

Multicultural Blogging Carnival: Bilingual books for Chinese English Learners

It is February and Little Artists participates in the next part of the Multicultural Blogging Carnival dedicated to Books and Words!

This Carnival is hosted by Cordelia of Multicultural Mama and In Culture Parent. Visit her blogs on the February 14th to see who else participated in this wonderful project!

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Being an expat has certain benefits. And no, it is not about being different and being treated better. It is more about when someone is leaving the city, they often give away books, clothes, household items which are great condition and are very useful. Most of our books for girls are given to us by our friends. As sad as we were to part ways with those who left, we were really delighted that they thought about us when giving away their books.

“English library” series by Higher Education Press came into our house from another Russian friend who left the city. There are few levels of bilingual books and they are aimed at the Chinese speakers who learn English. However, they are also great for those who already speak English. In our older daughter’s case, the first language is English. Then Russian, then Chinese (this is changing now as she is more exposed to Chinese than to Russian). She is just starting to read and she loves reading and to be read to in general. So the “English library” books are perfect for her  age group (4+ years old) as they contain simple sentences with sight words and it is easy to follow and seek out the familiar words.

The short stories are written by English speaking authors and they have nice, friendly illustrations. 

Each page contains an illustration and a text, with some of the new words translated into Chinese. At the end of some books there are activities which help review new words and our daughter enjoys doing them over and over again!

Reading is an important part of our children’s life. With the new age of technology it is sad to see many children growing without books in their hands. Even though I haven’t been reading much either (mainly because it is hard to get books around here), I still prefer a book any time in my hands! Here’s a post I contributed about encouraging reading over at B-Inspired Mama’s Blog.

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