New Project for Learning about The World!

Let's Explore the World

Time has gotten away from me. I have no other excuse for not keeping up with the blog.  Summers are busy days for playing with my boys. Sometimes, instead of me wearing them out, they wear me out so much, that their nap time becomes mine as well. I can’t complain about that. I do love my naps and that I am able to spend my days at home with them. I know I am lucky. Things do tend to get in the way of my working on my various projects, though.  I will attempt to do better.

I think I have found the perfect way to do so. One of my fellow Multicultural Kid Blogs Contributors from Kid World Citizen has created the coolest Diversity Calendar out there (in my opinion) and I can’t wait to start celebrating some holidays that are new to me, but important around the world.  Here is the description from their website.

Diversity Calendar

Our Diversity Calendar is a month-by-month, thorough collection of holidays around the world! For the past three years, we have interviewed religious leaders from all major religions, and heavily researched our calendar to assure that the most important holidays have been included (and are happy to include any additional festivals or holidays our readers add in the comments!). This fabulous diversity calendar includes 285 special days including:

•multicultural and ethnic festivals

•religious holy days from all major religions

•environmental days to celebrate and honor our planet

•United Nations International Days such as “Global Youth Service Day“

•fun holidays that celebrate friendship, empathy, and kindness.

Even though it is probably intended more for teachers and homeschoolers, I know that my boys and I can come up with some fun things to do with it. From World Friendship Day to International Talk Like A Pirate Day and so many animal appreciation days, I think this will be a fun project!  I’m excited to show them how beautiful the world is in all of it’s celebrations.  Want to do it with me? I’d love to find ideas on how to celebrate some of these with you!

If you would like to purchase your own calendar you can do so HERE.

Let’s Celebrate Each Other!  

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Excited to Add New Things to Our Celebrations!

 

 

“Tomás and the Library Lady” the Play

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We love going to the theater.  We sound so fancy! We’re not really, but we do love to go to family plays.  I’ve talked about ZACH Theater before as we have gone to many shows there.  Our most recent adventure was to see a play called Tomás and the Library Lady . We as a family LOVED it! It was the perfect play to see at the perfect time.  Let me explain.

The play is based on a children’s picture book by the same name and is actually a true story. The main character, Tomás, is the son of migrant workers that travel from Texas to Iowa to find work in the corn fields. Tomás finds a library in town and befriends the librarian who shows him the magical world of books. At the end you find out that Tomás grew up to be a real life famous writer himself (Tomás Rivera) which is fantastic!

Why I loved the play:

  • It is English AND in Spanish. The library lady teaches Tomás words in english while he teaches her words in Spanish. It is a really wonderful bond they  develop. It helps the boys see how awesome it is to speak English and Spanish. Tomás is proud to speak both. This helps the boys be proud, too.
  • Tomás learns to read in english so he can escape into the many amazing books the library lady introduces him to. M is at that same point right now. We are trying to help want to learn to read and write by showing him how great books are. We have been reading to them all of their lives, of course, and love their books. Just now we are focusing more on word recognition and spelling. It was very inspirational for M to see Tomás struggle with words, yet not give up trying to read them.
  • They sing! This is always a bonus in my book. We love musicals in this family. Anytime we can go to a play where songs are in both languages we are there! And they were pretty good, too!
  • It was a simple yet lovely production. ZACH Theater is extremely good at making shows seem so effortless.  I’m sure a lot of production goes on behind the scenes, but you wouldn’t know it. There are no big sets, bright lights and fancy costumes. The emphasis is always on the story not the props. This is a great way to get kids to focus on the characters and their words. This play had a trunk, three suitcases and books. That’s it. There were only three people in it. And only one character had a a quick costume change off stage. The other two would just put on a hat/remove it or make a scarf a mustache to switch characters. How cool is that?

