Monday, October 5, 2009

Nonfiction Monday and Series Review - Celebrations in My World from Crabtree, as reviewed by Yoda

Ten years ago, it was hard to find any children's books on holidays beyond the Christmas/Halloween/Thanksgiving fare. As cultural diversity gets more of a place in school curriculae, publishers are starting to catch on and offer more variety. This series so far covers Chinese New Year, Christmas, Cinco de Mayo, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, Constitution Day, Day of the Dead, and Diwali. We recently purchased the latter three for our children's collection.

Written around the 4th or 5th grade reading level, with large print and beautiful pictures, these are attractive books. The Diwali book is so beautiful, in fact, I found myself ignoring the text and just looking at the pictures in places. One might get the impression that all Hindu people are spectacularly gorgeous! The Day of the Dead of course offers a sharp contrast, with skulls of every size and material - but still great pictures.

The text is worth looking at as well, of course. The history behind each celebration is given clearly and succinctly - a brief history, because these are your usual 32-page children's books, but enough to get the general idea. Different aspects of the celebrations - the lights at Diwali, cleaning graves on the Day of the Dead, a swearing-in ceremony for Constitution day - are explained, so that readers understand the whys in addition to the whats.

A nicely done and needed addition to our collection. We look forward to seeing the rest of the series.

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