Every once in a while a wonderful book crosses my path that explains complex concepts with ease.
During our cultural study with Mother Goose Time's, "It's a Small World" we are observing peoples, traditions, foods, and clothes of different cultures around the world. It is giving us lots of opportunity to discuss what makes us similar and unique!
"What If The Zebras Lost Their Stripes," by John Reitano deals with the topic of racism with childlike innocence. One of the things I LOVE about small children is that they don't even know to notice skin tone as something that makes them different from another anyway. They will excitedly relay to us how "My fwiend and me look JUST alike, Ms. Donna!!" because they are both in ponytails or they both have pink shoes. Small children only "hate" when someone takes their favorite doll or gets to "their" swing first. "I HATE 'dem, Ms. Donna!" to which we are able to reply, "You may be upset that you someone took your toy, but let's work together to fix it!"
Children readily see past the surface and take note of acts of kindness, smiles, and silly moments shared.
When a child does point out someone in a book with features or tones that they consider different than themselves, we discuss it. We then move to the things we have in common with different cultures; because you know what???
If we spend too much time focusing on things that make us different, we fail to see all the unique beauty we each possess that draws us closer to one another. If we can draw any universal truth from history, it is that we are all in this together. And THAT is a concept worth teaching.
While searching for new books at a local outlet I came across what, at first glance, was a book about Zebras.
"Perfect!" I thought as I quickly scooped it into my basket thinking I found a book about African animals. It was SO much more! "What If Zebra's Lost Their Stripes," by John Reitano easily explains to my students how silly it is to decide if we like someone by shades of light and dark of a meek shell that embraces the soul.
"What if Zebras lost their stripes, and some lost black and some lost white? Would they think that it's all right, or would Zebras start to fight?"
The poignant message of this sweet book with beautiful illustrations by William Haines, and great rhyme and meter, is that the color of their fur is not their doing as it asks "What if they lost their stripes?"
"Teach only love, for that is what you are."
Life is made of moments...
"There isn't anything more full of hope, joy and peace than a child's smile... It captures the mundane and makes it extraordinary." - LaDonna Woolsey
I am a Mother Goose Time Blogger. I decided to become one after trying their products because I they are comprehensive and serve my mixed age group well. I do receive products to review from Mother Goose Time and do so with my own honest and thorough opinions. For more information, please contact me at Ladonna@woolseyacademy.com