Posts tagged ‘culture’


Four Ways to Celebrate Chinese New Year with Kids | Barefoot Books

Welcome to the Year of the Monkey! According to lunar astrological calendar, every year in a twelve-year cycle is ruled by a different animal—and as of Lunar New Year on Monday, February 8, 2016, the monkey is in charge! The monkey’s place in the Lunar Zodiac was established in the mists of time, when the Jade Emperor decided that a different animal should rule each year and, to determine the order of the animals, challenged them all to an epic race. The monkey finished ninth, earning it the ninth place in the Lunar Zodiac. If you were born in 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992 or 2004, this is your year. You’re known for being happy, confident and enthusiastic, no matter what place you finish in any race!

Cherished in China, Korea and beyond, Lunar New Year is a great way to introduce the children in your life to another culture’s traditions. Here are a few kid-approved ideas for celebrating Lunar New Year:

Ways to Celebrate Chinese New Year with Kids | Barefoot Books

From The Great Race

Have a Lavish New Year’s Eve Dinner

Traditionally, the festival opens with a lavish New Year’s Eve dinner held in honor of deceased ancestors. This meal is a time for all living family members to come together with the deceased, creating a united community to celebrate past and present generations.

In the past, family members filled bamboo stems with gunpowder and burned them to drive evil spirits away; today, people use firecrackers instead. Each is rolled in red paper, as the color red is considered lucky.


Send Letters to Loved Ones in Red Envelopes

The use of red extends to red envelopes or red packets that are traditionally passed out during the celebrations. The packets almost always contain money­— sometimes chocolate coins— and the amount is always given in even numbers. The number eight, for instance, is considered lucky, as is the number six, because in Mandarin it sounds like the word for “smooth,” promising a smooth year.

Ways to Celebrate Chinese New Year with Kids | Barefoot Books

From Lin Yi's Lantern

Make a Paper Lantern

The fifteenth and final day of the celebration is commemorated with the Yuan Xiao Jie, or the “Festival of Lanterns.” Gathering under a full moon, adults and children light up the sky with their lantern displays and a lantern-carrying parade. Like the children in the photo above, learn how to make a paper lantern in the informational notes in Lin Yi’s Lantern, a gorgeously-illustrated Barefoot tale from China!

Share a Story to Learn More About the Culture!

Research shows that children (and grown-ups!) often draw incorrect conclusions about other cultures. In order to help children challenge stereotypes and develop global literacy, it’s important for adults to educate themselves and correct their own misconceptions. It’s easy to get started: just share stories from other cultures with the children in your life. It’s a great way to prompt conversations about diversity!

Keen to explore East Asian cultures? You’ll experience the excitement of a rural market in Lin Yi’s Lantern (ages 5-9), discover the warmth and wisdom of Buddhist thought in The Barefoot Book of Buddhist Tales (ages 6+) and meet “The Beggar Princess” in The Barefoot Book of Princes Stories (ages 4-9).

And, of course, be sure to watch the Jade Emperor’s epic race unfold—and find out why there is no Year of the Cat—in The Great Race: The Story of the Chinese Zodiac (ages 4-9). Find additional tales from China and beyond here!

Ways to Celebrate Chinese New Year with Kids | Barefoot Books

Want more ideas?

For more information on the traditions and customs of Lunar New Year, and for recipes and crafts you can make with the children in your life, check out our Pinterest board!

Want to find out which animal you are? Download a Lunar Calendar from The Great Race to use in your classroom, for fun at home or as a festive desktop wallpaper!

Do you have any Lunar New Year traditions? What is your Lunar zodiac animal? Share your stories in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter!

 


Types of Literacy and Why You Should Care | Emotional and Cultural Literacy | Barefoot BooksWhen you hear the word “literacy” what comes to mind?

Most likely, books and the ability to read and write. This type of “book” literacy is hugely important, as we know, but as much as we want our children to be book literate and academically successful, we are also concerned about our children’s character development. What kind of people will they grow up to be? We want them to be caring and socially conscious citizens of the world: self-confident, curious and compassionate.

