It’s no secret that stocking our home library with multiracial children’s books is important to me. But one particular area where this has been challenging to me is when it comes to finding children’s Bible storybooks that portray a variety of ethnicities. Every time I’m in a book store, I always look to see if I might find one. But lo and behold, the only non-white people depicted in illustrations are the Wise Men and the obligatory black kid sitting on the very-pretty-white-non-Jewish-looking Jesus’ lap in the story of Jesus and the little children. (This post contains affiliate links.)
A few months ago we visited family in Southern California, and attended Christ Our Redeemer AME Church in Irvine. (Since Montana is the Land of White People, I always try to take an opportunity to visit an African American church when traveling to a larger city, giving our son the all-to-rare opportunity to be around people who look like him.) During the sermon, a warm, impeccably dressed young lady took Baby Boy into the nursery to play with him and her sons (side note: this is what Christian love looks like, people). When he returned to me at the end of the sermon, he had with him a gift from the congregation – a beautiful, multi-racial storybook Bible: The Jesus Storybook Bible.Read More»
I have some exciting news to share…
I co-authored a book! (This post contains affiliate links.)
Together with 94 amazingly, talented bloggers from the Kid Blogger Network, we present to you a tremendous compilation of hands on activities – Learn With Play: 150+ Activities for Year-round Fun & Learning. In this giant collection, you will find activities that include:Read More»
I’ve blogged a bit about our sweet little guy’s struggle with Sensory Processing Disorder. We have been blessed with an amazing support team in the form of occupational therapists, family support specialists, behavioral therapists, school psychologists, pediatricians and friends and family who are encouraging and always wanting to learn more so they can be a help to us.
Each age and stage seems to bring different challenges, and we are always learning and growing as we discover new ways that we can help our son feel comfortable in his environment, always experimenting with different techniques and ideas.
Here are some things that have been helping us a bit lately (this post contains affiliate links)…
1. A High Protein DietRead More»
Earlier this month, my Baby Boy turned 3.
He realizes he’s different than us. He points to pictures in a story book that have brown skinned children and says his own name, then points to the white children and says his sister’s name. We talk about Congo often, eat Congolese food and listen to Congolese music (he has been known to stomp off and say, “I want to go to Congo!” when he’s mad at me).
Now that he’s understanding and grasping certain things, we’ve wanted to make sure that he understands what it means that he is adopted. Being a part of Facebook groups that include many transracial adoptees has taught me so much. The refrain I often hear from the adult adoptees is that the child’s adoption story should always be with them. I don’t sit down my son at age 10 and say, “By the way, you’re adopted.” It is something that we should be open and honest about.
This winter, I saw a beautiful idea from a talented artist/fellow adoptive mama. She began painting water color pictures for adopted children’s lifebooks. Since many adoptees don’t have portraits of their birth family, I loved this idea. It also inspired me to put together a board book for my son, telling him his adoption story.Read More»
My 3-year-old has a deep love of food. So it’s probably no surprise to you that his favorite book has always been Eric Carle’s classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar. It’s rare for our wiggleworm to sit still for long enough to read a book, but he loves to walk around the house reciting the words, and then ask to eat all of the things in the book.Read More»
We’ve begun a new adventure at our home: beekeeping! A few years ago, I saw the documentary Queen of the Sun, and became fascinated with honeybees and the idea of backyard beekeeping. When I approached my husband about the idea, he thought I was crazy. But somehow, using a few books and a visit to a local beekeeper, he warmed up to the idea (though the beekeeping suit was purchased in my size). I think this may have had a lot to do with the honey said beekeeper gave us. We’ve spent the last couple of years collecting hives and equipment, reading books and watching YouTube videos, and this winter, we decided to go for it! (This post contains affiliate links.)
The kids got in on the action, too. They helped us paint the hives.Read More»
The other day I was texting with a girlfriend — a fellow adoptive mama who also happens to be an amazing homeschooling mama. She asked me if we had read The Little House on the Prairie books at our home yet. I let her know that while we had the whole series (books leftover from my childhood), my 6-year-old had only read the first one. She told me she had just read the third one out loud with her girls (like a responsible/non-lazy parent), and was appalled by the attitudes and language expressed towards and about Native peoples.
I ran downstairs to skim through some of the books. Sure enough, we’ve got the lovely, mostly-exemplary character of Ma saying, “The only good Indian is a dead Indian,” calling Natives “Savages” over and over, scolding her kids when they get too tan because now they look like Indians (which is apparently insulting), etc., etc., etc. Not to mention the time when they attend a Minstrel Show, and Laura calls black people “darkies.”
Dang. (Also, why did I not remember any of this from when I read these books as a child?!?!)
So there I stood in our home library, clutching these much beloved books of my youth in horror, wondering how to make the best parenting decision. Do I…
1-Let my daughter continue to work her way through the series without talking about it. After all, she didn’t bring it up…
2-Talk to her about the attitudes expressed in the books.
3-Read the books aloud to her, skipping and editing when necessary.
4-Host a book burning.
Thankfully, she’s moved onto the Chronicles of Narnia for the time being, giving me time to mull over my plan for the Little House books, and any other classic children’s lit (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is another one that comes to mind…) that may be influenced by incorrect — and at times, sickening — ideas about race within historical contexts.Read More»
I have a story that I’m going to share here — and it’s one I’m really ashamed of. During her preschool years, used to take my daughter to a preschool story time at her school. It’s one attended by future students of the elementary school and I absolutely loved meeting the other families and getting to know the librarian and the facilities a bit.
Except there was this one time when “that kid” was there. You know the one. The one who is disruptive and loud and a little handsy. “That kid” was there with an aid — and obviously had developmental differences. I remember thinking to myself, “I hope that kid doesn’t end up in the same classroom as my daughter.”
Two years later, my daughter is in kindergarten, and I visit her school once a week to have lunch and play with her at recess. There is a little guy in her classroom — deemed the class troublemaker but seriously my favorite kid in her class — who always runs and gives me a big hug and tells me how much he loves my bear hug (I give them to him because I know he has SPD and craves the input). “That kid” from story time often sits next to us at lunch and asks me one question after another. A few of “those kids” — the ones I see getting pulled out of the classrooms to work with the Special Needs Educator — are the ones we always reach out to on the playground and invite to jump rope with us. They are the ones who wrestle with my 2-year-old when he comes along for recess, because they speak the same language, if you will, and totally get that head butting one another does not mean they are bullies, but just kindred spirits who are meeting one another’s needs.Read More»