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Is your family kicking into “summer reading gear?” Since I have always tried to offer ideas and books on Jump Into a Book to keep families reading, I really wanted to do something different this summer. This year I decided to “mix it up” a bit and invite some of the many amazing bloggers and reading/play advocates that I know to stop by and share their knowledge and creativity with the JIAB readers.
PLUS it will offer kids and parents some cool new reading ideas and activities for summer.
This summer, not only do we want to keep kids reading, we want to also work to keep the focus on helping them be Global Citizens. We would like to focus on books that will help our kiddos explore their world and keep our initiative of multicultural books for kids in the forefront of people’s minds too. To achieve this, I created the Discover Your World Summer Reading Extravaganza.
This fun summer reading and activity event will run from June 1 to Sept 1 and we encourage your to keep stopping by Jump Into a Book during this time to view all of the booklists, book reviews, crafts, recipes and activities my guest bloggers will be sharing!
Today our guest for the Discover Your World Summer Reading Extravaganza is bilingual children’s author and educator Gladys Elizabeth Barbieri from Chucko’s Books.
Read A Book, Travel The World & Make A Wish
I’m a sucker for picture books, especially books that encourage children to learn about other worlds and cultures. When I came across the picture book Wish: Wishing Traditions Around the World by Roseanne Thong and illustrated by Elisa Kleven, I immediately bought it. Not only is it multicultural in nature, it’s about wishes, one of my most favorite things. I also got to meet the author, Roseanne Thong. Not only did she autograph my book, she is also really sweet and warm, another plus!
Wish is a book that invites young children to “travel” to fifteen countries by reading about the many and different ways people make wishes worldwide. The illustrations are breath-taking and lyrical. My first graders were so enchanted by the illustrations that during free time many opted to recreate the artwork in their writing journals. I read the book to my first graders over a period of a week so that they could really absorb the information presented.
We traveled to far off places like Iran, Russia, Brazil and Guatemala. Many were familiar with Guatemala since it is a Spanish-speaking country. A little girl eagerly said, “My mom is from El Salvador and that’s close to Guatemala.” My soccer fans were excited when we read about Brazil because of the World Cup. “I hope Mexico beats them because they’re the team to beat,” was a shared sentiment. We learned that in Iran, families celebrate the New Year by eating seven dishes on a special tablecloth to represent love, health, happiness, prosperity, joy, patience and beauty. In Russia, if you find a coin you make a wish and put it in your left shoe.
In addition, impromptu geography lessons were occurring as the students asked where a particular country was on the map and how close or far they were in relation to the United States. After reading the book, the students wrote about their wishes, the importance of wishes and how they hoped they would manifest. Some of their wishes broke my heart and gave me a sobering glimpse of the challenges they faced in their young and fragile lives.
I wish I could see my mom every day.
I wish my dad came to visit me.
I wish I had a house and a room with a bed.
I wish I had a puppy.
I wish I had a jetpack to go to space.
I also asked parents to write their wishes for their children. A parent volunteer assembled the star cut outs and made a “wish” mobile.
They were hung in class and every morning the kids would send magic to their wishes. On the day of our end of the year class celebration, I handed my first graders their wish mobiles and parents read their wishes aloud to their children. It was an immensely powerful activity and there was not a dry eye in the class. Even some of my little first graders started to cry as they felt the array of emotions from the adults. Our school principal graciously stepped in on behalf of the parents who were unable to attend the ceremony. Based on what was shared, I know that all parents, no matter where they come from, have similar wishes for their children: A life full of joy, love, health and a college education for a brighter future.
Gladys Elizabeth Barbieri has been an elementary school teacher for almost 20 years. She loves to teach beginning reading and every night makes wishes when the stars come out and dance. She is also a bilingual children’s author. To read more about her adventures in first grade you can read her blog: https://gebarbieri.wordpress.com