In your quest to add own-voices literature to your homeschool, don’t overlook translated novels! Translated books don’t try overly hard to be diverse, they simply are.
Written in Chinese by children’s author Cao Wenxuan, Bronze and Sunflower follows the two title characters through a summer in a rural village in China in the 1960s, shortly after Chairman Mao established agricultural labor camps during the Cultural Revolution.
When the news starting tumbling through the airwaves, the literary homeschool groups on Facebook were flooded with posts from moms asking for picture books to help their kids understand Ukraine. Yet very few were asking for reading material which would help them, as adults, make sense of the news’ garbled deluge of information about Ukraine.
While I understand the immediate desire to help guide kids through the tangled web of current events, the lack of curiosity from adults made me a little bit sad. Maybe this comes from having spent my early childhood in a place no one has ever heard of (“the former Yugo-what?”) Maybe I’m just a Slavic history nerd — after all, I’m of Slavic descent and already had Borderland on my shelves. But wouldn’t it help if we asked more questions? Wouldn’t it go a long way if we, as parents, at least tried to educate ourselves along the way as we educate our kids?
Usborne and Kane Miller books are well-known for their encyclopedic non-fiction. But did you know about the gorgeous picture books? Here are ten lovely and vibrant picture books featuring diverse characters in everyday situations, doing everyday things.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the books we homeschoolers choose to highlight in our individual homeschools. Classical Great Books? Vintage readers? Diverse own-voices novels? Non-fiction memoirs? Re-written edited morality tales? (Please, just say no to that last option.)
Why do homeschoolers choose the books they do?
It’s a question worth asking, and worth examining our own choices. As Christian homeschoolers, we want our children to know about God, and grow up to love Jesus. Certainly we also want to nurture the gifts God has given our children, and not bury our kids’ talents in the ground like the servants in Matthew 25 did with the talents the master had given. If we have a math-minded child, for instance, we want to allow that child to excel and soar in mathematics. And we may make it a priority to raise culturally literate children, who have at least heard of Mother Goose, Winnie the Pooh, and Shakespeare (although they don’t need to love them.)
But beyond the basics of reading and writing, and the basics of spiritual catechesis, why do we choose the books we do? What sorts of books are filling our shelves — and our kids’ minds?
I’m frequently asked for recommendations on diverse US history books for kids, especially to supplement American history curriculum.
There’s only so many books you can read about George Washington, know what I mean? And honestly — why would you keep reading about the same handful of people over and over, when there’s a whole wonderful world to embrace?