Even though Baby Mwah is only a few months old, I’ve been pondering the best way to teach him tolerance and respect for other cultures as he grows. I know that one of the best ways is by modeling love and respect for others, but I also did some research about more ways to teach your children to appreciate other cultures.
This article on the Scholastic website has some great tips about how to teach your child to be a citizen of the world. One of the tips was about creating a global bookshelf: “Stock your shelves with stories that represent different cultures, written in a variety of languages. You might include a collection of alphabet books depicting the many alphabets of world languages, and then switch to counting books, which illustrate how people count in different ways. Legends from both American cultures and world cultures bring to the shelf a rich array of heroes and heroines as well as explanations of how the world works.”
One of the first additions to Baby Mwah’s Global Bookshelf is Sikulu and Harambe by the Zambezi River: An African version of the Good Samaritan Story. Sikulu the spider and Harambe the hippo are heading to the river for a drink of water when they encounter an old woman in need of help. While the other animals in the village create excuses to avoid helping the woman, Sikulu and Harambe come to her aid even though Sikulu is afraid of the water.
This engaging adaptation of the Parable of the Good Samaritan is based on an actual African folktale. If your child is already familiar with this parable from Sunday School, you could use this book to discuss the similarities between this folktale and the parable. What a beautiful and simple way to show your child how compassion and kindness to strangers is a universal value that transcends culture.
The book is set in Zambia, and it has an informative glossary of words, names and places within the narrative as well as information about Zambia and its culture. It is the first in a series of adventure books that will follow Sikulu the spider and Harambe the Hippo as they travel to different countries in Africa.
Do you have more suggestions about great books for Baby Mwah’s bookshelf? Leave a comment on this post about your favorite book.