Articles by Meera Sriram

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

A Diverse Book for Preschoolers in Celebration of Multicultural Children’s Book Day

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CELEBRATING MULTICULTURAL CHILDREN’S BOOK DAY 2016     The mission of this important campaign is 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. The mission is not only to raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these of books into classrooms and libraries.  Read more »

2 Children’s Books about Jamaica

Justice Pon di Road by Aliona Gibson and illustrated by Andy Chou   “Pon di road” is “on the road” in Jamaican.  Read more »

The Sofia Martinez Series: Chapter Books for Early Readers

Today is Multicultural Children's Book Day and what better way to celebrate than with a wonderful series, “Sofia Martinez" from Picture Window Books (a Capstone Imprint), written by Jacqueline Jules and illustrated by Kim Smith.  Read more »

10 Multicultural Children’s Books that Make Adults Cry

Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, The Places You'll Go!!” still gives me the goose bumps every time I read it aloud to my kids.  Read more »

A Book that Celebrates Cross-Cultural Friendship

“My Friend Mei Jing” is a celebration of a beautiful cross-cultural friendship. Mei Jing and Monifa are second graders and best friends. They bond over their common fondness for pets and arts and crafts. They visit each other’s homes often and discover how similar yet different their families’ cultural practices and customs are.     Narrated in the voice of Monifa, whose family is originally from Nigeria, we see how the girls embrace and delight in their differences.  Read more »

Eco-Friendly Children’s Books for Earth Day

On their website the first thing I see is “Always eco-friendly. Always sustainable.” I linger on, intrigued and excited. A few days later we read their books. Soon, I settle on a book set from “Home Grown Books” to review and celebrate Earth Day this year!   “The Environmental Set” is a small boxed collection of seven square books—small enough for little hands to hold and manipulate, and colorful enough to attract.  Read more »

A Year of Multicultural Picture Books for the Global Child

If you have not been including multicultural books in your reading diet, this is a great beginner’s guide that will last you for the year. The books cover many important and diverse themes like tradition, travel, history, holiday, migration, art and culture. This is a fantastic potpourri of books for children aged three through 12 growing up to be global citizens of tomorrow!   Disclaimer: The following books in this article were sent to us as review copies but the decision to review them was all ours: Baba Didi and the Godwits Fly, A is for Activist, Tari—The Little Balinese Dancer, Irena's Jars of Secrets 14 0 2 1.  Read more »

Multicultural Children’s Book: One City, Two Brothers

As a passionate proponent of reading diverse books in raising children to be global citizens, InCultureParent is thrilled to be participating in the first ever Multicultural Children’s Book Day: Celebrating Diversity in Children's Literature. The Multicultural Books section of our website is dedicated to regularly exposing families to an assortment of reading choices for children from diverse backgrounds, age groups, race and gender.  Read more »

Multicultural Children’s Book Day: January 27

January 27 is the first ever Multicultural Children’s Book Day: Celebrating diversity in children’s literature. The event is sponsored by Wisdom Tales Press, Lee & Low Books, Chronicle Books and Susan Daniel Fayad, author of My Grandfather's Masbaha.     Why celebrate multicultural children’s books?   Despite census data that shows 37% of the U.  Read more »

5 Multicultural Picture Books For Younger Children

It is important and enormously enriching for children to read books that encompass diverse cultures, places and languages from the wider world outside of them. And it is never too early to start this habit. But sometimes finding these types of books for very young children can be challenging. Reading early literacy books and other simple stories that are also culturally flavorful is the best approach.  Read more »

The Challenge of Making Holidays Special Far from Home: Navaratri in the U.S.

Golu is an element of Navaratri unique to certain communities in South India, although the festival of Nava-ratri (nine-nights) is celebrated with great grandeur in many parts. During Navaratri, Hindus evoke the blessings of the Goddesses of health, wealth and prosperity, and the celebration culminates in Dusshera (the tenth day) that is auspicious for new beginnings.  Read more »

9 Children’s Books for Hispanic Heritage Month

It's time for a fiesta! Head to your local library or over to your favorite bookstore to explore some children's books celebrating Latino culture and heritage. Here are our book recommendations for ages infant through eight+ for Hispanic Heritage month.   Age: 0+   Fiesta Babies by Carmen Tafolla and Illustrated by Amy C’ordova In this fun and colorful book for babies and toddlers, children are out on the town—parading, dancing and singing with a mariachi band.  Read more »

A Multicultural Children’s Book Set in India: Bye, Bye, Motabhai!

