We started to read Indian-themed books this week, both about Indian customs and about animals common to India. Mama’s Saris by Pooja Makhijani/Elena Gomez was a clear favorite. I almost felt sad that I don’t have a special dress to pass to my daughter and felt kind of bad for my Indian girlfriends who all happen to have sons. It’s a great cross-cultural read, but you can expect your girls to beg you for a sari. Smarty certainly did and she read this book several times every day this week.
A couple of weeks ago Mama Smiles blog recommended Have You Filled a Bucket Today? book. Our library didn’t have it, but I found a similar book. I liked how the authors Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer conveyed the concept of how kindness and generosity pays off and makes life better. I am not so sure that Smarty fully got a message though – she was mostly preoccupied with all the situations when the character’s bucket was emptied rather than filled. I think we need to practice generous behavior more often rather than just read about it.
We read another book this week in “self-help for children” category – A Boy and a Turtle by Lori Lite/Kimberly Fox. I found that the story didn’t flow well when I read it aloud, but Smarty seemed to enjoy it and said that it made her feel happy. I want to try and practice the relaxation techniques from the book with her and see what happens.
One thing that I like about our country studies is that they reinforce to Smarty that the world has many different beliefs. Elephant Prince by Amy Novesky/Belgin Wedman is a very beautiful story about one of the most popular Hindu Gods – Ganesh. To be honest, I didn’t know the story myself, so I was kind of wincing at the page when the child’s head turns to ashes (it’s illustrated very sensitively) and winced even more reading an author’s note in the end about the alternative version of how Ganesh got an elephant’s head (I didn’t read that part to Smarty). Illustrations are fantastic, and the book is a worthy read for 4+ crowd.