Nearly one in three U.S. children live in a household where a language other than English is spoken, but are the same number of children fluent in their home language? Actually, many parents struggle to maintain the home language for a variety of reasons: when spoken to in the home language, children respond in English; some teachers encourage English only at home (the perception that another language confuses children is false); parents, their children and many societal groups view home languages as inferior to English. These examples of parent struggles with home language maintenance resonate with immigrant families across the U.S. Continue reading Benefits of Home Language Maintenance, From Parents’ Perspectives
Language Lizard is thrilled to offer a new, exclusive collection of must-read multicultural books for preschool and kindergarten children! This set of books gives you an instant, award-winning library of diverse books for your classroom or home. No need to search around! We’ve selected 25 of our favorite multicultural stories that expose children to cultural and ethnic diversity and celebrate differences.
The books portray children from various backgrounds, including African American, Hispanic, Middle-Eastern, Asian and Native American. The set includes stories related to the immigrant experience, books that help children embrace their unique heritage, and folktales from around the world.
The entertaining and well-reviewed stories help students appreciate diversity and build community with those around them. Children in diverse classrooms will build self esteem as they read/hear books in which their culture or ethnicity is represented. (Note: All books in this set are in English. Educators looking for bilingual multicultural books, click here or visit Language Lizard’s language-specific pages.)
Stories Included in the Collection
- An Ezra Jack Keats Book Award winner that explores the similarities of two children who live in very different communities across the world.
- A child revels in who she is despite her differences. An ode to self-esteem, with fun and silly illustrations.
- An Asian folktale in which a young child is rewarded for his honesty and loyalty. An IRA-CBC Children’s Choice and An American Bookseller “Pick of the Lists.”
- A sweet story in which a girl helps her Tia (aunt) earn money for a new car (since much of their savings goes to relatives who live far away). Winner of an Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award, an Amelia Bloomer List Selection and an American Library Association Notable Children’s Book.
- An introduction to Ramadan in which a young boy shares his experiences of this special time and wants to try to fast like the grown-ups do.
- A book that looks at children all over the world and illustrates our common humanity.
- A child is teased for looking different and learns how to celebrate his differences.
- A book celebrating non-violent social change and winner of the Coretta Scott King Award, illustrated by a three-time Caldecott Honor Recipient.
- A Latino boy “conquers the world” (except his sisters!) while teaching kids about a theatrical, action-packed sport that is popular in many Spanish-speaking countries. A Pura Belpre Illustrator Award winner, a Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year and an ALSC Notable Children’s Book.
- Observing the features that make us unique, a story that celebrates what makes each child special.
- A Chinese girl learns to appreciate what her culture has to offer during an “American” holiday. An IRA Notable Book for a Global Society.
- A simple introduction to racial and ethnic diversity that teaches children that you can’t tell what someone is like from the color of their skin. An ALA Notable Book.
- A book with diverse characters that inspires and guides young children to recognize their self-worth and develop confidence in themselves. Includes a section of discussion questions, activities, games and tips.
- A trickster gets into trouble when he tries to do what goes against his nature. Winner of an ALA Notable Children’s Book, an ABA Pick of the Lists, and a National Parenting Publications Gold Award.
- A story that uses colors as the backdrop for sharing Muslim culture, with artwork that brings classical elements of Islamic art into a modern setting.
- A classic Chinese legend in which a poor boy helps thwart a greedy emperor’s plan.
- With bright, bold illustrations, an artistic child notices and appreciates the colors of her friends.
- A young girl delights in her favorite Korean dish… with details about how readers can prepare it themselves!
- A reassuring book that encourages kids to embrace their individuality and celebrate multiculturalism.
- A lovely Native American folktale that cautions children against bragging and teasing. An NCSS-CBC Notable Children’s Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies and a Parenting Magazine Reading-Magic Award Winner.
- A look at different families around the world, what they do and how they help each other.
- A Caldecott Medal winner, magical woodcuts are used in an Indian fable that explores big versus little, and the nature of pride.
- A book celebrating different cultures illustrates that the things that make us different also make us special.
- A simple story about friendship with culturally diverse characters and suggested after-reading activities.
- A lovely book about the children of the world and their inherent similarities. Supports The Global Orphan Project.
Just a Few Reviews of the Books in this Collection
- “Bold illustrations celebrate diversity with a child’s open-hearted sensibility and a mother’s love.” – Kirkus Reviews
- “With its universal themes of wanting to fit in, self-acceptance, and self-esteem, this read-aloud is sure to strike a chord with many young readers/listeners, and on a variety of subjects, not just race.” – School Library Journal
- “Explores the child’s experience of straddling two cultures – and serves up an ending as satisfying as sweet-and-sour pork and crusty dessert.” -The Washington Post
- “A beautifully crafted book that will be enjoyed as much for the richness of its illustrations as the simplicity of its story.” – School Library Journal
- “Children will appreciate the warm, personal narrative, as well as the connections with Muslims all over the world.” – Booklist
- “Beautiful full-color illustrations portray this ancient Chinese folktale…” – Notable Children’s Trade Books in the Field of Social Studies
- “A splendid tale, perfectly paced for an amusing read-aloud” – Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)
- “… strong, dramatic woodcuts perfectly interpret the old fable.” – School Library Journal
- “[An easy read] with child-friendly illustrations and easy-to-understand examples of real-life situations.” – Skipping Stones: A Multicultural Children’s Magazine.
- “Expressive, child’s-eye watercolors get in on all the activity… in this celebration of a well-loved cultural dish” – Horn Book
- “… [focuses] on positive thinking and assertive, kind behavior that can bolster children’s mental health, their relationships, and their performance in school.” – Sean Covey, best-selling author of The 7 Habits of Happy Kids
- “Beautiful…. This will enrich and spark discussions of diversity.” – Booklist
- “The Strength of family and the importance of pursuing one’s dreams are the bedrock of [this…] picture book.” – Publishers Weekly
- “An essential book that acknowledges in the simplest of terms our common humanity.” – Kirkus Reviews
Language Lizard is excited to offer new sets of Multicultural Books in English. They are a great way to introduce kids to new cultures and traditions, and to celebrate diversity in the classroom and at home.
New Multicultural Book Sets
Our Cultural Holidays set helps children learn about 3 important holidays around the world: Diwali, Chinese New Year and Eid. Each of the books in this set is used in our multicultural lesson plans about these important holidays. Readers can download the multicultural lesson plans for free.
Our set of Children’s Books About Diversity: Food, Games, Transportation takes kids on a trip around the world, exploring the rich diversity of children’s lives. Kids will learn about exotic dishes, different games children play and the ways people get around in different countries.
Bilingual Multicultural Books
Please note that in addition to these English sets, we continue to offer bilingual multicultural books in 50+ languages! Readers can easily search by language on our site to find the right books in their languages of interest.
What kind of people are most likely to be bilingual? What motivates them, and what benefits of bilingualism do they enjoy? Whether you’re bilingual, in the process of learning, or just curious about learning a new language, you’ll want to check out these interesting stats regarding bilingualism in the US.
It’s that time of year again – summer is winding down, and school is back in session! Language Lizard is offering a new set of colorful mugs that celebrate cultural diversity and the love of languages – perfect for educators, students and parents alike!
“Welcome” in Different Languages
This unique mug says “Welcome” in many languages, and is a great gift for teachers who work in multicultural classrooms. Languages include Arabic, Burmese, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, Farsi (Persian), French, German, Greek, Gujarati, Haitian-Creole, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Lithuanian, Nepali, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Somali, Spanish, Swedish, Tagalog, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese and Yoruba.
Learning a new language takes dedication and a lot of hard work! Let the world know about your bilingual superpower! A great gift for students and teachers that encourages and promotes language learning. English-only edition of this mug is also available.
“We All Smile in the Same Language”
If you are looking for fun summer activities to get the kids outside and staying active, try these fun multicultural games played around the world!
These games are a great way to teach your children about other cultures while still having fun this summer. Some of these games just need a few people, while others can be played with large groups. They are simple to learn and do not require a lot of equipment. Children of all ages can join in and stay active while simultaneously learning something new this summer!
HUNTERS AND RABBITS (Belgium)
You can play this game with as many people as you would like and it should be played in a wide, open place.
- One player starts with the ball – he/she is the hunter. This player then has to dribble the ball to get closer to the “rabbits,” which is everyone else in the game.
