Category Archives: Holidays

Diverse Gifts for Teacher Appreciation Week & to Celebrate Bilingual Students

Spring is a great time to celebrate the outstanding educators and language learners in your life!

Teacher Appreciation Week & More!

Teacher Appreciation Week is May 7-11. It’s the perfect opportunity to say “thank you” to the teachers and school staff that work tirelessly to make a difference in our children’s lives.

April is also National Bilingual/Multilingual Learner Advocacy Month. Be sure to show your support of those students who are working to maintain their home languages, while also learning a new one!

Gifts that Celebrate Diversity & Inclusion

Looking for unique gifts that celebrate diversity and inclusion?

We’re excited to offer new multicultural t-shirt designs that celebrate bilingualism and diversity such as: Welcome Your Friends (with HELLO in 35+ different languages), I’m Bilingual, What’s Your Superpower? and We All Smile in the Same Language.

There are many more design and color options available at our Amazon store, as well as bilingual and Spanish-only versions of some of the designs.

Many of the same designs are now available on mugs and phone cases, too!

These gifts encourage and promote language learning – perfect for multicultural classrooms!

8 Great Folktales for Kids – Favorite Folktales from Around the World

World Folktales and Fables Week is celebrated the third week of each March. (This year it’s March 18-24.) Be sure to enjoy a good folktale at home and in your classroom! Use #WorldFolktales on social media, and tell us about your favorite folktales and fables.

World Folktales & Fables: Important Teaching Tools

Every culture has its own way of teaching lessons and sharing how different things came to be. Many do this through the telling of fables or folktales. Here, we look at eight folktales from around the world. Each one explores the origin of different phenomena and reflects important values. These folktales, which are all part of our Multicultural Book Sets, are a perfect way to teach your students or children about different cultures and languages from around the world.  A special discount for World Folktales & Fables Week is offered at the end of the article.

How the Moon Regained Her Shape, By: Janet Ruth Heller and Ben Hodson

This accomplished children’s book is the winner of the Benjamin Franklin Award and the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award. This Native American folktale follows the story of the moon and her journey to understanding that other people’s words should not define her. Moon lets the Sun’s hateful words get the best of her and it makes her feel inferior and small just like a bully’s tormenting can make a victim feel small and oppressed. The Moon’s true friend, Round Arms, then shows her all the great things that people say about her and that she should not be discouraged by the hateful words of others.

The Empty Pot, By: Demi

This book provides a great vehicle to convey the message that honesty is the best policy. This Chinese folktale about the Emperor looking for a successor shows children that you will be rewarded for your honesty in ways you could never imagine. The Emperor had given all the children seeds and said that whoever returns with the most beautiful plant in one year will be the new emperor.  All the children but one return a year later with beautiful plants. Yet the one boy with an empty pot, Ping, becomes the new Emperor. The Emperor had given everyone cooked seeds so nobody should have been able to grow a plant. Ping claimed his reward for his honesty and became the new emperor of China.

Once a Mouse… By: Marcia Brown

Winner of a Caldecott Medal, this book teaches children to be thankful for what they have as things can change at any moment. In this Indian folktale there is a hermit sitting in the forest when all of a sudden he sees a mouse running away from a crow. The hermit then turns the mouse into a cat and then into a huge dog and many more animals all increasing in size until what was once a mouse is now a tiger. The tiger becomes greedy and wants more power. The hermit spots his greed and turns him into a mouse once again because he is not thankful for what he has. Children will learn from this book that it is important to be thankful for all the good you have in your life and not focus on what you don’t have.

The First Strawberries, By: Joseph Bruchac and Anna Vojtech

This Cherokee folktale about the first man and women teaches children the important lesson to forgive and forget. The story tells of the man coming home one afternoon from hunting and getting angry at the women because she did not prepare any food for him. They fight and then the woman runs away, leaving the man stricken with sorrow and trying to catch up with the woman to win her back. The woman finally stops fleeing when she sees the strawberries, giving the man ample time to catch up with her. They then forgive each other for their mistakes and go back home. Reading this book is a great way to celebrate Cherokee culture and to learn how to forgive someone even if they hurt you.