Bye, Bye, Motabhai! By Kala Sambasivan Ages: 5-8 years   His name is a mouthful, particularly for a camel. But Pavan, meaning wind, is his truncated name.  It suits him well because he can run fast.  So fast, that he aspires to be a racing camel someday, probably in faraway Dubai. But his immediate ambition though is to run away from his demanding owner, Motabhai, a vegetable vendor who burdens him beyond his mettle every day.  Read more »

Travel to Mexico City with 5 Children’s Books

We were intrigued when our three-year-old son's favorite country was Mexico (and that was two years ago!). Then jalapeno became his favorite word for a while. And recently we noticed his more concrete desire to learn and speak the Spanish language. We realized that he is fascinated by Mexico—the culture, the country and the language—so "traveling" to Mexico with this set of books made both of us very happy!   Off We Go to Mexico by Laurie Krebs   There is something about the colors, the warmth and how they combine and contrast.  Read more »

Travel to Beijing with 5 Children’s Books

So far in our summer travel series, we have journeyed to Paris then Mumbai and now Beijing. Here are five books to introduce your little one to China whether to prep for an upcoming trip or explore the world from your own home.   Daisy Comes Home by Jan Brett This heart-warming tale was concocted during the author’s trip to China as she sailed down the Li River in the Guang Xi Province dotted with busy markets in small villages alongside lofty mountains.  Read more »

Travel to Mumbai, India with 5 Children’s Books

Intrigued when you hear India? Excited about a trip ahead? Find out about the colors, chaos and everything else that’s India through these books that are as whimsical and exotic as the country itself.     Excuse Me, Is This India? by Anita Leutiwiler and Anushka Ravishankar A mouse peeping out of an auto-rickshaw is the image on the cover.  Read more »

Travel to Paris with 5 Children’s Books

If you’ve already exhausted the Babars, Fancy Nancys and Madelines, here are a few more to take your kids to Paris whether you have your tickets booked or not. Even without any travel plans, books are one of the best ways to travel to new cities without spending a cent.     Everybody Bonjours! by Leslie Kimmelman         What’s not to love about a girl going around the city seeing everyone greet each other? And isn’t the title charming enough to get young children excited about Paris? The illustrations cover all important landmarks and simple text points to different places and people who Bonjour.  Read more »

Best Asian-American Children’s Books

May is Asian-Pacific American heritage month. It is the perfect time to showcase some of the truly amazing authors in Asian-American children’s literature, who have consistently produced works that bridge cultures.   The reading list includes authors and books that highlight Asian heritage through great stories. This kind of literary exposure can be very enriching as it helps children develop a deeper understanding of cultures and hence an appreciation for the diverse communities in which we live.  Read more »

5 Fun Ways to Celebrate Earth Day with Your Kids

April 22 every year is observed as Earth Day in many countries to inspire awareness and activism towards protecting our fast depleting planet. On a more personal level, you might choose to celebrate because: you’ve never heard about going green or how to go green you’ve always wanted to be green, but haven’t started yet you need a reminder to keep up the green living you always make green choices but your little one has never stopped to question why you are so happy you live green and want to pat yourself on the back   And how do I celebrate?   Here are five fun ways to fuss over our planet today.  Read more »

Five Great Children’s Books for Easter

THE EASTER EGG FARM written and illustrated by Mary Jane Auch   Both charming and funny, this is our most favorite book this spring. Pauline is “different” because she is the only hen that never lays an egg for Mrs.Pennywort, probably because she isn’t concentrating enough. But when she finally does, concentrating hard on random things, she begins to lay the most “interesting” eggs.  Read more »

A Children’s Book for Holi

If Diwali is the festival of lights, then Holi is the festival of colors! March 27, 2013 was Holi, a holiday celebrated in India, more gloriously in the western and northern parts, and by Hindus all over the globe.  I love Holi because it captures the essence of India to me – color and chaos. And I probably tend to appreciate it that way more so because I often miss the action that’s unique to living there.  Read more »

Happy Birthday Ezra Jack Keats!

“Then began an experience that turned my life around — working on a book with a black kid as hero. None of the manuscripts I'd been illustrating featured any black kids — except for token blacks in the background. My book would have him there simply because he should have been there all along.” ~ Erza Jack Keats.     We love him just for that, for his creation of Peter, the black protagonist.  Read more »

A Multicultural Book for Mixed Race Kids

Review of I am Flippish By Leslie V. Ryan; illustrated by Adolph Soliz   “Why don’t I look like you?” is a question every parent, especially mixed families, must have encountered (or will encounter) at some point in time. “I am Flippish,” a story set in a very practical context, addresses this for all of us.   The author, Leslie Ryan, sent me a copy of this book.  Read more »

Favorite Multicultural Children’s Books of 2012 – Old and New

Another year passes by. Weekly trips to the library, gifts and several visits to our local used bookstores...books flowed in from everywhere. Huddling up for a read-aloud still seems to be the most favorite thing to do in our family. I sometimes think I should keep track of every book we read together. But that would almost be impossible.  I usually end up reviewing the ones that make an immediate impact or the ones we keep going back to.  Read more »

7 Perfect Children’s Books for Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage month.  In our family, our eight-year-old daughter has developed a deep fascination for the culture, primarily through books.  Besides the several stories of Squanto and Sacagawea we’ve read together, the books based on “Kaya” of the American Girl series helped sustain her adoration. She is currently reading Scott O’Dell’s “Sing Down the Moon” and I am curious to hear what she thinks of it.  Read more »

Raising Globally-Minded Children—What? How? And Why?

One day, while driving around in our car, my four-year-old son complained from behind, “Ma, I wish all of us were not Indians. It is boring. You or Appa could have been Mexican or Italian.” I smiled at his wish for our family to be biracial. I was also proud because the global mindset that we have tried to infuse in our children early on, was presenting itself in little ways—like how he thought a third language or a piñata could spice up our lives.  Read more »

Children’s Books that Travel to Africa

  A passport to the second-largest and second-most-populous continent, these picture books will transport children to the landscapes and lifestyles of Africa through enjoyable stories and delightful art.     Catch That Goat! By Polly Alakija Ages: 3+   Catch That Goat! takes us to a vibrant street market in Nigeria where little Ayoka is fretting about the family goat that has just absconded from her care  Read more »

5 Board Games from Around the World

Growing up in India, we played a lot of board games in our family. The tradition is now carried over and my kids are very excited on game nights. Lately, I’ve been curious about the origin and cultural orientation of board games. And how, with the fundamentals intact, the games have evolved over time and crossed borders and cultures. Here is a list of games and related facts that truly fascinate me.  Read more »

7 Favorite Children’s Books on Going to School Around the World

Every summer my kids and I spend at least six weeks in Chennai, a metropolis in Southern India where I was born and raised.  Even though the chaos and noise of a hot, crowded city has grown on them over the years, there are certain things that continue to fascinate them. For instance, I’ve noticed how they stand on the verandah and catch the action on the street with undivided attention every morning.  Read more »

Ten Reasons Parents Should Read Multicultural Books to Kids

I was in the children’s section of a big, chain bookstore last week. I ambled around browsing picture book covers and flipping through the ones that were colorful or artistic. At first, I didn’t notice anything strange—there were many books on vehicles and animals; there were the seasonal ones (spring and summer themed books) and the timeless classics like “Goodnight Moon” and “Where the Wild Things Are.  Read more »

A Multicultural Children’s Book Where Less is More

“The Chalk Doll” by Charlotte Pomerantz and pictures by Frané Lessac Ages: 4+ Don’t we all love talking to our kids about our past, beginning a story with “When I was your age, there was no…” or “In those days, we did not…?”  Often, reminiscing is very gratifying. Sometimes I even win the sympathy and admiration of my kids, considering our starkly contrasting childhoods.  Read more »

An Adoption Story for Kids: Goyangi Means Cat

Goyangi Means Cat By Christine McDonnell; Illustrated by Steve Johnson & Lou Fancher Ages: 4+ It is Soo Min’s first week in America. She is trying to adjust to a new country, a different culture and a new set of parents.  Soo Min only speaks Korean; English is still foreign to her.  She survives the first few days with the limited Korean her Omah (Mom) and Apah (Dad) know.  Read more »

A Swahili Alphabet Book

Jambo Means Hello: Swahili Alphabet Book By Muriel Feelings (author) and Tom Feelings (illustrator) Ages: 3 and Up With no Q and X sounds, there are only 24 letters in the Swahili alphabet (unlike the English language). And 45 million people speak it. These facts in the author’s introductory note get my kids excited almost immediately. However, I keep returning to the image of the African girl on the front cover with a big smile and wide open arms towards the sky.  Read more »

Best Asian-American Children’s Books

May is Asian-Pacific American heritage month. It is the perfect time to showcase some of the truly amazing authors in Asian-American children’s literature, who have consistently produced works that bridge cultures.   The reading list includes authors and books that highlight Asian heritage through great stories.  This kind of literary exposure can be very enriching as it helps children develop a deeper understanding of cultures and hence an appreciation for the diverse communities in which we live.  Read more »

Multicultural Book Review: I Have an Olive Tree

By Eve Bunting; Illustrated by Karen Barbour Ages:  4+   Sophia’s grandfather “gifts” her with an olive tree on her seventh birthday. But the tree is on a small island in Greece where Sophia’s mother was born.  A year later, her dying grandfather also entrusts her with her grandmother’s beads, urging her to hang them on her olive tree.  Read more »

A Multicultural Easter Story: Chicken Sunday

“Chicken Sunday” by Patricia Polacco Ages: 4+ Author-artist, Patricia Polacco’s books are among the best loved ones in our home. We read and re-read her stories with unabated interest.  “Chicken Sunday” is our most recent favorite. And pysanky (Ukrainian Easter eggs), featured in the story and showcased beautifully in Polacco’s artwork, make it a great read for Easter.  Read more »

A Multicultural Feast: 7 Fun Children’s Books on Food

Foods embody cultures. And food-themed books are a great way to sample and savor cultures.  Here are seven wonderful picks from around the world that we’ve enjoyed in our family.     PINO AND THE SIGNORA’S PASTA by Janet Pedersen Ages: 4-8 Set in the bustling streets of Rome, the story starts off with a feline bunch waiting to lap up some pasta that Signora lovingly serves every day  Read more »

Arranged Marriage 101

I’ve realized the term “love marriage” is absent in the West. In India and a few other countries in South Asia, it would denote one of the two possible ways leading to a union, the other being arranged marriage. Love is probably the last thing on the checklist when two people are arranged to live together for the rest of their lives. Strange but true.  Read more »

Invisible Interpreter: The Grandmother – Child Language Divide

Paati (grandma) joined us this past summer from India. It was her first visit to our home in the U.S since the kids. Paati can understand, read and write elementary English, while our six-something-year-old daughter can handle only minimal Tamil (the regional Indian language we speak). With no clairvoyance, my husband and I concluded that the lack of a medium of communication was going to deter and procrastinate the bonding between Paati and our children.  Read more »

Bringing Diwali to Life for Children

Diwali: A Festival of Lights and Fun (Diwali: Kushiyon Ka Tyohaar) By Manisha Kumar & Monica Kumar (Authors), Sona & Jacob (Illustrators) Reviewed by Meera Sriram   (Reprinted with permission from Saffrontree.org)   This bilingual book on Diwali is from Meera Masi, a Bay Area based cross-cultural publishing house with a mission to pass on the heritage of India to immigrant children, through books and other products on Indian languages and culture.  Read more »
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Hi Kim! I am so glad that this article was useful for you and made you feel validated as a parent. It's not often in this judgmental world of parenting we get that, right?! That's the main reason...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
I love reading your work. I can olny imagine what it would be like to have such beautiful customs and true community. I understand why it is so very very important to keep these traditions alive. Be...
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Your mother in-law seems somewhat reasonable. Many Chinese Mother In-laws are not. In their scenario, they would be number 1 to the child and you would be number two. Many want to have a bond closer...
From How My Chinese Mother-in-Law Replaced my Husband
I think Konstantina is actually responding to what is probably more familiar/praised/or preferred socially as well. I was an English teacher in Poland with a distinct accent. I struggled to get Engl...
From Should I Worry about My Child’s Accent in Her Foreign Language?
Noor Kids' title "First Time Fasting" is another great rea...
From 6 Favorite Children’s Books about Ramadan
This article was shared in a community I run to connect globetrotting parents and everyone LOVED it. You should join us! We all relate to your experience. Many of us, including me, are in the same b...
From Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get
Please help: I Love my wife and my son. I am also EXTREMELY involved as a dad. I had to move to china ( in a tiny tiny town) where I am the only foreigner so that my wife can take over the family bu...
From How My Chinese Mother-in-Law Replaced my Husband
Thanks for writing this!! My baby is 7 months, and I love having her sleep in my room. I don't mention it too often to people who have had kids because they seem a little judgy on it. So tonight I...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
Honestly, it looks like the author married into a very backward and old fashioned family. Not stimulating children's curiosity, differences between boys and girls, and women slaving in the house, wh...
From French versus Italian Parenting in One Multicultural Family
[…] B. Breasts are for Babies? Perceptions of Breastfeeding in Italy. In Culture Parent June […...
From Breasts are for Babies? Perceptions of Breastfeeding in Italy
[…] that “beatings” are not actually spankings. There may be some truth to this because African tribal culture does not support “spanking”. This is confirmed by my own observation in S...
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[…] Pomlazka, a special handmade whipping stick, is an Easter tradition in the Czech Republic. Made out of pussywillow tigs, pomlazka is braided and then used by the village boys/men to “...
From What’s Easter without a Whipping?
Hi Hajar! I have 3 (almost 4, 10 weeks to go), we sleep on a king mattress with a single beside it, generally I sleep with the 3 on the King and my husband is on the single! (Babies are 6,4 and 1). ...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
Dear Arabic Dad, I disagree with Dr. Gupta's advice to drop Arabic if your children reject it. If you show your children that you are willing to speak English with them, they will not make the effor...
From How to raise trilingual kids when exposure to Dad’s language is limited
How to teach our children, daughters in particular, how to live not as a victim in a world where they are victims? Sigh.... we so much want them to live in the santa clause and tooth faery and ideal...
From What I Can Do as a White Mom After Darren Wilson’s Acquittal
What a wonderful review! If you're interested, we'd love for you to link up this post (or any other that features diverse kid lit) with the Diverse Children's Books Link-up! You can find it at ...
From 2 Children’s Books about Jamaica
This is exactly what I wanted to teach my students. They are learning about traditional games from around the world and I found this wonderful website to get full of useful information! It helped me...
From Five Fun Games from Around the World
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From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
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This is a great collection of ideas for Chinese culture projects from some of my favorite bloggers! Thank...
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I do call it latvian flashmob: just "break the door" and Come with my family to celebrate somebodys nameday. You Will never know how many guests Will be there....
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Hi Mira, Love your list. I would add the following titles: - Grandfather Gandhi, by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus - The Last Kappa of Old Japan, by Sunny Seiki - Fly Free, by Roseanne Thong -...
From Best Asian-American Children’s Books
I stumbled across this blog today while looking for resources for my, hopefully, multilingual baby. It was exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you so much for capturing what I am currently feelin...
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Thanks for this lovely post! I agree completely -- all our kids need to see themselves reflected in literature so that they know that their stories matter too. I'd love it if you checked out my bo...
From Why We Need to Read Multicultural Children’s Books
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[…] Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan | InCulture Parent […...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
Thank you for your post! I am also working through raising my child with a sense of religious community and ritual without strictly adhering to certain interpretations of religious faith. (And also ...
From Does Religion Matter? Juggling Two Faiths in One Family
I don't understand. I always thought that discipline was a major part of far East culture. (no racism intended of course). So I'm a little confused. Were the examples mentioned in the article consid...
From Cross-Cultural Differences in Discipline in Japan