- The rabbits are only allowed to hop, they cannot run.
- Once the hunter gets close enough to a rabbit, he/she must stop and throw the ball at a rabbit’s legs. If the ball touches the rabbit’s leg, then that rabbit becomes a hunter too. If the ball lands anywhere else besides the rabbit’s legs, then the rabbit stays a rabbit.
- The last rabbit standing is the winner of the game. The tricky part is that no matter how many hunters there are, there can only be one ball to catch the rabbits with.
TRIANGLE GAME (Greece)
This game is typically played outside where you are able to use chalk with a small group of people.
- You draw a large triangle on the ground and split it into 3 parts as shown above. The smallest part you label with a 3, the middle a 2 and the bottom a 1.
- Players take turns throwing rocks from 15 feet away. As they are throwing, the players add up their scores based on the numbered section that the rock landed in.
- The first person to 50 is the winner.
- Players stand in pairs, with one pair behind the other.
- One player stands behind the row of pairs and that person is “it.”
- The person designated as “it” then yells “Go!” and the last pair in line must then both run to the front of the line. One runs on the left side of the line the other on the right, and they need to reach the front without being tagged by “it.”
- If “it” is unable to tag anyone then they must be “it” again for the next round. However, if “it” does tag somebody then the person they tag is the new “it” and the previous “it” goes to the front of the line.
There can be up to 14 players in this game and the players need a long jump rope. Two of the 14 players will be spinning the jump rope while the other players line up.
- The first player in line jumps into the rope, jumps once and comes out without being hit by the rope.
- Then the next player runs in and jumps twice and comes out.
- This pattern continues up until 12 jumps in a row.
- Once the players reach 12 jumps, the pattern will start with 1 again.
- Note: There must be no hesitation to run and jump into the rope; if there is, then that player is out. Also if a player hits the rope at any time with any part of his or her, the player will also be out.
- The last jumper standing is the winner.
EL GATO Y EL RATON (Puerto Rico)
This game must be played with a group of people, and they must choose a leader. (Typically the leader is an adult.)
- The leader will select one person to be the cat and one person to be the mouse. The rest of the people will form a circle holding hands.
- The mouse will start on the inside of the circle and the cat will start on the outside. The objective is for the cat to catch the mouse with the people in the circle trying to help the mouse escape and keep the cat out without ever unlocking arms.
- If the cat gets into the circle, the mouse must escape it.
- When the mouse is caught, the leader chooses two new people to be cat and mouse, and the game starts all over again.
What multicultural games do you like to play with your little ones? Comment below and share!
Playing with a Big Ball” by Michael Coghlan via Flickr is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/oRtyNU
This blog post is linked with the monthly Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop. Be sure to check out other bloggers’ tips, teaching strategies, and resources!
Language Lizard is pleased to announce new multilingual “talking” charts that allow students to hear explanations of key terms in English, geography, math & science in many different languages, including English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese and Russian.
These charts are invaluable resources for teachers who support a linguistically diverse student body. Using these charts with the PENpal Audio Recorder Pen, newcomers and English Language Learners (ELLs) can hear key terms explained in their native languages, allowing for a better understanding of subject matter content.
Students simply select the language that they want to hear from the right side of the chart with the PENpal, and then tap a subject term to hear an explanation of the word in the selected language. Teachers and students can also use “talking labels” (recordable stickers) to add their own recordings of additional information to the chart.
There are four new Talking Charts, and they can be purchased separately or in a value pack of 4 Multilingual Charts.
The English Multilingual Terms Chart includes explanations and examples for terms such as alliteration, apostrophe, conjunction, differentiate, figurative, imagery, narrative/narrator, onomatopoeia, personification, preposition and synonym.
The Geography Multilingual Terms Chart includes explanations for erosion, estuary, habitat, infrastructure, landscape, latitude, longitude, pollution, settlement and much more.
The Math Multilingual Terms Chart includes terms such as adjacent, circumference, coordinate, decimal, denominator, diameter, equilateral, fraction, isosceles, perimeter, perpendicular, radius, ratio, symmetry and vertical.
The Science Multilingual Terms Chart includes absorb, amphibian, circulation, condensation, combustion, evaporation, friction, nutrient, organism, particles, respiration, vertebrate and more key terms.
