Articles by Meera Sriram

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

A Children’s Book for Raising Global Citizens

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A Children’s Book for Raising Global Citizens
THE BAREFOOT BOOK OF CHILDREN Written by Tessa Strickland and Kate DePalma Illustrated by David Dean Ages: 3-10 years   The world is a big, big place. Wouldn’t it be bland and boring if everything looked the same, everywhere – places, people, jobs, languages, lives. "The Barefoot Book of Children" makes it very clear that our world is a mosaic of multi-colors and multi-dimensions, and that’s what makes it beautiful and fascinating. It also stands true to the publisher’s mission to celebrate diversity and art, and comes out at a time when it’s relevance in today’s societies cannot be overstated.  Read more »

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

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.  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. I never underestimate the effect children’s picture books can have on us adults. They can hugely influence our moods and values, like Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree,” Audrey Penn’s “The Kissing Hand,” or Christian Andersen’s “The Little Match Girl.  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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For quite sometime, whenever there were articles that surfaced the internet concerning whether it was appropriate to breastfeed in public, I was so baffled. As a Mongolian, I was so shocked that som...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
For quite some whenever there was articles circulated on the internet concerning whether it is appropriate to breastfeed in public. As a Mongolian, I was so shocked that some countries considered i...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
I live with my Czech in laws with my four children and my Czech is crap I try to learn but the baby doesn't sleep well I'm a constant zombie and the brain just doesn't work. Plus being tired makes m...
From How I Reclaimed My House from My Mother-in-Law
I am so glad I found this site. I am happy to see that I am not alone in experiencing 'family issues' after getting married. I am not from the West but I am married to a Canadian. I never truly unde...
From How I Reclaimed My House from My Mother-in-Law
[…] my most favourite article about breastfeeding called Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan by Ruth Kamnitzer. I have no doubt that Mongolians would find our social stigmas around [R...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
[…] sources and reasons for the rules of these countries too, such as China, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, and Hungary (see above re “Titanic”).  Has anyone got s...
From International Baby Naming Laws–Are They a Good Thing?
[…] Source Inculture Parents […...
From Lotus Lanterns for Wesak (Buddha Day)
If your nerves shat down your hormones , can you get pregnant by injecting a sperm in you to develop a baby . Please let me know...
From Baby-Making the Hindu Way
[…] Diwali Lantern from InCultureParent […...
From Diwali Craft: Make a Lantern
Another great African American children's book is "Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters" Book by Fredrick McKissack, Jr. and Patricia McKissack A great DVD is Santa and pe...
From 11 African-American Children’s Books for Christmas and Kwanzaa
[…] the father waits to speak Swahili to the child, the more risk he runs of her not ever learning it, which is true. The more he waits, the more risk he runs of her associating English with h...
From Why Your Bilingual Child Objects When You Switch Languages
This is really great! I wanted to do a book list for some of my friends and family about Kwanzaa. Thank you for this articl...
From 11 African-American Children’s Books for Christmas and Kwanzaa
This was interesting. My twin girls are 15 months, and although they are very verbal, we do not understand what they're saying. I'm American and their dad is French, and we live in France. I speak o...
From Si­, Yes: Raising Bilingual Twins
[…] the breastfeeding culture in Mongolia compared to America. Did you have any idea that something as simple as breastfeeding attitudes can […...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
My mother born in the 1930's is originally from the northern part of Germany. I am in my mid fifties and have a terrible relationship with my mother. She is domineering and hurts those where it hurt...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
[…] JC Niala, InCultureParent […...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
[…] http://www.incultureparent.com/2012/03/breastfeeding-around-the-world/#slide1 […...
From Breastfeeding Around the World
Although humanity is one Man (in a generic sense, including woman)has identified himself endless groups, religious, nationalistic, ethnic, cultural, linguistic, etc. Once you separate ME from YOU on...
From What’s an Asian? Race and Identity for a New Generation
[…] http://www.incultureparent.com/2011/02/breastfeeding-land-genghis-khan/ […...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
Some great tips here but not many working mothers could feed baby every hour especially if you work in a major multi-nationa...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
So true!!! Thanks for being so honest and self reflective. It's a proof of true characte...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
As a first-time mom I've spent the last two months of my four-month-old's life stressed out about her sleep and I recognize how crazy this is. It's clearly not working for me! I'm wondering how non-...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
[…]                 http://www.incultureparent.com/2014/07/why-african-toddlers-dont-have-tantrums/ […...
From Why African Toddlers Don’t Have Tantrums
[…] Any content provided on this blog is opinion based with selected information from various sources where indicated. Image: http://www.incultureparent.com/2012/01/imbolc-craft-st-brigids-cro...
From Imbolc Craft: St. Brigid’s Cross
Or you could have had a beautiful white baby with a man from your own culture. Not enough drama in tha...
From How I Reclaimed My House from My Mother-in-Law
Crystal, thanks for sharing your experiences. It makes for a fascinating read! The link to the Siddha school you provided seems to be no longer working. Is the school still ther...
From How I Moved to Thailand with my Family on Less than $1000
[…] but which colour to choose? Biome has 25% off storewide till midnight tonight with the code BIOME25 why African babies don’t cry – an absolutely brilliant […...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
[…] http://www.incultureparent.com/2014/06/6-childrens-books-to-celebrate-juneteenth/ […...
From 6 Children’s Books to Celebrate Juneteenth
I love this website and its insight on raising global citizens. I agree with what you say about no one English accent being correct - the thing that I was surprised by in this article was the fact ...
From Should I Worry about My Child’s Accent in Her Foreign Language?
Why are Germans thinking about being rude? Do You All want to be Just A Coarse-Face? If all of you deviate from Universalism, there is much more to fear from the world than you expec...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
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From 3 Beautiful Children’s Books That Take Place in the Himalayas
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From How I Talk to My Kindergarten Classroom About Race
[…] don’t Need a Room. The baby room is certainly a modern invention. For much of history, and in other parts of the world today, babies […...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
Addressing the "grown up time" someone mentioned earlier...am sure that many people address this differently with what works for their family. However, suffice it to say that when the baby's in your...
From The African Guide to Co-sleeping
[…] were taught to whistle – but other people use other sounds. Most people seem to shush or to hiss. It doesn’t really matter. You could probably sing “La Cucaracha” and it would stil...
From Thanks to Chinese Potty-Training We’re Done With Diapers at 19 Months
Thanks for the article! I tried to put my newborn twins into a bassinet at birth, but there was just no way! No way to breastfeed and no way to survive the nights with two of them waking me up all...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
Olga, witam!:) what a fresh approach this has given me on such a day like today! I'm Half polish being polish from my mothers side and as this is the language that I ident myself with, I decided to ...
From 10 Things Not to Say to Parents of Multilingual Children
[…] the talk at school. You can see an example of bilingual twins’ language use in this article from InCultureParent and this Q&A on Twins List. Also, as you say, convincing them to spea...
From Si­, Yes: Raising Bilingual Twins
Thank you SOO much for sharing!!!! I have breastfed my twins for 3 years now and still going. It has been a struggle, especially with family members like my mother in law who wished I weaned at 2 m...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
[…] The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep […...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep