One week from today, on February 5th, I'll be launching my new diverse children's book, The Big Buna Bash. I can't wait for you to meet Almaz!
Kids notice differences. As the world becomes increasingly small, it is essential to show children that it feels good to value the things that make a person different.
I once heard of an extremely creative activity that a 1st grade teacher did with her class. She asked parents to send a tiny piece of hair from each of her students. The teacher pasted each one on an index card and put them in a box. Then the kids drew them out, one by one, and discussed the differences. What color was it? Was it straight or curly? Coarse or fine?
That little exercise speaks loudly…. "It's fun to explore differences!"
Research shows that after age 9, racial attitudes tend to stay the same unless there is a life-changing experience. The more awareness of different groups of people leads to greater acceptance, and prevents ethnic stereotypes.
We need to allow children to see outside of their own little worlds!
Here's a few ideas to help open up new worlds for your child and start a great discussion:
1. Learn about traditional celebrations from other cultures
2. Listen/sing/dance to music of a different culture
3. Read a story or see a movie from another country
4. Eat food from other cultures
5. Visit a cultural museum
6. Look at the atlas
7. Create art using techniques from another culture
8. Visit a place of worship that is different from yours
These activities can help kids visualize how other people live, cultivating cultural understanding. Don't forget to talk about what was experienced and how they felt afterwards!
If you can't decide between coffee or tea...…
Yuenyeung is your answer!
Originating in Hong Kong, this drink was originally a mixture of three parts coffee and seven parts milk tea! Here is the version that I tried:
Bring 3 cups water to a boil and add 5 black tea bags (I used flavored tea)
Simmer 3 minutes and stir in a 12 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk (I used regular milk and added Splenda)
Simmer another 3 minutes and stir in 3 cups strong coffee
Add sugar to taste……..serve hot or cold!
chī hǎo hē hǎo” 吃好喝好 Drink up!
Coffee drinking is a universal pastime!
In my next few posts I'm going to share some interesting coffee recipes from around the world.....starting with an extravagant Swedish combination of coffee and cheese called Kaffeost. The Swedes love their coffee breaks, and are surpassed only by Finland and the Netherlands in coffee consumption.
One of my grandmothers was Swedish, so this amazing country is close to my heart. I have been fortunate to visit Sweden twice!
The name of this unique coffee means 'coffee and cheese'. It is often prepared in Northern Sweden and Finland, originating from the Swedish Laplands.
Simply pour hot black coffee over cheese cubes, or dip the cheese cubes into the hot coffee with a spoon.
The cheese used in Sweden is leipäjuusto, also called “bread cheese” or Finnish squeaky cheese. It is made mainly from cow’s milk, but in some cases also from sheep’s milk or reindeer’s milk. It's taste is neutral and delicate.
Kaffeost is served in birch wood cups as a sign of hospitality.
What is it?
A day that celebrates the unique tradition of the Ethiopian buna (coffee) ceremony
Because buna brings people together!
How to observe it?
Drink Ethiopian buna!!
"Every book is not for every child, but for every child there is a book."
The holiday season is upon us and books can be great Christmas/ Hannuka gifts for children everywhere! When you give a child a book, you're giving him the opportunity to get acquainted with different people and places, You are helping expand his vocabulary and stimulating his imagination.
We choose books that match the child's learning and interest levels. Books can only educate, nurture, and entertain kids if they are age appropriate.
For younger children, books can be used to learn basic concepts like letters and colors, or just for fun!
For elementary students, a book should improve their vocabulary and comprehension skills. Will they understand what they're reading? Do they know most of the words?
Will the book interest them? Will they want to read it?
Remember.....the younger the child is, the more connected the book should be to his life!
Being the author of a diverse children's book, I love books that celebrate differences. Here are some gift suggestions of fun books with a deep message,
Dream Big Little One by Vashi Harrison
This is a very positive board book with beautiful illustrations and a clear message. It introduces inspirational black women who have made history.
AGES: Pre-school and up
Mixed: A Colorful Story by Arree Chung
This book is fun. It has bright colors and a straightforward approach to confronting discrimination and celebrating acceptance for differences. It's suitable for 4-5 year olds but older children will enjoy it too.
The Big Buna Bash by Sara Arnold
This little story is sweet and non-threatening. Almaz, an Ethiopian/American first-grader, finds a way to make friends using her cultural traditions. The Big Buna Bash is about the healing that occurs when there is understanding!
Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson
Six kids meet up for a weekly chat and during the bonding process find courage and mutual growth. Jacqueline Woodson is the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People's Literature.
All these books can be found on Amazon www.amazon.com/books
HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND HAPPY READING!!
Here it is...my long-awaited book trailer! I hope you like it as much as I do.. please share with your friends.....
"We all have one basic desire and goal: to belong and to feel significant." Alfred Adler
People often ask what compelled me to write a book about belonging and inclusion.
I wrote 'The Big Buna Bash' because I believe in the acceptance that embraces diversity and lets people be themselves.
I want people who believe in this message to buy and read my book.
As a teacher I've heard many a complaining parent say that they don't want their child in the same class with a certain pupil that has behavior challenges. That's easy to understand, no?
Sometimes it has to do with skin color.
Or physical disabilities.
Author Jennifer Brown writes, "Inclusion means you are welcomed, valued, respected and heard."
The Ethiopian buna ceremony is inclusion at it's best. Every guest is important; no one left out. Buna is an exercise in bringing people together.
And maybe that's why Almaz chose to host a Big Buna Bash!
Do you know how the coffee bean was first discovered?
The legend goes something like this!
In the northern region of Ethiopia there lived a young goat herder named Kaldi, who had very well-behaved goats. He never had to worry about them.
One day some of his goats were behaving strangely. They were prancing around, kicking in the air.....they looked like they were dancing. This was highly unusual!
Curious, Kaldi explored the place where the goats had been grazing and discovered unique red berries growing on a bush with shiny leaves. He had never seen a plant like this before! He tasted the fruit and was SO energized that he danced excitedly alongside his goats.
Just then, a couple of monks passed by on their way to prayers. Kaldi gave them some of the berries. After nibbling on them, the monks found that they also felt a sense of elation. They were able to stay awake all night, praying in ecstasy!
"These beans are useful," the monks thought. "They are sent from heaven," they declared, and immediately began to harvest them.
And the rest is history!