January 27th is Multicultural Children’s Book Day.
This amazing celebration and encouragement of multicultural books for kids was created by Mia Wenjen of PragmaticMom and Valarie Budayr of Jump into a Book. These ladies saw a definite need for books that celebrate the diversity that makes up the U.S. population, and they’re on a mission to get that need filled. I’m down with that, so I’m jumping on board this year to review 3 books for you by Carol P. Roman from her If You Were Me and Lived in… series.
Illustrated with lovely pastels, If You Were Me and Lived in Ancient China covers a vast amount of information about the Han Dynasty, known as the Golden Age of China. This book would make an amazing addition to any China study.
Within its pages, your littles will learn about ancient Chinese cities, the Silk Road, socio-economic classes, what houses looked like, the types of food eaten during the Han Dynasty, the three major religions practiced and… yeah, much more. Though it reads like a storybook, and in the voice of one child speaking to another, you will be amazed by the amount of information contained in its pages. It includes the legend of how silk was first created and the process of making silk as well as the invention of paper.
Seriously, you almost don’t need anything else for an early introduction to China and it would be an invaluable addition to later studies, giving your older children plenty of research ideas. And because it is so packed full of facts there are tons of activities you can do with this book. Here are a few.
Geography & History
If you want to dig deeper into China’s history or geography, my China Unit Study is an in-depth, low-cost alternative. If you just want a little help urging your little to think about how different it would be to live in ancient China, I have a free printable that has a chart and a Venn diagram that are perfect for use with Roman’s book. (I’m thinking pages 7 & 8, which have illustrations of a modern and an ancient China city.)
Make Recycled Paper!
Because making silk is too hard, that’s why.
If you’re even just a little bit intimidated by this project, don’t be. I swear, it is super easy peasy. Just follow the directions, one step at a time. You’ll be surprised by how easy it is. And your kids will be so thrilled that they made their own paper! Mine certainly were.
What you need:
- Old newspaper or other paper
- An aluminum pan or casserole dish with deep sides
- A piece of screen slightly bigger than your pan
- A medium-sized bowl
- A food processor or mortar and pestle
- A towel
- An iron
What you do:
- Tear the paper into small enough pieces to fit in the bowl
- Cover the paper with water and let soak 30-45 minutes
- (If you want to color it for construction paper, add liquid food coloring while it soaks)
- Once the paper has soaked, it needs to be pulped. You can do this in a food processor or with a mortar and pestle.
- In a food processor Place the paper into the processor until it’s about half full. Fill the rest of the way with water. Run the processor on a low speed until the water and paper have begun to mix, then increase speed until the mixture is smooth and well-blended, about 40 seconds.
- With mortar and pestle Work a handful at a time until the pulp is the consistency of watery oatmeal
- Place the screen in the bottom of the pan
- Fill the pan halfway with water
- Add enough pulp to the pan to cover the screen and stir–the more pulp, the thicker the paper
- Remove any large clumps of paper with a spoon or tongs
- Lay the towel out beside the pan
- Plug in iron and turn on low setting
- Lift the screen from the pan slowly and let it drip drain over the pan
- Carefully lay screen across half of towel then fold other half atop the screen
- Iron paper through towel carefully–steam will rise from the heat hitting the water
- At this point, when we opened the towel we were able to carefully peel our paper from the screen
- If yours doesn’t peel away easily, try ironing it again
- Lay the paper out to dry completely on a flat surface
- Make more pieces if you want to
Told ya it was easy!
Chinese New Year is explained in this wonderful book, so there are a couple of crafts you can do that will fit nicely. The first is an easy paper lantern so your littles can safely light up their Chinese New Year celebration.
Next, what is more Chinese New Year than dragons?! Make an easy Rainbow Dragon out of half an egg carton. Then have a parade through the kitchen. Because that stuff is Fun.
If neither of these appeal, check out how to make a Salt Dough Great Wall of China.
Chinese New Year Paper Lantern
What you need:
- 8 1/2 x 11 paper (I cut down some pretty scrapbooking paper with my handy dandy paper cutter)
- Double-sided tape (or you could use a stapler, but the tape gives a cleaner finish)
- Flameless tealight candle
What you do:
- Easy peasy. If you’re paper is not already 8 1/2 x 11, cut it down. Either way, you need to cut a 1-inch strip from it first thing (it doesn’t matter from which side) for the handle.
- Fold the paper in half longways
- Mark a 1-inch strip along the unfolded edge. This is the part you won’t cut.
- Mark 1-inch strips off from the folded edge to your original mark
- Cut those strips
- Unfold paper
- Put a strip of double-sided tape along the front of one short edge
- Roll the paper so that the two short edges meet up
- Press down onto tape (or if you’re using a stapler, staple the top and bottom and somewhere near the middle)
- Put a piece of tape on the front edge of each end of your 1-inch strip. Attach to either side of the lantern from the inside
- (or staple it)
- Turn on your flameless candle and put the lantern over it.
Egg Carton Rainbow Dragon
What you need:
- Cardboard egg carton
- Red, orange, yellow, green, and blue tempera paint (if you’re egg carton has 6 humps, grab violet, too)
- Tissue paper in your choice of colors
- Orange construction paper
- Googly eyes
- Craft glue
What you do:
- Cut the egg carton in half and set on covered surface upside down
- Paint each hump of the carton in this order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue (then violet if using it)
- Allow to dry
- While drying, cut a small rectangle out of orange construction paper for the tongue. Clip a triangle out of one of the short ends to make the pointed tips
- Fold slightly at other end and put a drop of glue on the fold, then glue to the inside of the red hump where the mouth would be
- Glue on googly eyes
- From tissue paper, cut enough small triangles to make a ridge on each hump
- Make a small fold at the bottom of each triangle and glue to the top of the carton on each section
- Use several sections of tissue paper to make a tail. We cut more triangle shapes into our tail and made them about 1 inch wide x 6 inches long
Multicultural Children’s Book Day Sponsors
Check out these amazing sponsors of MCBD.
Medallion level (gold, silver, bronze)- Author Carole P. Roman, Audrey Press, Candlewick Press, Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTV, Capstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa, Author Gayle Swift, Wisdom Tales Press, Lee& Low Books, The Pack-n-Go Girls, Live Oak Media, Author Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books
Author Sponsors include: Karen Leggett Abouraya, Veronica Appleton, Susan Bernardo, Kathleen Burkinshaw, Maria Dismondy, D.G. Driver, Geoff Griffin, Savannah Hendricks, Stephen Hodges, Carmen Bernier-Grand,Vahid Imani, Gwen Jackson, Hena, Kahn, David Kelly, Mariana Llanos, Natasha Moulton-Levy, Teddy O’Malley, Stacy McAnulty, Cerece Murphy, Miranda Paul, Annette Pimentel, Greg Ransom, Sandra Richards, Elsa Takaoka, Graciela Tiscareño-Sato, Sarah Stevenson, Monica Mathis-Stowe SmartChoiceNation, Andrea Y. Wang
2017 Multicultural Children’s Book Day Linky
Stay tuned, because on January 27, there will be a link-up on MCBD’s website that will take you to all of the wonderful diverse books and reviews associated with Multicultural Children’s Book Day. It will be like a one-stop shop to find books about all the cultures for your littles. I will be posting the link as soon as it’s live. And don’t forget, in the coming week I’ll have reviews and activities for 2 more of Carole P. Roman’s fabulous education picture books!
Oh, my friends. This is exciting stuff.