Teach Different Cultures with the Books You Read
Whether I walk with my granddaughters through their homes in Washington, DC; Raleigh, NC; or around my home in Augusta, GA, we are exposed to a glorious hodgepodge of cultures, religions and cuisines.
We see people dressed in jeans and hijabs. We stroll by churches, mosques and synagogues. We nosh on food truck treats that range from Thai curry to tacos to ice cream.
I want my grandkids to feel comfortable with all the different cultures that make up our world. This is an important step in raising children who are respectful, comfortable in a wide range of social groups and eager to share their own culture.
Teaching about different cultures is so important in our diverse world. According to Drexel University there are many benefits. Children will:
- become more empathetic and less likely to be prejudiced;
- gain a better understanding of people and different points of view;
- become more open-minded;
- feel more confident and safe;
- develop higher thinking skills and deeper self-awareness;
- become more creative; and
- be better prepared for a diverse workplace locally and globally.
One of the best ways to introduce children to different cultures is through books. Sometimes parents tend to buy books with stories and illustrations that look like and reflect their own families. This is comfortable and familiar, and children do need to see themselves in books, but they also need to see other cultures and religions that reflect their neighborhood and the diverse people who live there and all over the world.
Take a look at the books on your shelves. Do you feel that you have a variety of books that reflect not only your children and your family but that open a window to cultures around the world and foster new ideas?
Go to your library, browse through the books in the children’s section and check out books that feature other cultures such as, The Proudest Color, illustrated by Monica Makai; and My House, My Family, by C. Hope Flinchbaugh. After reading A Fall Frolic in the City or A Winter Walk in the City, take a walk in your neighborhood or city and look for the sights and celebrations that you just read about. The American Library Association also has very helpful recommendations.
Have fun choosing and reading the very best books that reflect the wonderful diversity of our world and help your children and grandchildren become empathetic, open-minded and creative.
About the Author
Cathy Goldberg Fishman is a proud grandmother, an educator and the author of over 12 children’s picture books including the “In the City” series, a Jewish Holiday series, illustrated by Melanie Hall. She also wrote a picture book biography of Hank Greenberg and Jackie Robinson, When Jackie and Hank Met, illustrated by Mark Elliot. Cathy lives and writes in Augusta, GA. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.