3.RL.1: Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
3.W.6: With guidance and support from adults, use technology to produce and publish writing (using keyboarding skills) as well as to interact and collaborate with others.
3.W.8: Recall information from experiences or gather information from print and digital sources; take brief notes on sources and sort evidence into provided categories.
Measurement Criteria: Each student will receive a hard copy of the "Family Traditions" project rubric.
Anaya, R. A., & Gonzales, E. (1998). Farolitos for Abuelo. New York: Hyperion Books for Children.
Farolitos for Abuelo is a children’s book written by Rudolfo Anaya and illustrated by Edward Gonzales. The book is about a girl named Luz and her family who live in San Juan, New Mexico. She is especially close to her grandfather and is devastated when he tragically dies from pneumonia after rescuing a boy from a freezing river. Luz decides to honor her grandfather by placing farolitos, around his grave. The book addresses the Spanish cultural tradition of making farolitos from brown paper bags, sand, and a candle and illuminating them during Christmas. It also deals with death and how cultural traditions can help honor loved ones who have past away. Another significant aspect of this book is that Luz builds upon an existing tradition. In addition to making farolitos for Christmas, she and her family place them around her grandfather’s grave to honor his memory. The author introduces several Spanish foods, cultural items, and phrases. They are defined in a glossary at the back of the book.
Powell, J. (2008). Harvest festival. London: Franklin Watts.
Harvest Festival is a nonfiction children’s book written by Jillian Powell. The book explores different cultural traditions that celebrate a good harvest. Some of these celebrations include Kwanzaa, Thanksgiving, Pongal, Baisakhi, and many others. These celebrations can be grouped into a variety of cultural concepts including religion, honoring ancestors who have past away, cross-cultural experiences, feasting, and celebration of “plenty”. Harvest Festival contains a glossary, a “Religions in this book” page, and an index to help students navigate the pages and understand the concepts introduced. Powell includes several images depicting many diverse people and cultural traditions. She presents information in a way that promotes respect and tolerance while conveying the significance of each tradition. This book provides concrete facts and details which makes it a perfect fit into the collection of four books I have chosen. Though two other books are based on true stories, they use illustrations to help tell story. The inclusion of actual images is critical to facilitating true empathy in child readers, as they depict real people rather than just characters.
Soto, G. (1993). Too Many Tamales. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.
Too Many Tamales is a fictional children’s book written by Gary Soto and illustrated by Ed Martinez. The book is about a young girl, Maria, who accidently loses her mother’s wedding ring in a bowl of masa while making tamales for a Christmas get together. To find the ring, Maria and her cousins eat two dozen tamales, only for the ring to be accidently swallowed by one of the children. At the end of the book, Maria finds that the ring was on her mother’s finger the whole time and the family must make another batch of tamales. The book addresses the very important cultural tradition of feasting with loved ones. Readers can learn about the common Spanish tradition of making tamales during Christmas time while building their own connections. This book would be best accompanied with questions that help students relate the story to their own feasting traditions and dishes.
Stillerman, M., & Gerber, P. (2004). Nine spoons: a Chanukah story. Sacramento, CA: Clearinghouse for Specialized Media & Technology.
Nine Spoons is a heartwarming, but somewhat devastating children’s book written by Marci Stillerman and illustrated by Pesach Gerber. The book begins with a family meeting on the last night of Chanukah and listening to a story told by “Oma”. This story takes place in a concentration camp during the Holocaust and is about a group of women and children who gather spoons to create a Menorah. It covers many important cultural traditions including oral storytelling, religious holidays, and symbolism. Nine Spoons has a profound message that some people are willing to risk their lives to preserve their traditions. A few of the characters were not acquainted with each other at all and still worked to find spoons to celebrate the tradition. This shows that traditions can bring people together based on mutual culture, faith, or respect for one another. It promotes hope and the notion that one’s culture cannot easily be stripped from their identity even under cruel and oppressive regimes.