________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 8 . . . . December 5, 2008

cover Chinese New Year. (Celebrations in My World).

Carrie Gleason.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-4298-2 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-4280-7 (RLB).

Subject Headings:
Chinese New Year-Juvenile literature. China-soul life and customs-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

***½ /4

cover Christmas. (Celebrations in My World).

Molly Aloian.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2009.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-4305-7 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-4287-6 (RLB).

Subject Heading:
Christmas-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

***½ /4

cover Cinco de Mayo. (Celebrations in My World).

Kate Torpie.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2009.
32 pp., pbk. & hc, $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-4299-9 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-4281-4 (RLB).

Subject Headings:
Cinco de Mayo (Mexican holiday)-Juvenile literature.
Mexico-Soul life and custome-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

***½ /4

cover Constitution Day. (Celebrations in My World).

Molly Aloian.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2009.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-4304-0 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-4286-9 (RLB).

Subject Headings:
Constitution Day (U.S.)-Juvenile literature.
United States Constitution-Anniversaries, etc.-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

***½ /4

cover Day of the Dead. (Celebrations in My World).

Carrie Gleason.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2009.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-4297-5 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-4279-1 (RLB).

Subject Headings:
All Souls' Day-Juvenile literature.
Mexico-Social life and customs-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

***½ /4

cover Diwali. (Celebrations in My World).

Kate Torpie.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2009.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-4300-2 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-4282-1 (RLB).

Subject Heading:
Diwali-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

***½ /4

cover Hanukkah. (Celebrations in My World).

Mollie Aloian
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2009.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-4301-9 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-4283-8 (RLB).

Subject Heading:
Hanukkah-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

***½ /4

cover Kwanzaa. (Celebrations in My World).

Molly Aloian.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2009.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-4302-6 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-4284-5 (RLB).

Subject Heading:
Kwanzaa-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

***½ /4

cover Ramadan. (Celebrations in My World).

Kate Torpie.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2009.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-4303-3 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-4285-2 (RLB).

Subject Headings:
Ramadan-Juvenile literature.
Fasts and feasts-Islam-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

***½ /4

excerpt:

Each of the Kwanzaa symbols stands for something important in the lives if African-Americans. The unity cup stands for staying together. In fact, another word for unity is togetherness. The candle holder stands for the ancestors who lived in Africa long ago. The Swahili word for candle holder is kinara. The kinara is made of wood. It stands in the middle of a Kwanzaa display. Fruits and vegetables stand for the first African harvest celebrations and the hard work it took Africans to grow the crops. Seven candles stand for Kwanzaa’s seven principles. The woven mat stands for tradition and history. People place all the symbols on the mat. Each ear of corn stands for each child in a family. Each kernel represents children that will be born in the future. The final symbol is gifts. Gifts stand for promises made during Kwanzaa that are kept throughout the year. (From Kwanzaa.)

Designed for young readers, the new “Celebrations in My World” series is comprised of nine titles, most of which have 14 chapters. Each title examines the history, traditions, beliefs and celebrations of the featured holiday. Written in kid-friendly language, the text is printed in a large, simple font on coloured backgrounds, adding visual appeal. Abundant, vibrant colour photographs, drawings and maps highlight the main concepts, while “Did you know?” arcs provide additional information. Some titles also have recipes for traditional foods or instructions for games. A table of contents, a glossary and an index are included.

     Chinese New Year focuses on a 15-day celebration that follows a period of housecleaning and preparation. In this title, readers will learn about the good luck symbols, traditional foods (dumplings and long noodles, for example), red lucky money envelopes, the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac and the dragon dance. The Chinese New Year ends with the lantern festival during which brightly coloured lanterns are printed with good luck messages or riddles.

     With its roots in pre-Christian December holidays, such as the Winter Solstice and Saturnalia, Christmas is filled with many traditions adopted from different parts of the world. In Christmas, the religious meaning of the holiday is presented along with information about the symbolism behind various decorations, foods, Santa Claus and gift-giving, along with the importance of helping others who are less fortunate. How Christmas is celebrated in warm climates is also mentioned.

     Cinco de Mayo, though a Mexican holiday, is even more popular in the United States. It celebrates Mexico’s independence from the French and is characterized by street fairs, parades, and fiestas with traditional Mexican foods, costumes, mariachi bands and piñatas. The fiesta ends with fireworks. Other topics in Cinco de Mayo include the historical background of the holiday and Mexican art. There is a recipe for tacos and instructions for the hat dance.

    A relatively new holiday, created by the US Congress in 2004, Constitution Day, in simple terms, honours the “birthday” of the American government. All across the US, schools and colleges that receive federal funding are obliged to teach their students about the Constitution on September 17th every year. Topics covered in Constitution Day are the document, itself, the National Archives and other places to learn about the Constitution, steps in the naturalization process and ways to celebrate. Also provided is a web site address where students can obtain facts, important dates, crossword and word search puzzles, treasure hunts and famous quotes, all relating to the Constitution.

    Day of the Deadexplains the importance of this Mexican holiday- to honour family members who have died in the past year. Held each year on November 1st and 2nd, Day of the Dead is not meant to be scary or solemn, but rather it is a special time for family and friends. Skulls masks, papier maché skeletons and paper cut-outs are displayed by street vendors while families place offerings, such as favourite foods, sugar skulls and candles, to their deceased loved ones on an altar in the home. There is a procession to the graveyard and gifts are placed on the graves of children. Sweet breads, chocolate, tamales and mole sauce are popular foods at this time.

    Diwali highlights a five-day Hindu festival celebrating the triumph of good over evil, or light over darkness. Each day of the festival honours a Hindu legend that teaches a specific lesson. The people celebrate in a variety of ways- through prayer, dancing, drawing mendhi tattoos, lighting diyas (clay lamps) and fireworks, and decorating the house with rangoli, designs fingerpainted on the floor with rice powder and moist coloured chalk. A recipe for a sweet treat called Chocolate Barfi is included.

    Hanukkah begins with the story of the Maccabees who defeated a Greek king in a three-year battle to win back their temple and the freedom to practice their own religion. This eight-day holiday, also known as the festival of lights, celebrates the rededication of the temple and the lighting of the lamp and the miracle of the oil that lasted eight days and nights. In this title, readers will find out about the menorah, special Hanukkah foods, songs and prayers, as well as learn how to play the dreidel game.

    Kwanzaa explains the African-American festival, started in 1966, that honours the family, community and culture of the people. Lasting seven days, the festival focuses on seven principles and has seven symbols, all of which are thoroughly explained in the book. Some of the principles are unity, self-determination, creativity and faith. The special preparations, foods and dress of this special time are featured.

    Ramadan highlights the observances of Muslims during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. These include daytime fasting and prayer as well as special meals, Sahoor and Iftar, which are served before sunrise and after sunset, respectively. The holiday is all about giving and sharing and celebrates the time that the first verses of the Qur’an were given to the Prophet Muhammad. Ramadan can occur in any season, its date depending on the lunar calendar, and ends with a three-day festival called Eid-ul-Fitr. In this title, readers will learn about the parts of a mosque and the Night of Power, during which people set goals to do good deeds.

   Interesting and informative, the volumes in this series will not only help children to better understand other cultures but also to celebrate diversity.

Recommended.

Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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