Paul is four years old. His dad is British and his mum is Spanish. They live in Marbella, in a lovely beach area that’s popular among expats; Paul has neighbours from Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands. Paul’s dad works as a manager for a British hotel chain.
Are you a parent or a teacher of a sporty child who loves competition, the one that “just gotta win”? Are you searching for a book that teaches children the values of determination, reaching their goals and above all a great value of friendship? Finally, are you looking for a book that incorporates multicultural characters? Then, you’re going to enjoy The Quickest Kid in Clarksville as much as we did!
If you ask my kids what’s the worst part of multicultural upbringing, they will probably complain about “funny” food from different countries; it’s not fair when Babcia makes you eat a beetroot soup and Abuelita puts a huge plate of caraotas on the same day! Yuck! Or all those exercise books in three languages when all you want to do is play with your new Lego set!
However, there’s a HUGE bonus to all that suffering: they literally get the best of both worlds when it comes to celebrations and presents. They celebrate their name day (like all Polish kids) with a huge piñata (like all Venezuelan kids). They get visits from Ratoncito Pérez (Perez the Mouse) AND Tooth Fairy….and if they’re lucky, these visits happen when we travel, so the kiddos get their teeth attractive foreign currency.
If my friends had known that I’m writing a blog post about cooking, they would probably: a) call firefighters to report a fire threat in the neighbourhood; b) post comments all over the place warn my readers of risk of food poisoning (if try to follow my recipe at home); c) make sure my kids have plenty of milk and cereals to make themselves an edible super.
Because, ladies and gentlemen, the truth is that I’m a crap cook. When I was an Erasmus student in Granada, my attempt to make pasta in a microwave made me famous all over the town (hopefully we didn’t have smart phones and YouTube accounts back in those days!). My miserable Venezuelan arepas and cachapas made me realize that my way to my husband’s heart definitely did NOT go through his stomach.
Welcome to the Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop!
As some of you know, I have recently become a member of Multicultural Kid Blogs, a great site dedicated to raising world citizens.
The Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop is a place where bloggers can share multicultural activities, crafts, recipes, and musings for our creative kids. Continue reading Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop #31
When my son Andrés was born in Spain I received congratulations cards from all over the world, in at least five languages. My family from Poland, my husband’s relatives from Venezuela and Dominican Republic, our friends from France, Italy, UK, Mexico, Brasil, Canada and many other countries, they all sent us gifts and wished us all the best on the phone, Skype and Facebook.
When he turned one, we celebrated his birthday with a dress-up Disney party in a group of family and friends from six countries. As a toddler he spent a New Year’s Eve in Paris, carried in our arms to the top of Eiffle Tower and sleeping in his buggy as we were wathcing fireworks over Notre Dame cathedra.
And it wasn’t until now, when he turned 5 that I started to think how much he’s influenced by his multicultural upbringing.
Review of the book by Martyna Wojciechowska.
„ Zuzu, a 6 year old shepherd from Himba tribe lives in a house that’s made of clay and….cow poop”.
Andrés and Michał laughed so much that I couldn’t read on. It was the moment they fell in love that story; toilet humour never fails with preschoolers.
– Can you guess what’s Zuzu’s greatest treasure?
– A tablet! – shouted Andrés, who loved to play games on my tablet; he couldn’t imagine a major treasure for a little boy.
No, it wasn’t a tablet. Nor a computer. Nor a huge track for trains or cars. Nor a remote control car.
Zuzu’s greatest treasure was ….a wooden statue of goat made by his dad.
That got another laugh from my boys.
I continued to read about children from the little village who have to carry water from faraway wells, who have no toys and play just with things they find on the ground: rocks, wooden sticks, pieces of string….but in spite of that are happy and, as Zuzu says, “you’ll never see a sad kid in the village, everyone’s smiling”.
For Andrés and Michał, who threw tanthrums whenever somebody touched one of their toys and who wanted to possess every single toy they saw in a tv ad, that was incredible. How can children be happy if they don’t have any toys or computer games?
Though, a few things from Zuzu’s life appealed to my boys; he’s never been to school and he’s never taken a bath in his whole life.
Zuzu is one of characters of Martyna Wojciechowska’s book „Kids of the world” (“Dzieciaki świata”; link in Polish; the book has its own website with great interactive games for kids). Wojciechowska, a well-known Polish traveller, TV presenter and editor of Polish edition of „National Geographic” writes about children she met on her trips to Africa and Asia. The book was reviewed and illustrated by the author’s little daughter Marysia, what I find cool! All the stories are written from a child’s perspective, which make them more clear and appealing to young readers.
Unfortunately, this book hasn’t been translated to other languages; I hope it will be soon or otherwise I’ll translate it myself 🙂
The book depicts Zuzu, a little shepherd from Himba tribe; Mebratu, a shoeshine boy from Ethiopia; Matina, a living gooddess from Nepal; Mali, a girl from Thailand who wishes to be….a giraffe; and Lien from Vietnam, who lives on a boat.
Each story includes a short paragraph with a psychologist’s explanations and questions that help children understand the story and relate to the characters. Mebratu from Ethiopia goes running everyday as he dreams of becoming an Olympic medalist. „You need to work hard to achieve your goals; do you have a dream? Is there something you do everyday to become better at it”? The author also proposes follow-up activities for children and parents, such as going out for the whole day without any toys and playing just with „what they can find”, like Himba children.
This book inspires interest in the world, teaches young readers them values of diversity and tolerance. When describing face painting in Ethiopia, the author explains that every culture has its own definitione of beauty and everybody has to respect it. The story about Mali’s sister who prefers going to school to wearing neck rings teaches that despite tradition every child has dreams and ambitions that have to be understood and respected by their family.
My boys liked the most the stories about African boys, Zuzu and Membratu. I’m sure that the tale of Matina, who lives like a princess but dreams of being a normal girl, able to play with other children, would appeal to every little girl. Many girls would love to be „real princesses”; what may be a downside to such a lifestyle?
I would definitely recommend this book to all the parents who want to teach their children about the world in a fun and engaging way.