These new charts work alongside our popular Multilingual Phrases for School Talking Chart which allows teachers and administrators to communicate more easily with student language learners as well as parents who do not speak English well.
The following languages are available on the charts: Arabic, Czech, English, Farsi, French, Lithuanian, Mandarin Chinese, Panjabi, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Slovakian, Somali, Spanish, Sylheti, Turkish, Urdu, Vietnamese and Yorub
by guest blogger Karen Nemeth EdM
Cognates are pairs of words that sound alike and have the same meaning in two different languages. They are useful first steps in learning a new language.
How Do Cognates Work?
In English we say “elephant” and in Spanish we say “elefante.” English and Spanish speakers can easily make the connection between these cognates to learn and remember the animal’s name. In English, we say “frog” but in Spanish we say “rana.” Frog and rana are not cognates, and the lack of connection means learners will find those words harder to use and remember. We know that people need to use their new language to really learn it. Cognates make it possible for language learners at any age to use their new words right away. By starting with the cognate words, a learner can build their vocabulary and gain the confidence to add more words in their new language.
Find Cognates in Your Target Language
Spanish and English share hundreds of cognates and have borrowed from each other for centuries. There are also many cognates that connect German to English, such as “mouse” and “maus”. Other languages, like Chinese and Arabic, have fewer cognates with English words. Lists of cognate words in different languages can be found online. I created a resource for Spanish-English cognates in preschool and kindergarten called Language Castle Cognate Guide. It has user-friendly lists of simple cognates in the different educational domains to support early learning. Other cognate resources can be found at colorincolorado.org. Bilingual children’s books, or matching books in two or more languages, can also be great resources to find vocabulary connections.
Learning Activities Using Cognates
Research shows that teachers and families can help children learn a new language successfully when they use cognates to explain the meanings of words in conversations and stories. Look for examples of cognates to support the language learners you work with. Use the pairs of words to help children understand the characters, stories and facts in books. Plan activities around the cognates you have found. Add cognates to familiar songs. Use cognates in puppet shows or pretend play to give children more opportunities to practice and use the words. Highlight cognates on word walls or classroom dictionaries. Plan science and math lessons that use cognates to strengthen children’s comprehension. Building connections through cognates is a sure path to success.
Read more about what experts are saying about the importance of using cognates to build second language learning:
August, D., Carlo, M., Dressler, C. and Snow, C. (2005) The Critical Role of Vocabulary Development for English Language Learners. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 20: 50–57
Collins, M.F. (2010) ELL preschoolers’ English vocabulary acquisition from storybook reading, Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 25(1), 84-97
Gillanders, C. & Castro, D.C. (2011) Storybook reading for young dual language learners, Young Children, January 2011, 91-95
Lugo-Neris, M.J., Jackson, C.W., Goldstein, H (2008) Facilitating Vocabulary Acquisition of Young English Language Learners, Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 41, 314-327
Pérez, A.M., Peña, E.D., & Bedore, L.M. (2010) Cognates facilitate young Spanish-English bilinguals’ test performance, Early Childhood Services, 4(1), 55-67
Wallace, Christopher, (2007) Vocabulary: The Key to Teaching English Language Learners to Read, Reading Improvement, 44.4 , 189-193
Be sure to check out languagecastle.com, Karen Nemeth’s website that offers a wealth of resources for anyone who teaches young children who speak different languages.
This blog post is linked with the monthly Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop. Be sure to check out other bloggers’ tips, teaching strategies, and resources!
National Reading Month is a great time to try out a new multicultural book with your little ones! Celebrate with fun, diverse children’s books that introduce them to different cultures. And don’t miss out on the Multicultural Stories Giveaway we are co-sponsoring with our friends at I Teach K-2!
What is National Reading Month?
Every March, National Reading Month kicks off with NEA’s Read Across America, which celebrates the birthday of the beloved Dr. Seuss. All month long, organizations across the country hold events that celebrate the love of reading, and encourage kids and adults to enjoy new books or re-visit old favorites.
Our Favorite Multicultural Books for Children
If you’re looking to grow your classroom or personal library by adding great multicultural picture books the kids will love, here are some of our favorites. (Each title is available in English plus your choice of a second language, so kids get to explore a second language, too!)
