What Kimi Discovered: Alan M. Weber and Illustrations by Erica Arndis& Alaniz
Children learn by example and the information imparted to them by educators and parents is paramount. But what happens when the facts are incorrect, the information that you learned wrong and the educational system needs to be corrected in order to guide the paths of children and even adults in the right directions. Cultural differences, historical facts and heritage are at the heart of this book as Kimi and her parents take us on a journey into the past and bringing out the real truths in the present.
Kimi is excited because she is in kindergarten with Ms. Brooks and created her first picture, a portrait of her family. Her parents loved it but then something happens that changes it all when they do not put her picture about Columbus Day on the refrigerator. Why?
Her parents had a sad look on their face and said the drawing was good and had made pictures of the three ships and explained that the class was going to celebrate Columbus Day and then came Halloween and she learned that one of her classmates did not celebrate the holiday and she wanted to understand why?
Then Thanksgiving comes and she learns about the Pilgrims and the Indians and how they had a big feast and became friends. Much of what she learned about Thanksgiving was incorrect and when she created a huge headdress of feathers and showed it to her mom this is where things changed, and a huge discussion came about.
Her father explained that the Indians did not wear hats. There were no big feathered headdresses and the teacher’s information was incorrect. As an educator the author’s research and knowledge about Columbus and Thanksgiving gives children, parents, teachers and discussion groups the information needed that should be imparted to students when speaking about Thanksgiving and learning about how different people celebrate it in their own way. Cultural differences are paramount in this book and realizing that there are many different cultures that celebrate Thanksgiving, New Years and even their own holiday celebrations during the Christmas season comes through as lessons in differences, understanding and traditions.
Imagine learning that the Indians that were there at the time were her great great great great grandparents and she is Wampanoag. She thought she was Indian but did not know that there were so many tribes. She would also learn though the illustrations what they wore. The men wore headbands with maybe one or two feathers except for the Chief and respected elders who might have more. No feathery bonnets and women made their own clothing including long dresses no headdresses. The things they wore were for special occasions to show pride in their culture, traditions and ancestors.
Next the author explains POW WOW as Kimi states that they are going to have one in school, but he tells her that it has special meaning. It not respected for outsiders to treat it like some party. There is much more about it that he shares.
Next her father explains about Columbus and the fact that he was cruel to the Indians and that they don’t celebrate Columbus Day or Thanksgiving, but they celebrate Indigenous People’s Day because that is what they are. And for those that do not know Columbus did not discover American the Indians were already there for thousands of years and Kimi felt so much pride.
There are many educators in this world, but Ms. Brooks was rare and when her parents spoke with her, she invited them to speak with her class. She explains to the class that her information might not be correct, and that Kimi’s father would explain it to them plus showing pictures and allowing the children to ask questions. He explains that they wear clothing of their ancestors on special occasions and how the families of the children might do the same. Timmy shares about how his family celebrates St. Patrick’s Day and how her father smiled and nodded his approval. Then Kimi realizes and thinks about her friend Christopher and that he like her family does not celebrate Halloween. There are so many families that do not celebrate other holidays and have their own traditions. What did she discover and what does she hope for herself in the future? To find out what she learned you need to read this informative book, learn the lessons along with Kimi and read the final two pages of the book to learn more.
Each child in this class learned an important lesson: WE ALL MATTER! To understand even more read this book, share your thoughts with other parents, students and teachers and then have a sharing your traditions day with your neighbors and friends. Teachers might invite other parents to speak with their classes to learn about how they honor different holidays and traditions. In a world where there is so much negative and people do not embrace the cultures and differences of others this book sets the bar and it is a great beginning to teach understanding, culture and truths about the many holidays that we all celebrate and more. The author created a great book for everyone to learn that there are so many different people in this world it would be great to understand their traditions and embrace our differences.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews
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