BLOGS  >  AUGUST 4, 2021

Celebrations Around the World

BY JILLIAN HEISE


In May, when students in the United States will likely be celebrating the end of another school year, many of whom might engage with graduation celebrations, I thought it would also be nice to look at various types of celebrations around the world for all kinds of reasons and during all kinds of seasons.

One of the tenets of my goals with #ClassroomBookADay is not only to read aloud a picture book every day of the school year in order to increase the volume of complete, shared texts we can reference as a class, but also to work toward representing as much inclusiveness as I can through the picture books I choose to share.

If you have been following my blog series over these last two school years with Follett, I hope you have noticed that there is an effort in every single book list to include viewpoints of the global majority through characters and creators and topics. As we consider Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop’s seminal piece from 1990, it is vital to consider how students in all of our schools can get both windows into experiences of those unlike their own and the sliding doors to walk through into those experiences, as well as the mirrors that reflect their own lived experiences.

Some of the picture books you will find in this recommendation list will be ones that include celebrations from a variety of cultures in one book: Jewish holidays throughout the year, celebrations with light, and other thematic connections to incorporate multiple holidays or celebrations.

I especially appreciate the back matter in these picture books because they provide another avenue for students (and their teachers!) to learn about celebrations from multiple cultures in just one book. It creates an instant text pairing for students to compare!

Other selections on this list focus on just one cultural celebration: Diwali, Yule, Ramadan, Lunar New Year, Holi, New Year’s Day, Raksha Bandhan, Dia de los Muertos, Juneteenth, an Ojibwe powwow, and more. 

In considering the topic of celebrations for this last book list of this school year, I hope you will find many kinds of representations that will work for your classroom – both as windows and mirrors (shout-out to Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop...every time!) – and that it will encourage you to continue to strive to provide the most inclusive representation you can in your #ClassroomBookADay and curriculum choices.

View the full list on Titlewave. 


Jillian Heise 

Jillian Heise, NBCT and MLIS, is currently a K-5 Library Media Teacher in southeastern Wisconsin. She previously taught Grades 7 and 8 ELA in the Milwaukee area for 11 years. Jillian is the founder of #ClassroomBookADay and dedicated to supporting all student identities and lived experiences through access to inclusive literature. She brings her literacy expertise and knowledge of kidlit to her role as Chair of the USRA Children's Literature Committee. You can find Jillian online at Heise Reads & Recommends and @heisereads.

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