Hello everyone. I’m Melody Leung. Your other un-normal normal blogger (opposite Katie of course).
I’m a goof. I love cheese, watching hilarious sit coms as a study break, and making cute things like tarts.
To balance my intake of cheese and tarts, I also love wushu, which is a Chinese martial art. Here’s a secret: I wanted to be a film star as a kid.
I’m also an advocate for my friend’s modeling agency: #WeSpeak.
Here at the iSchool and in my future career, I want to take my business background and love of working with children to do two completely different things. Become a children’s librarian focused on multicultural and bilingual resources and a business librarian focused on community entrepreneurial pursuits. With a whole career ahead of me, I’m certain that I will tackle both ends of my interest spectrum.
In honor of yesterday, HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I hope you had a great time eating food and enjoying the company of friends and family.
Thanksgiving was actually the first time in my childhood when I realized that I didn’t have anyone to relate to in my small rural elementary school.
I was the only (chubby) Asian (girl) in my town. In 3rd grade, the teacher had us take home a Thanksgiving math assignment. One of the questions read, “How much does your turkey weigh?”
I was like, “Mom, what’s a turkey? Why haven’t we had one before. Is it like duck?”
She told me “We don’t have turkey because it doesn’t taste that good. We have fish, duck, and chicken instead on Thanksgiving. Just put in the weight of an average sized turkey and finish your homework”.
As I look back, I should have said something in class. Instead, I wanted to assimilate and stay silent about what made me and many other people unique. For me, it was a cultural thing, but for others, it could be a personal decision or a religious thing.
I didn’t realize this connection until I was almost an adult and saw this book:
This book reminded me of the days when I was ashamed of being Chinese and begged my parents for a “normal” Thanksgiving, just like the little girl in the book. It also reminded me of when I became proud of my culture and began to speak up about the things I do differently.
Recently, I finished my first storytime series through Prime Time sponsored by Humanities of Washington. While the older kids engaged in a bilingual storytime and discussion in the large room, I took the younger kids into the library (5 and under), to do a high-energy Preschool storytime. It was one of the best experiences of my life because I got to create outlines and crafts for each session with only a theme to go by. Also, it was one of the few bilingual storytimes that Prime Time hosts. I wasn’t fluent in the language the children spoke at home, but I did my homework (study small phrases, numbers, and colors). I also incorporated multicultural books that they can relate to, like how I related to Duck for Turkey Day.
Here are a few of the books I used and I hope you will keep these in mind too if you are interested in storytimes:
I wouldn’t have known about the first few books if it wasn’t for the Children’s Librarian at the library who suggested the author, Yuyi Morales (pronounced like “juji”).
This book was suggested for the theme: Oral history and traditions. It is about a grandmother who is visited by Señor Calavera to be taken away. However, she stalls so that she can be with her family together at least one last time. With some Spanish words in the text, this book had many cultural aspects of Mexican culture that I’m sure (due to the author) my children related to.
This comic, graphic novel-like book had the kids super excited. It is about a little boy dressed as a lucha libre going up against contender after contender. Will he get defeated? I don’t know. You have to read it for yourself. I also created a rhyme for the kids for after reading the story to get some of that built up energy out:
Slish, Zok, Pow (Stomp, punch, punch)
Look at me Wow (jump up high)
Being brave like Nino (flex bicep muscles)
Look how fast my fists go (circle fists around and around)
Of course I used this book the week before Halloween and Day of the Dead. It’s spooky and eerie, especially if you use a very slow howl-ly voice. Prior to the reading, I did Halloween yoga with the kids. We did poses and made sounds like a werewolf, cat, or bat. They were able to do them again as these creatures were mentioned in the book.
I used this book during my last session about dreams. It is a true story about a girl named Millo in 1930s Cuba who loved drumming. However, it was frowned upon at that time for girls to drum. But she never gave up, she practiced and practiced all the time until her father listened. The poetic text and dream-like pictures kept the kids engaged about what is really going on. This book was perfectly paired with my last craft with them: dream drums.
Doing this series helped me understand how to engage bilingual children to enjoy reading, playing with science, and learning how to express themselves. These are all things I would have loved as a bilingual child myself. I hope I will learn even more about multicultural resources and youth services here at the UW iSchool during these next 2 years.
Thank you for reading my blog post! Do you have some multicultural resources or tips to share? As students who learn from each other, we would all love to hear about them.