This is where two additional types of literacy come in: emotional literacy and cultural literacy. We’ve pulled together a list of books that will help you cultivate cultural literacy and a list of books that foster emotional literacy. Many of the books on these lists support both.

And, of course, reading these books with your kids will support “book” literacy as well!

Cultural Literacy and Books to Help

Research shows that children often draw incorrect conclusions about other cultures, and that it’s important for adults to gently correct such misconceptions and challenge stereotypes through open conversation. Sharing diverse stories like these from around the world is a great way to start a conversation about diversity.

My Granny Went to Market (ages 3-7)
This rhyming story will take young readers on an adventure to different countries while teaching them to count along the way.

Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush (ages 3-7)
Follow four children from different countries, each going through their early morning routine and getting ready for school. See the different ways of life in Europe, Africa, India and China.

Off We Go To Mexico | Barefoot BooksOff We Go to Mexico (ages 4-10)
Trek to native villages and sing and dance to the music of Mariachi bands. Along the way, you can learn Spanish words and phrases and discover Mexican culture. (Also available in Spanish!)

We’re Sailing Down the Nile (ages 4-10)
Set sail along the mighty Nile River. The rhyming story is followed by eleven pages full of educational information about ancient Egypt, gods and goddesses, a helpful map, and much more.

We All Went on Safari (ages 4-10)
Set out on a counting journey through the grasslands of Tanzania. The lively, rhyming text is accompanied by an illustrated guide to counting in Swahili, a map, notes about animals, and interesting facts about Tanzania and the Maasai people. (Spanish and French formats available!)

The Barefoot Book of Jewish Tales (ages 7+)
This engaging collection includes eight delightful tales from the Jewish tradition. Each story has been chosen for its appeal to families and each has a simple — yet powerful — message.

The Barefoot Book of Buddhist Tales (ages 6+)
Explore numerous tales from the folk traditions of countries including India, China, Japan and Tibet. This is a collection of enthralling stories illustrates various important aspects of Buddhist thought.

The Great Race (ages 4-9)
Race with the animals of the Zodiac as they compete to have the years of the Chinese calendar named after them. The excitement-filled story is followed by notes on the Chinese calendar, important Chinese holidays, and a chart outlining the animal signs based on birth years.

Lin Yi's Lantern | Barefoot BooksLin Yi’s Lantern (ages 5-9)
This heartwarming story shows the rewards of putting others first, and includes educational notes at the end about the Chinese moon festival, life in rural China, and the legend of the moon fairy.

Mama Panya’s Pancakes (ages 4-10)
On market day, Mama Panya’s son Adika invites everyone he sees to a pancake dinner. How will Mama Panya ever feed them all? This clever and heartwarming story about Kenyan village life teaches the importance of sharing, even when you have little to give.

Barefoot Books World Atlas (all ages)
This is the atlas for twenty-first-century readers. It’s packed with information about the way in which communities and cultures around the world have been shaped by their local environments, and it looks at the ideas and initiatives that are shaping the future.

The Barefoot World Atlas app for iPad is also available.

Learn more about our World Cultures books and take the kids in your life on an imaginary journey around the world!

Emotional Literacy and Books to Help

Through books and thoughtful discussions, we can help children feel confident in their unique identities, identify and express their feelings, and develop empathy towards others. Like reading, math or science, emotional literacy can be taught, but it’s not a quick and easy process. This area needs to be addressed regularly, like any other academic area we care about.

Ruby’s Baby Brother (ages 3-7)
Ruby’s mom is having a baby, but Ruby is not very happy about it. When baby
Leon comes along, will she change her mind about having a baby brother? (Available in Spanish!)

Ruby's Sleepover | Barefoot BooksRuby’s Sleepover (ages 3-7)
Ruby and Mai are camping out in the backyard. As the night draws in, all sorts of scary characters head towards their tent. Luckily, Ruby has some magical objects in her backpack, but will they be enough to keep the girls safe and fight their fears?

Emily’s Tiger (ages 3-7)
This little girl has a problem with her temper, and every time she gets angry she turns into quite the little tiger. This quirky picture book addresses behavioral issues with humor and an emphasis on intergenerational relationships.