All of those points are great on their own, but there is one more thing that just touched my heart fully. It was that it was very similar to my story. Sure the details were different, but the bond was true. When we moved to the states and we started school I was an extremely shy 2nd grader and did not want to go anywhere with the other kids. I didn’t want to sit by myself at lunch or recess so I clung to my teacher, Ms. Jacinto. She could see that I was quickly withdrawing, so she went beyond her scope as teacher to become my friend. She let me have lunch with her and then walked me to the library to meet the librarian, Mrs. Davila. They must have known exactly what I needed because from then on, I would go to the library and help after having lunch with Ms. Jacinto. I would put books away and clean up. In return, Mrs. Davila introduced me to books that I had never heard of and helped me with the words. As an added bonus, I became a pro at the Dewey Decimal System. (Who remembers that?)  Most importantly, I learned to love books because of both of them. I hope that we can do that for the boys as well.

The attention and care they gave me for that brief time in my life when they didn’t have to will always hold a place in my heart. I even got teary eyed at the end of the play because it took me back to that lovely little library at Nye Elementary that saved my spirit. I did eventually join the masses and made friends my age, but I don’t think I would’ve found the confidence to be me without both of them.

Anyways, back to the play. GO SEE IT! It is awesome. If you are in Austin it plays at ZACH until February 14th. If not, find a show near you and get the book. The boys left inspired to read and they are speaking in Spanish even more!  Thank you, Tomás and the Library Lady  and ZACH Theater for being the perfect play at the perfect time!

Tomas Cast

The boys with the cast

Wednesday is Orange Day!

#orangeurhood Laos

Every month on the 25th day of the month the world unites to End Violence Against Women! The campaign is UNiTe to End Violence against Women Campaign is managed by UN Women to raise awareness and to help in the prevention of violence against women and girls. This is a very important campaign that I feel more people need to be aware of.  Please check the link for all of the information as well as a schedule of events you can participate in. Please let everyone know about it, support it and wear some orange to promote it.

Launch of UNiTE campaign Call for Action for the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, ‘Orange your world: Make a dent’

According to their website:

The year 2015 marks the 20-year anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the most progressive road map to gender equality. World leaders will meet in March at the United Nations 59th Commission on the Status of Women to take stock of the progress made and commit to take actions to close the gaps that are holding women and girls back. This is also the year when a new development framework will come in to replace the Millennium Development Goals. The elimination of violence against women and girls must be a centerpiece of the new development agenda. – See more at: http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/take-action#sthash.OGkrtvTI.dpuf

Help launch the UNiTE campaign with their call of action by checking out their website where you can donate and learn more about this great campaign.  I think it’s an awesome cause.  Here is to hoping more people become aware of this campaign and all that it represent.  I hope we can stop it before our children have to see any of these terrible things happen.  The only way we can do that is to work together and learn from each other. This is a very important campaign that I feel more people need to be aware of.  Please let everyone know about it, support it and wear some orange to promote it. Link your pics with your orange love on Twitter to #bilinguazo and #UN_Women or on Instagram at Bilingualeyes and UNWomen. Looking forward to seeing your pics!

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“Last Stop on Market Street” Book Review

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For Black History Month I was able to review another children’s book thanks to Multicultural Kids Blog. This time our book was “Last Stop on Market Street” by Matt De La Peña. I review books based on how my children see them and if they can relate to them. This book is not only bright and colorful but teaches a good lesson to little ones.

The book tells the story of a little boy and his grandmother that take their regular bus ride after church one day. The little boy can’t understand why he can’t stay behind and play or why his friends don’t have to go to where they are going either.  The grandmother then helps him see the beauty in their surroundings when he cannot. When they arrive at their destination, it is revealed to the reader that they were going to volunteer at a soup kitchen as they do every Sunday.

It really is a lovely story that teaches kids about charity, helping others, family and finding beauty in the most unlikely places. I love telling my kids stories like that. My only issue with the book is the grammar. I find myself correcting it every time I read it.  I know that it was written to show the way people sometimes speak, but I have worked very hard to speak English properly and intend to teach my children the correct way to do so as well.  In my mind if I show them how not to say things, they may do it just to spite me. Yes, I know how silly that sounds.  I will try to teach them that people speak differently around the world; not only in different languages, but in different ways in the same language. I will continue to correct them when I can, though. That is just a mama thing. That might be a post for another time.

Back to the book: It was a great story with lovely pictures and a good lesson. I would recommend adding it to your collection. I hope you enjoyed my review. Now go out and read more!

