Celebrations Around the World

A second grade teacher at a nearby school asked if she could bring her students and those of another teacher to learn about Cinco de Mayo. Not my favorite holiday, but a good opening to a discussion of how things are around the world. I talked about two holidays that are both celebrated May 5th on different sides of the planet: Cinco de Mayo in North America and Children’s day in Asia, with an eye to promoting our summer reading club on One World, Many Stories.

Because life is like this sometimes, the group showed up at 1 p.m. for a 1:30 presentation, and I walked in the door from running errands with half of my lunch left to hear that the 50 second graders were already here. So we dove right into the presentation!

Cactus Soup First up I’ll read Cactus Soup, which is a variant of the traditional tale “stone soup” set in Mexico during one of their revolutions. I’ll tell them there are two important things to learn from the book. The first is about Mexican culture and history. And the second is about the story itself.

The history that leads up to the various Mexican revolutions int he 19th century is very messy and complicated. I’m going to do a very short presentation on the history of this holiday. I have a good short book that explains it simply. Cinco De Mayo (The Library of Holidays) I want to put some pictures up so the kids can see what these celebrations are like. I also want to point out that there are all kinds of celebrations around the world that are different from ours. I’ll share the fact that the 5th of May is also a holiday in Japan. That it is the celebration of Kodomono-hi.

From this discussion of the holiday, I want to move to folk tales in general and worldwide, so I can promote the Summer Reading Program here. I’ll ask the kids if they can remember the story we read, and explain the outline. Then I’ll show some other variations–stone soup, button soup, and different books. The fact that folktales have different variations and can be told in different ways around the world is one of our Summer Reading Program weekly themes, so it makes a nice segue into discussions of the Summer Reading Program. Stone Soup Button Soup (Bank Street Level 2*)

Sign-ups start May 31st, right after Memorial day. When you sign up you get a program guide with a reading log where you record how much you read each week. When you’ve read or been read to for 3 hours or more in a week, you can come into the library for a prize. Also on the reading log is a calendar of our awesome events. All our Children’s Summer Reading Program events will be at 10:30 every other Wednesday, starting on June 6th. We will be having a professional story teller, a world traveler, musical guests, and lots of games, crafts, and snacks! At our final party, children can get a prize bag, with a book in it!

After discussing the particulars of our Summer Reading Program, I’ll close with a retelling of a Mexican folktale, Borreguita and the Coyote, based on Verna Aardema’s account. Borreguita and the Coyote (Reading Rainbow Books)

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