Herb the Vegetarian Dragon (ages 4-10)
Herb is captured by the castle’s knights in armor. Treacherous Meathook and his dragon cronies will only help if Herb, a vegetarian, agrees to eat meat. Will he give in to their blackmail and bullying?

The Boy Who Grew Flowers (ages 4-10)
Climb to the top of Lonesome Mountain to meet a very special boy named Rink — every full moon, he grows flowers all over his body. This heartwarming story celebrates difference and friendship, as Rink meets a girl with her own secret, and they discover ways to help each other.

Chandra’s Magic Light (ages 6-10)
A heartwarming story set in Nepal of two resourceful sisters who bring the safety of solar-powered light to their family. This story provides an introduction to Nepali village culture, environmental science and feminism.

The Girl with the Brave Heart | Barefoot BooksThe Girl with a Brave Heart (ages 4-10)
Shiraz, a kindhearted young girl growing up in Tehran, has a miserable life at home with her stepmother and stepsister, who treat her like a servant. When the wind blows Shiraz’s ball of wool into the garden next door, she spends the day helping and caring for the old lady who lives there, with miraculous results.

Lola’s Fandango (ages 4-10)
Lola is a young Spanish girl in awe of her glamorous older sister. However, she discovers her own talent and duende, or spirit, through secret fandango lessons from her father. The text is infused with the rhythms, movements and sounds of the dance.

Learn more about our books that boost Social Emotional Learning.

 

Ready to read around the world? Join our Summer Reading Club!


Today is the first annual Multicultural Children’s Book Day, designed to shine a light on great books for children that feature stories from around the world.
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Ah . . . there are few things that bring back memories more strongly than smell.  Here are some of my favorites, from the festival of Hanukkah, the Jewish holiday that starts tonight and celebrates the miracle of oil lasting long enough to rebuild the Temple during the 2nd century BCE:


Photo courtesy of Bankstreet Bookstore

In a tiny village, in a valley, high in the mountains of Tibet, a little boy was born. He loved to fly kites. On clear nights he liked to look up at the Milky Way and the stars. “There are other worlds up there,” he said to himself. “Someday I’m going to visit them…” So begins the story of The Mountains of Tibet, one of the first books published by Barefoot Books back in 1993.


At Barefoot Books we believe that small is beautiful. From small, home-based beginnings twenty years ago, we have grown into an international, award-winning independent children’s book publisher. We are committed to cultural and economic diversity; and this is reflected in both our publishing program and in our business model. With this philosophy at the heart of our company, we have decided to end our relationship with Amazon.


In The Girl with a Brave Heart, Shiraz befriends an old woman by helping to tidy her house, clean up her garden and comb her hair. The story takes place in Tehran, the capital of Iran, formerly known as Persia. Colourful, intricately painted tiles decorated the floors and walls of houses, palaces and houses of worship in this part of the world. In this activity, you will create your own mosaic tile inspired by The Girl with a Brave Heart and traditional Persian tiles.


Photo from http://letsgorideabike.com/blog/2010/03/first-bud-of-spring/

The Iranian origins of our first new book for 2013, The Girl with a Brave Heart, have set the Barefoot Books offices abuzz about all things Iranian. This is a special time of year for the Iranian peoples. Nowruz, the Persian New Year, will fall on 20 March 2013. This date marks the first day of spring and the first day of the Iranian calendar. The holiday has been celebrated for over three thousand years, and is now observed in many countries all over the world.


A penniless man passes a street vendor. All he has to eat is a crust of bread he has picked up from the street. From the vendor’s cooking pots wafts a delicious aroma. The man stops to soften his bread in the steam, only to find the vendor’s hand on his shoulder. As far as the vendor is concerned, the poor man should be paying to let the steam add flavour his bread.


Neil Griffiths is known around the world for his exceptional storytelling skills. A former headteacher and the founder of Storysacks, he is in constant demand as a presenter. Here, he shares some of the ways in which he turns children into happy, hungry-for-more readers. We hope his tips inspire you to pick up your child, race to the nearest bookshelf, choose a book, find a quiet corner, and sit down to read together.