Multicultural Children’s Book Day Review: “Chloe and Her Two Red Shoes”

Children's Book Day

I am beyond excited to be a part of such a great community. And now I get to share with you an exciting event as well as a review of a very cute book, “Chloe and Her Two Red Shoes” written by Shanequa Davis and Illustrated by Barbara Mason Rast.

First let me tell you about the wonderful event. It is Multicultural Children’s Book Day on January 27th, 2015. Here are some great facts about the celebration from their website:

Multicultural Children’s Book Day: Read Your World

January 27, 2015

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Our mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these of books into classrooms and libraries.

Children’s reading and play advocates Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book and Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom teamed up in late 2013 to create an ambitious (and much needed) national event. On January 27th, 2015 this dynamic duo will be hosting yet another Multicultural Children’s Book Day as a way of celebrating diversity in children’s books.

The Multicultural Children’s Book Day team hopes to spread the word and raise awareness about the importance of diversity in children’s literature. Our young readers need to see themselves within the pages of a book and experience other cultures, languages, traditions and religions within the pages of a book. We encourage readers, parents, teachers, caregivers and librarians to follow along via book reviews, author visits, multicultural booklists and visit the huge multicultural book review link-up that will occur on the MCCBD website 1/27/15.

Here are some ways you can help us celebrate Multicultural Children’s Book Day

  • Visit The Multicultural Children’s Book Day website and view our booklists, reading resources and other useful multicultural information.

  • Visit our Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board for more reading ideas.

  • Have children bring in their favorite multicultural book to school on this day and share it with the class.

  • Watch for the #ReadYourWorld hashtag on social media and share.

  • Visit our Diversity Book Lists and Resources for Educators and Parents on our website.

  • Visit MCCBD sponsors (you can find them HERE)

  • Create a Multicultural Children’s Book Day display around the classroom or library.

  • Visit The Multicultural Children’s Book Day website on January 27th to view and participate in our huge blogger link-up, multicultural book reviews, giveaways and more!

Other Fun Details:

Our Sponsor Line-up Platinum Sponsors:Wisdom Tales Press,Daybreak Press Global Bookshop, Gold SponsorsSatya House,  MulticulturalKids.com,   Author Stephen Hodges and the Magic Poof, Silver Sponsors: Junior Library GuildCapstone Publishing, Lee and Low Books,  The Omnibus Publishing. Bronze Sponsors:Double Dutch Dolls, Bliss Group Books, Snuggle with Picture Books Publishing,  Rainbow Books,   Author FeliciaCapers,   Chronicle Books  Muslim Writers Publishing,East West Discovery Press.

Our CoHosts: We have NINE amazing Co-Host. You can view themhere.

-MCCBD now has its own Paper.li! A Paper.li is a free online newspaper that aggregates information on the topic of multicultural books for kids from all over the Internet. Please feel free subscribe and stay up-to-date with this topic.

-Connect with us on our new Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/MulticulturalChildrensBookDay

-Connect with us on our new Twitter https://twitter.com/MCChildsBookDay

If you would like more information, or have questions regarding Multicultural Children’s Book Day, please contact Valarie Budayr at Valarie@AudreyPress.com or Mia Wenjen at pragmaticmomblog@gmail.com

Thank you so much for your support!

Here is My Review

A childhood memory becomes a beautiful picture book.

A childhood memory becomes a beautiful picture book.

 “Chloe and Her Two Red Shoes” is a lovely story of a sweet little girl who gets her very own pair of brand new shoes for the first time instead of the usual hand-me-downs. It is told as a memory from the author’s point of view which makes it very unique and honest. I love the idea of turning something personal into a book, and the author does a great job taking you back in time with her.

I come from a family of six girls and know all about hand-me-downs.  If you have siblings, the story will most likely resonate with you, too. I read it to my boys soon after M received a new pair of shiny tap shoes.  This of course made the book extra special for him as he and Chloe had something in common. He really liked how she wore her shoes everywhere. He even asked if he could wear his shoes to bed like she does.  This, of course was a no, but he was cute for asking.

I love the illustrations of this book as well. I really like how realistic they are. They make the book even more authentic for the reader. I am all about raising my kids in a multicultural world and this book is perfect for showing diversity.

