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Fresh Books for the Shelf, to help bring cultural heritage into the lives of our children

At the beginning of December we held the Babyccino Shopup event, and myself and the wonderful panel of women who joined us discussed how we are bringing our cultural heritage into the lives of our children. Some decisions seem simple, like celebrating Christmas or Eid, for example. Those around us are celebrating too and not much has to be introduced into the festive period. Other decisions, however, are more deliberate, and require some planning and input particularly if you and your partner have differing backgrounds, cultures, languages.

Last week brought the school applications deadline here in the UK for children turning 4. Stressful for some, a straightforward choice for others.  A few factors came into play when deciding our list – top of which was breadth of cultures and diversity within the classroom and school structure. With children who are of mixed heritage, being in a space which sees and represents them is so important, and we often discussed this at home when considering our options. Are there many languages spoken? Will my child’s cultural experiences not only be respected, but celebrated? Will my girl have friends whose families are from different parts of the world? Will her teachers have fair and sensitive understandings of all the things that come with that?

You may have gone through the same, and in preparation for the new school year in September, now seems a perfect time to gently begin to explore these subjects further at home. Books are our go-to for learning about other peoples’ experiences and these titles are a great starting block.

Grace and Family, Mary Hoffman and Caroline Binch
The Grace series of books are all about the life and experiences of Grace, who lives with her Ma and Nana. In this book she travels to The Gambia to meet her father and his wife and children. We love this book and its realistic illustrations so much.

Siddharth and Rinki, Addy Farmer and Karin Littlewood
Siddharth is new to England, understandably unfamiliar with everything and dreaming of home. A heartwarming story of children pulling together and making friendships, coming together over Siddarth’s beloved Rinki.

All Are Welcome, Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman
This sweet poem follows children through a day in their very diverse school. Colourful and engaging, this book is what I hope my child’s school will be like!

There are so many more titles that beautifully celebrate difference in cultural heritage, featuring children. Do you have any books you would recommend? We would love to hear!

-Zainab


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Comments (1)

Addie
January 27, 2020

I love these recommendations! For someone who grew up in a small Mississippi town with little diversity, this is so important to me as a parent. Two other fun reads are This is How We Do It and The Skin You Live In. Thanks for sharing Zainab!


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