Each day, something new makes Mimi think of her grandma, whom she misses very much. She misses Grandma’s special Saturday Soup, and her stories of life in Jamaica. Derek Brazell’s colorful illustrations brings this story to life, and make us wish we all had a remarkable grandma like this!
How are new babies celebrated around the world? Tariq’s classroom gets to meet his new baby brother. During circle time, the students share the different ways their families welcome new babies into the world. Na’ima bint Robert brings us a beautiful, thoughtful exploration of cultural and religious diversity through the eyes of our children.
This book by Thando Maclaren takes us around the world, to learn about different foods and traditions. Read about exotic dishes like fajitas, sushi, dhal, roti and more! Explore the diversity in children’s lives and develop a worldwide perspective with this book, which is part of the “Our Lives, Our World” series. Other titles in the series include Brrmm! Let’s Go! and Goal! Let’s Play!
Little Li woke up on a Monday morning, only to discover that his tooth is wibbly wobbly! His tooth went wibble wobble all day, until PLOP! it fell right out. Now what will Li do with the tooth?
This humorous story by David Mills, author of Lima’s Red Hot Chilli and Mei Ling’s Hiccups, explores different cultural traditions associated with losing a tooth. It’s a great story to start a class discussion about customs and shared experiences.
Multicultural Stories Giveaway
Language Lizard is co-sponsoring a Multicultural Stories Class Library Giveaway… Enter below by April 1, 2017 for a chance to win!
“Woman in Library” by David Niblack via imagebase.net is licensed under CC0 http://imagebase.net/photo/696/Woman-in-Library.html
Right now, our lives are permeated with emotionally charged discourse about political and social upheaval. When you think about how much news media, social media and personal conversations we’re exposed to, it’s very likely our kids and students are aware and possibly experiencing anxiety about what they hear and see going on in the world around them. We all may feel disheartened with the current events that are dividing us as people, and as a nation.
If you’re worried that the children in your life are experiencing stress or anxiety, you first want to acknowledge and address these emotions, as we discussed in a previous post. Then, you can try to direct the conversation to the good that is happening in the world. One way we suggest doing this is to celebrate diversity with our children. When we open our hearts and minds to people of other cultures, we also cultivate a spirit of love and hope, which can lead to strength and healing.
Below are a few ways we can mitigate anxiety for students, your kids and yourself.
Limit Media Exposure
As informed adults, we can’t ever “bury our heads in the sand” by turning our backs on current events. It’s, in fact, vitally important that we check in regularly with reputable news organizations because so much is happening in the political and social realm, in such a short amount of time. However, don’t allow yourself to become inundated by what can feel like a flood of information and reactions. Decide how much time a day you want to dedicate to staying informed, then try to stay within that limit.
If older kids are exposed to news or social media directly, work with them to establish boundaries and talk about what they’re hearing and seeing. With younger kids, we need to be wary that their little ears are picking up on our adult conversations. Decide what information you want to convey to them, and be ready to answer their questions in an age-appropriate manner.
Do Good, Feel Good
One of the best ways to feel better is by doing good for those around you. Find a way that you and your family or classroom can volunteer to make the world a better place. Working selflessly for others can do wonders for your own state of mind. This is also a great opportunity to connect with other people, and build an emotional and social support network.
If you are concerned about the treatment of vulnerable members of society, or discriminatory attitudes, consider supporting causes that reflect your values and help those who could benefit most from your assistance. Working with children to raise funds to support a cause can be empowering, and allow for substantive discussions on important issues.
When you’re feeling stressed out or sad, take a moment for yourself. Think about the good things in your life that you’re grateful for. Take a break and do something just for you – like reading a book, listening to your favorite song or going for a stroll – and just be present in the moment. Meditate or just lie down and rest for a bit! In order to be kind to others, you must first be kind to yourself.
Suggest these strategies to children as well; these are valuable life lessons that will help them navigate future challenges. You can also make use of online resources to find support and recommendations.
We would love to hear the beautiful, thoughtful, brave ways you are making the world a better place! Take a moment to #CelebrateDiversity with us on social media, and keep up the good work!
“World” by Kevin Dooley via Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/9nZaR3