I especially like how in the end, those very same shoes become a part of all of the cherished items kept by the mother that had belonged to all of the children. Everything is kept in a very special treasure chest and the shoes will remain there for another little girl to fall in love with as well one day. Lovely!

Play Acting

If you are looking for an activity to do with your little ones, let the book lead your way. Open up your closet, let your little ones look through it and dress as silly as they can. My little guys really love walking around in their papa’s shoes. Just letting them pretend to be you can bring hours of entertainment if you let them. Also, if you or a family member with a chest full of things that belonged to you when you were younger, that would make for a new world of imagination for you and your kids. You would be surprised at how childhood memories can come rushing back to you as look through all of those beautiful things. You can tell them your own memories from those clothes and treasures and have a beautiful and fun bonding moment as well.

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Here is to always making memories with those with love with anything and everything around us.

Happy Multicultural Children’s Book Day!!

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Shadow Puppet Fun

Shadow Puppet Fun

Nighttime has become a beautiful routine that my husband and I really enjoy, hopefully so do the boys. My husband reads stories to M first. “The Magic Treehouse” is the current favorite series and no night can go on without some chapters being read. While they do that, I read stories to Travis which he picks from our collection. He loves so many, it’s hard to pick a favorite. It might be a couple of Dr. Seuss tales, some good board books along with at least one book in Spanish which he also chooses. After we are each done with the first kid, we switch.

My new favorite thing to do with M nowadays is shadow puppets. It started innocently enough. I would make the shape of a bunny with one hand and then the bunny would leave and a bird would come to visit shaped out of two hands. Then someone gave him some eyeballs that you can wear as ring, so then the bunny and the birds grew eyes. Not the most comfortable for my fingers, but he loved it. I decided to Google (yep, my go-to) shadow puppets. I was amazed with how many options there are. My favorite so far has been this:  “Handmade Charlotte”

I didn’t have time to print out the free downloads, so I drew their shapes freehand and cut them up out of construction paper. Finally, I glued on lollipop sticks and tah-dah, shadow puppets:

shadow puppet 1

Not bad for drawing them myself from the shapes on the site as well as a few from my own mind.

The night I presented them to M, he was so excited. Our night time routine has increased in time a little, but I’m ok with that. It gives me a little more time with my boy. I am even taking them into T’s room and we play with them a little after stories and before our songs. I would recommend you making your own. It’s so fun to pretend. And it makes for great quality time. We are even naming the animals in Spanish which is a plus.

Go have some fun with your babies during the daytime or at nighttime. Cherish every minute even if you only have a flashlight to lead your way.

shadow puppet 2

(If you would like to share my blog, I would be so grateful. You can find it under www.bilingualeyes.wordpress.com. You can also find it in Spanish at www.bilinguazo.worpress.com and on Facebook under www.facebook.com/bilinguazo. We are now also on Pinterest and Instagram. And don’t forget to hit me up on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bilinguazo. Thanks a bunch!)

May Your Year Be Full of Firsts…

As this year comes to an end, I wanted to look back at all of the firsts that we experienced in the few days we spent in Mexico.  From the trip to traditions, I couldn’t help but feel lucky that we were able to experience these firsts together. One Lucky Mama is exactly what I am.  Here is a little recap for you plus a little silly poem at the end wishing you a new year full of happy firsts, and happiness.

Firsts:

  • First airplane ride for T
  • First flight for a family of four
  • First time in Mexico for T

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  • First time meeting cousins’ kids for T. M was too young when we took him when he was one, so we are counting it as a first for him as well.IMG_6064
  • First time going out to beautiful Coyoacan together.IMG_5331
  • First time sleeping in an apartment instead of my mom’s house in Mexico ever.
  • First time the boys shared a room and a bed together. They were so happy to be together, they would fall asleep playing and wake up at the exact same time to tell each other their dreams and start playing again. They are the cutest!
  • First time going out to dinner in the city by ourselves without family just the 4 of us.
  • First shower for T and loving it (we always take baths at home).
  • First piano lesson for M from my Tío Jorge. They were so cute together.IMG_5548
  • First time playing chase with my fabulous aunt, Tia MaraIMG_5301
  • First time M was the oldest kid hitting Piñata. Usually, there have always been bigger kids around to break the piñata. This time it was all him.IMG_5560
  • First gingerbread house, tree & train for both boys. That is one American tradition I had not ever thought of incorporating into our lives. Who knew we would love doing it in Mexico instead? Thanks, Tia Mara, it was such fun!IMG_5687 IMG_5840
  • First time M sang in Spanish for the whole family. He was amazing. I wish I could share that with you. I was ready to throw my computer against the wall when it deleted the video, but that is a whole other post.