Toad is the Uncle of Heaven, By: Jeanne M. Lee

This Vietnamese folktale tells the story of the toad and how his determination and strength must be respected regardless of his size and appearance. There was a horrible drought in Vietnam, people and animals were dying and the toad knew that something must be done. He set off on a long journey to find the King of Heaven and ask him to pour rain down on the Earth. Along the way other animals joined him to the Heavens. When they got there, the King refused to speak with them, so the toad and the other animals had to prove themselves. Finally the King listened to their complaints and rained water down over all of the Earth. The King now respected the Toad for his bravery and determination and called him “uncle” which is a sign of respect. The bravery and courage of the toad teaches children that with a little courage of their own they can do anything.

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears, By: Verna Aardema and Leo and Diane Dillon

This entertaining African story about a pesky mosquito who will not stop buzzing and own up to his faults is the winner of a Caldecott Award. The iguana’s anger towards the mosquito’s foolishness sets off a chain reaction which spirals out of control, and one of the Owl’s children ends up dying because of it. The animal council then tries to find who is at fault until they finally realize it is the mosquito’s fault for telling nonsensical stories. This folktale teaches children that it is more important to tell the truth than to exaggerate facts and be dishonest.

Liang and the Magic Paintbrush, By: Demi

Originating in China, this folktale tells the story of Liang and the paintbrush he was gifted by the old man on the phoenix. It was a magic paintbrush because everything he painted with it came to life! Liang used it to paint things for the poor and the needy, and everyone was very thankful. Until one day the greedy emperor found out about the paintbrush and tried to steal it from Liang. But since the emperor could not paint well, everything turned into something he did not want it to be. The Emperor then freed Liang with the condition that he would paint whatever the Emperor wanted.  In the end, Liang was ordered to paint him an ocean and the Emperor drowned in it. This shows that if you are humble and you do things to benefit the needy then you will be blessed, but if you let greed get the best of you then there will be nobody to save you from drowning.

Rabbit and the Moon, By: Douglas Wood and Leslie Baker

This fable about friendship and giving is of Native American origin and still resonates with many people today. Rabbit has always wanted to go see the moon, and the crane was the only bird willing to fly the rabbit all the way there. The story goes that Rabbit is still on the moon now and anybody looking at the Moon from Earth can see Rabbit hopping around. In return for the trip to the moon, Rabbit gave the crane a red spot on his head. Crane’s legs were stretched out because the rabbit held on to them for so long during his flight. This story teaches that lending a helping hand to others will be a rewarding experience for all involved.

Language Lizard is offering a special 10% discount on some of our favorite bilingual folktales for World Folktales and Fables Week. Use code WFF2018 to get a 10% discount on The Dragon’s Tears, The Giant Turnip and Yeh Hsien: A Chinese Cinderella through the end of March 2018.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day – January 27

multicultural children's books in outline of earthLanguage Lizard is a Proud Sponsor of Multicultural Children’s Book Day on January 27th. Let’s work together to get more books that celebrate diversity into our classrooms and libraries! Check out our previous post on 3 reasons why multicultural children’s books are so very important.

Multicultural Book Sets for Pre-K through 5th Grade

25 Favorite Children's Books About DiversityWe offer numerous Multicultural Book Sets that celebrate diversity and teach children about different cultures. Check out our new, exclusive collections that feature the best multicultural books for preschoolers and kindergartners, grades 1-3, and grades 3-5. We also have sets that focus on cultural holidays and traditions around the world.

#ReadYourWorld with Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Multicultural Childrens Book Day banner 2018January 27th of each year is Multicultural Children’s Book Day. It’s a day to “not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these of books into classrooms and libraries.”

Use #ReadYourWorld on social media, and share your love of diverse characters and multicultural stories. It’s an easy way to help get more multicultural children’s books out into the world. Or go to the event’s website and find other ways to support this great cause. While you’re there, don’t forget your Free Classroom Empathy Kit and Diversity Book Lists and Activities for Teachers and Parents!

Comment and share your recommended reading list for Multicultural Children’s Book Day!

Why Multicultural Children’s Books Are So Very Important

child reading a multicultural bookWe’ve written before about the benefits of bilingual books at home and in the classroom. But what about multicultural books, with characters as diverse as our communities are today? There’s a movement to bring attention to the need for more multicultural children’s books, and to bring more of those books into classrooms and libraries. Here are 3 reasons why it’s so important that kids have access to more multicultural books… and how you can help get more diverse books out there.

1. Kids See Themselves in the Pages

Child reading Chinese Cinderella storyStories touch us most when we see ourselves reflected in the characters. Until very recently, the vast majority of characters in children’s books were white, largely because of what’s known as the “publishing diversity gap.” As recently as 2014, only 10% of children’s books featured non-white characters. This, in spite of the fact that by 2020, more than half of American children will identify as a non-white ethnicity.

It can be disheartening for students to read a never-ending stream of stories featuring characters they don’t relate to. Students in diverse classrooms get a boost of self-esteem when they read or hear books in which their cultures or ethnicities are represented and celebrated. It’s a proud moment to see parts of your own life showcased for an attentive audience made up of your classmates.

2. Kids See Life Through Another Person’s Eyes

child reading a diverse book

Kids are inherently self-centered, and they gradually learn empathy in order to have meaningful connections with other people. Researchers believe empathy may be the key to having a joyful life because it leads to better relationships at home, school, and eventually work. It is certainly key to ending behaviors like bullying and cruelty.

The tricky part is this: You can’t really teach empathy like you would teach a kid to ride a bike. It’s something that must be modeled, nurtured, and kindled. Empathy is more than simply understanding another person’s point of view. Even selfish people can do that. (Con men do it particularly well.)

Empathy involves understanding, respecting and placing value on another person’s perspective. These complex feelings require a multi-faceted, immersive experience. Children’s books are a great way to introduce an entirely new point of view, a different way of life, and also address important life topics with our kids.

3. Celebrate a More Realistic, Diverse World

When books are filled with only white characters, it creates a false impression of the world at large. It can create a sense of “otherness,” or Us vs Them. The reality is that we live in diverse communities, and our population is getting more diverse every year.

If we want our children to truly succeed and flourish in their lives, it’s essential that they understand and celebrate diversity. In this Fast Company article on career skills critical for success, being able to motivate a diverse workforce is #1.  A knowledge of other cultures is #2. In fact, almost the entire list consists of communicating effectively with people with other viewpoints, and having an open mind that can quickly adapt to different ways of thinking.

#ReadYourWorld with Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Multicultural Children's Book Day 2018 bannerJanuary 27th of each year is Multicultural Children’s Book Day.  Its mission is “to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these of books into classrooms and libraries.”

It’s an easy way to help get more multicultural children’s books out into the world. Just use #ReadYourWorld on social media, and share your love of diverse characters and multicultural stories. Participate in their eBook fundraiser, and 100% of the proceeds will be used to gift multicultural books to classroom libraries.

Don’t forget your free Empathy Kit, which includes an immigration and refugee book list, classroom activities, and this colorful poster:

Multicultural Children's Book Day 2018 free poster

Language Lizard is a Proud Sponsor of Multicultural Children’s Book Day. We also offer numerous Multicultural Book Sets that celebrate diversity and teach children about different cultures.

In 2016, Multicultural Children’s Book Day was able to reach 3.6 billion social media shares, and trended at #2 on Twitter. Help them surpass those numbers, and spread the word!

Comment below and tell us about your favorite multicultural book!

Giving Thanks Around the World

Thanksgiving is here! Let’s take a look at the meaning behind this holiday in the US, and what its traditions have in common with celebrations in other parts of the world. And learn to say “thank you” in different languages!

Harvest Celebrations

basket with food itemsThe first Thanksgivings celebrated by the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians were a celebration of a good harvest.

Harvest celebrations are held in every part of the world, throughout the year. For example, Vietnam celebrates the Mid-Autumn Festival, and Israel celebrates the festival of Sukkot. (Check out our post for fun and easy kids crafts that celebrate these harvest celebrations and more.)

Giving Thanks

hands holding "give thanks"Thanksgiving is an opportunity to pause our hectic schedules, and appreciate all that we have to be grateful for.

In the US, we generally express our gratitude with the words “thank you,” with meaningful gifts, and with gestures like hugs and handshakes.

Every language has its own way of saying the words “thank you,” as shown in this colorful thank you poster with 40 different languages (e.g., Gracias, Danke, Salamat, Obrigado, Hvala, Paldies, Diolch, Tack, Gijtto, Falemindert, Asante, Merci).  Each culture has its own unique set of norms for showing gratitude, as well. In India, for example, people only actually say “thank you” to strangers, not loved ones.  And, in the Philippines, the act of giving is given more importance than the actual item being given.

Sharing a Meal with Loved Ones

people sharing a holiday mealThanksgiving’s “main event” is the meal. While the stuffed turkey is the star of the show, just as important are the sides of cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and countless others.

The first Thanksgiving menu in 1621 likely included seafood, like mussels and lobster, and a dish cooked inside a hollowed-out pumpkin.

There are a variety of traditional dishes enjoyed at gatherings in the winter months. In Mexico, tamales are a popular dish. In Japan, people dine on hot Udon soup. Speckknödel (dumplings) is traditional in Germany. See our post for more winter holiday dishes, with links to recipes.

What’s your favorite part of the Thanksgiving holiday? Comment below and share your unique traditions!

“Happy Thanksgiving” by Faith Goble via Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/8UykdQ

“A holiday feast with my dearest friends, Masako and Satch Takayasu” by Ron Frazier via Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/pEzNEZ

Huge Bilingual Books Giveaway for Celebrating the Bilingual Child Month

Language Lizard will give away a free “surprise set” of bilingual books to at least one lucky winner every month for a year… so you have more chances to win! We are launching our most exciting BILINGUAL BOOK GIVEAWAY on October 1st, 2017, the start of Celebrating the Bilingual Child Month.

Celebrating the Bilingual Child Month

October is an exciting month for language learners because it’s also Celebrating the Bilingual Child Month! Let’s take this opportunity to recognize the many children who speak two or more languages and understand multiple cultures. We can encourage literacy and parental involvement, and celebrate the children who work so hard to learn a new language.

Enter the Language Lizard Bilingual Book Giveaway

We will give away a free “surprise set” of bilingual books to at least one lucky winner every month for a year, so you have many chances to win. Over $1,000 of language materials will be given away! The multicultural children’s books offered in this giveaway will engage and inspire teachers and students in their continued language learning.

How do I enter for a chance to win?

It’s easy! Just fill out the form on our Giveaway Page AND sign up for Language Lizard’s Culture Connection newsletter.*

The sooner you sign up, the more chances you have to win – enter today! For more information and details on the giveaway, visit our Giveaway Page.

What languages will I receive?

Winners will receive bilingual books in one or more of the languages listed on their entry form.

Language Lizard bilingual books are available in English with Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, Burmese, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Croatian, Czech, Dari, Dutch, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Gujarati, Haitian Creole, Hebrew, Hindi, Hmong, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Karen (Sgaw), Korean, Kurdish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malay, Malayalam, Nepali, Norwegian, Panjabi (Punjabi), Pashto/Pashtu, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Scottish-Gaelic, Shona, Slovakian, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Tagalog, Tamil, Thai, Tigrinya, Turkish, Twi, Urdu, Vietnamese, Welsh, Yiddish and Yoruba.

*Note: Existing newsletter subscribers do not need to resubscribe. Books will be sent to US or Canada addresses only.

Comment below and tell us how you celebrate the outstanding bilingual children in your life!

 

Text and fade added to “2010 10 31 Autumn leaves leave 4” by Mark Strobl via Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/8PPonW

 

 

World Teacher’s Day Giveaway

World Teachers Day is coming up on October 5. Don’t forget to tell the wonderful teachers in your life how much their hard work is appreciated!

Brief History of World Teachers Day

World Teachers Day was first founded in 1994 by the United Nations to commemorate various intergovernmental recommendations regarding the rights and responsibilities of teachers around the world. These recommendations are guidelines that elevate the status of teaching and promote high quality education.

Enter Our World Teachers Day Giveaway

We’ve teamed up for a K-2 Teacher Giveaway in honor of World Teachers Day. Enter now through October 7, 2017, for a chance to win!

Enter for a chance to win a $100 Visa Gift Card
1. Like this post
2. Comment with your grade level
3. Enter our short Rafflecopter

4. Help us spread the word

How will you celebrate World Teachers Day? Comment below and share!

“Madagascar Teaching” by Frontierofficial is licensed under CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/dgmzdB

World Refugee Day – Support Those in Need

refugee children using Language Lizard books
Language Lizard bilingual books used in a refugee camp

World Refugee Day is coming up on June 20. Marked in over 100 countries, its goal is to raise awareness and funds to help provide refugees with shelter, food and safety.

There are an estimated 60 million refugees in the world. More than half of them are children.  According to the UN, every minute 24 people become refugees who are fleeing war or persecution.

Refugee children in the US face many challenges when adapting to a new life: culture shock, making friends, and learning a new language are just a few.  There are educational resources out there to help ease the transition for newcomers, as well as for teachers, administrators and other students.

Refugee child reading a Language Lizard multicultural children's book
Refugee child reading a multicultural children’s book

There are a number of organizations that support children living in refugee camps.

We at Language Lizard had the pleasure of working with volunteers at The School Box Project, an organization that provides trauma-informed care to relieve the effects that years of violence and conflict have had on the children emotionally and physically. They run various programs that include fun, physical games, as well as projects that allow children to sit quietly and create beautiful artwork.

In Greece, volunteers used Arabic-English bilingual books in a refugee camp to engage children in creative art and reading sessions with parents and teachers. 

Whether you support a local refugee family, help a newcomer in your school, or donate to a large refugee organization, every act of compassion makes a difference.

Do you have plans to mark World Refugee Day? Comment below and share your experiences.

Children’s Day: Win a Multicultural Stories Book Set!

Children celebrating Children's Day

Every June, Children’s Day is celebrated in more than 50 countries around the world. Generally, it’s a day to celebrate the happiness and growth of our children, and commit to protecting their well-being.  Language Lizard is celebrating this day by promoting children’s literacy with a giveaway of Multicultural Books!

In the US, Children’s Day is the second Sunday of June. While the holiday is not widely celebrated here, there is a movement to bring more attention to the holiday, and increase its popularity.

Children's Day Carp Streamers

Although the customs vary in each country, Children’s Day is usually celebrated with fruit juices, kid-pleasing treats, and fun decorations, like dolls and streamers.

We’ve teamed up on a K-2 Teacher Giveaway of a Children of the World class library! Enter below by June 17, 2017, for a chance to win!

Enter to win a multicultural stories class library

“1.6.17 Sofia on Children’s Day 186” by Donald Judge via Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/VbDTRD

“Children’s Day Japan” by Japanexperterna.se via Flickr is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/sbSaHu

Multicultural Books for National Reading Month & Giveaway!

woman in a library

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!)

Grandma’s Saturday Soup

Grandma's Saturday Soup - multicultural children's book

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!

Welcome to the World Baby

Welcome to the World Baby - diverse children's books

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.

Yum! Let’s Eat!

Yum! Let's Eat - multicultural books for preschool

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!

The Wibbly Wobbly Tooth

Wibbly Wobbly Tooth - multicultural picture books

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!

Giveaway Multicultural Class Library

 

“Woman in Library” by David Niblack via imagebase.net is licensed under CC0 http://imagebase.net/photo/696/Woman-in-Library.html