Monday, December 26, 2011

Harbari Gani

Wondering what that means?  Habari Gani is a Swahili greeting used at Kwanzaa.  It means, "What's the news?"

Okay, remember how I like to teach my kids the traditions of other people?  Well, Kwanzaa is another chance to learn.  It's an African American holiday and while it focuses a lot on African culture and heritage, family and community are a major part of Kwanzaa.  It involves seven principles (one for each day for Kwanzaa) and all of them are perfect to bring up with kids of any culture.

So, introducing Kwanzaa.  This was a bit more tricky than Chanukah, because my library had like nothing on Kwanzaa.  But I did not give up the search and I found some really great books.  Take a look...

My First Kwanzaa, by Karen Katz

This book is a very simple, picture book introduction to Kwanzaa and it's principles.  Its written from a child's point of view and does an excellent job of giving the basics in a simple format.  Each page explains one of the principles of Kwanzaa and what the little girl's family might do to celebrate that principle.  (It also has pronunciation help, which is very very nice!)

Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story
by Andgela Shelf Medearis

This is sort of a fable, I guess you would call it.  The reason I love it is because it's about some siblings who cannot get along and must learn to work together.  (Does that sound like something that your kids might need to hear about-- in a story format of course?)  It focuses on unity and helping others.  The illustrations are bright and colorful and it kept both my preschooler and my school ager's attention.   

There's the news, a simple introduction to Kwanzaa.  I hope your news is that you're all having a lovely holiday season.  Side note here, when I taught school in Baltimore I actually had a little girl who celebrated Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Chanukah.  Anyway, whether you choose to celebrate none or all three, I hope you're great! 

Happy Kwanzaa and happy reading!

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