A little poem for you:

New Year’s Wishes

May your year be full of first.

May love always quench your thirst.

May your loved ones make you smile.

May their embrace reach for miles.

May you always try each day

To find a new fun way to play.

May your days be full of kisses

Full of cuddles and warm wishes.

May the New Year bring new joys,

And love for always for all you know.

Happy New Year, friends, new and old.

Hope your riches feel like gold.

Love forever and good health, too

Is what I wish for all of you.

Malu Talan 2014

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What My Eyes See Worries Me

What My Eyes See Worries Me...By

I do not like to get political.  I especially do not want my blog to ever go that way.  With all of the distrust of authority that is going on in the world and the lack of respect for the citizens said authority is supposed to work for, a mama can’t help but worry about the world.  I am not here to say who’s right and who’s wrong in certain situations where people are taking sides.  However, I do have my opinions on something more important to me: my children. 

I worry about what world I have brought my kids into when everywhere you look, there are people suffering while others prosper from their suffering. I worry about whom they can trust and who they can look up to (besides their dad and our wonderful families, of course). I worry about how they can remain good when they see how badly the good are treated sometimes. 

Being from Mexico, now being a U.S. Citizen and having access to news from around the world, so many things I see worry me. I have heard that some people are afraid of the immigration amnesty. The fear is partly because there are some people who are so against it that they deliberately make them feel guilty for wanting a better life. (You can find all kinds of mean spirited remarks all over social media.) Mainly, though, they fear that if they do sign up for amnesty to remain in the states, once the administration changes, they will be on the top of the list for deportation and the amnesty will be revoked.  If the government meant to protect people is constantly fighting and disagreeing, how can we know where will we stand every time the leaderboard changes.  It is a real fear for some. How do you teach your children to respect authority if those in authority do not respect each other?

The government where I am from is not much better, in fact it’s worse.  Corruption runs rampant. There are still some good people trying to make a difference, but it’s hard to have faith when so much needs to be fixed.  I worry about my beautiful Mexico’s future. I worry about my family there.  I worry that my children will only grow up hearing stories about its beauty because they will never get to experience what I did.  I worry about the changes to come, but a little part of me is hopeful for the good changes so many want to be realized…finally.

The world worries me.  There are and have been so many wars, so many battles for control and so many people devastated by those things. The sadness of the world worry me terribly. We shield our children from these horrors as much as we can. We want them to retain their innocence and have the best childhood we can give them. But how much shielding is too much? If we keep the truths from them, will they be strong enough to deal with them when they are introduced to the truths? How do you balance it out? So now I add another item to my list of worries. The world worries me and my actions in dealing with the world worry me.

I would love to hear how you teach your kids about the not so happy things in the world. I am trying to teach them about the world the best I can, but I am keeping it light…for now. I feel they are much too young for some information.  They know that some people have more than others and that some people need a little help from those that have more.  They know that giving is a wonderful thing and helping others will be a part of their lives as long as I can help it. They know that life is different in different places and that no one way is the right way to live and believe. They know that I will always love them no matter where we are and they know that they are as safe as they can be with us.  I hope they never lose their innocence. I know that this won’t last forever, but we will enjoy every precious happy moment as long as we can. I hope you can do the same. We send hugs your way this holiday season.

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I will be taking a little time off for the holidays. It could be a week, maybe two…I haven’t decided yet, but I will peak in daily to read your comments and answer questions. I do hope to see you back here soon.

Be safe!

(If you would like to share my blog, I would be so grateful. You can find it under www.bilingualeyes.wordpress.com. You can also find it in Spanish at www.bilinguazo.worpress.com and on Facebook under www.facebook.com/bilinguazo. And don’t forget to hit me up on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bilinguazo. Thanks a bunch!)