Can You Say Peace? by Karen Katz.
Using her trademark style, Katz creates colorful children. They have typical physical characteristics for people from a number of cultures, and facing pages feature scenes depicting their home countries. Each page says the name (which would be a typical one for the features part of the world) of the character and the child’s country of origin. Under the child, Katz writes the word for “Peace” in the language of the country. She also shows how to say the word. At the end of the book, there is a page that states the languages featured and also lists other terms for “Peace.” This colorful book does not offend since each child lives in the featured country instead of being its sole representative. It is a warm read for young kids and their caregivers to share.
I Am the World by Charles R. Smith, Jr.
This book features beautiful photographs of children and teenagers. Each represents what appears to be his or her culture. There is pride in each heritage without in any way diminishing the others. At the end, a glossary identifies all of the cultural terms and their countries of origin. Although more realistic than Katz’s book, this text is straight-forward enough to make sense to preschool children and to work well with elementary-aged kids, too. The message is clear and encouraging.
One World, One Day by Barbara Kerley
This book also features photographs, although they come from the cameras of many National Geographic professionals. The book itself chronicles a day from waking to sleeping which details coming from all around the world. As different as some of the experiences are, the text flows seamlessly. It is at a level that people aged 3 and up will understand and enjoy. For older readers, there is a detailed description of each photograph, including its location and context.
Both Can You Say Peace? and One World, One Day feature world maps at the end with the locations featured highlighted. I am the World instead has a variety of maps on its end papers. These books all show that multiculturalism is about celebrating what makes us unique while also appreciating the ways that we are the same. I love how Barbara Kerley put it in her letter at the end of One World, One Day: “The more that we can embrace our commonality, the more tolerant we can be of our differences.”
About the Author
Anna Francesca Garcia is the education librarian for the Kansas City Public Library. She has worked at libraries in Nevada and Missouri for nine years. She earned her Master of Library and Information Sciences from the University of North Texas. Learning French, Hebrew, and Spanish have opened worlds to her that she never would have imagined before. Merci, todah, gracias, and thank you for reading this.