After a busy week, I’m finally able to update you on what’s been happening! If you follow my Instagram, you probably already know: children gathered from completely different backgrounds last week for Reading Culture‘s multicultural workshop series. I don’t think I could have been more excited to show off my books, Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox by Danielle Daniel, which focuses on the idea of the totem animal in a direct but beautiful way; and Stolen Words by Melanie Florence, which introduced the history of the residential school system — a touchy but necessary conversation.
Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox by Danielle Daniel
Both books touched on different aspects of Aboriginal customs and history, a little bit of the Cree language, and focused on a few different tribes across Canada and the US. In all aspects we talked about stories, and the fact that everyone has one, and how easy it is to get to learn about someone’s story simply by asking the question, “Why?”
Stolen Words by Melanie Florence
An open mic meant that conversation went above and beyond my expectations (which my husband tells me were already pretty high). I thoroughly enjoyed feeding and being fed by young minds who were eager to read, interact and discuss when given the floor.
Tlingit Art Activity Courtesy of the Crafty Classroom
Building a reading culture is, in the first place, about “reading” — it’s baked right in the title. I’m an avid believer that building a reading culture also means reinforcement. Getting the kids involved in activities and games that had them visualizing the ideas in the books allowed our conversation to manifest before their eyes. We answered the questions: What is a totem animal? What is my totem animal? And why do I feel connected to that animal? We looked at what it means to have a “culture” or a “cultural voice” and how it feels to have that voice taken away.
While one can only skim the surface on a topic like this in 3 hours, it was a great introduction to the Aboriginal culture that we’re supposed to know more about, both in Canada and beyond.
Stay tuned for more and happy reading!
Kristen Scott Ndiaye
Look out for our first trip to build our first bookshelf in West Africa!