Cindy Hewitt is a retired teacher with a passion for children's literature. Read-aloud stories add quality to a child's life experiences.
Beautifully Illustrated Picture Book With Our Country's History of Diversity
Teaching History to Young Children With Lessons on Diversity
Lisa Westberg Peters and Victoris Tentler-Krylov's We Are a Garden is a stunningly and beautifully illustrated picture book and history of how the United States became diverse. Children are seeing a lot of news now about race relations in our country. Picture books like We Are a Garden can introduce the topic of race relations to young children and open discussions about how important it is to accept the diversity in our country in order to keep our country strong. Our country is most certainly a garden of many races and every family came from immigrants.
The story begins with the primitive people who came to our country. Geographical weather conditions created glaciers that covered the north with ice. Primitive people were on the move to live on a new continent. The first people continued to move to all areas and settled in villages. Newcomers came and began to push the natives off of the land that they called home. Eventually colonists came by ship. The history of slave ships is part of our country's story is included in this picture book. The story continues when families began to come to the United States when famine invaded the European countries. Religion also brought a diverse population. Immigrants are still coming and the illustration of the Statue of Liberty is included in this picture book.
The author compares immigrants to seeds blown by the winds. There are all kinds of winds that bring immigrants to the United States. My favorite quote from this picture book is "They" become "we" and we become a garden. A garden of friends, family, and neighbors. A garden of Americans who turn to face the wind."
We Are a Garden is an important picture book and story to add to your child's library. It is recommended for ages 6-10 and was published by Schwartz&Wade Books, a division of Random House Kids Books. It has an ISBN of 978-0-593-12313-3.
Beautiful Full-Colored Illustrations Fill the Pages
History Lessons and Teaching Diversity to Young Readers
I used many types of picture books and stories in my classrooms when I taught young children. I always found the perfect book for the lessons that I wanted to teach. Lisa Westberg Peters' We Are a Garden is a perfect choice for teaching the history of diversity in our country to young children. Families will want to add this beautiful book to their family library to offer an opportunity for children to learn about their own roots and where their family came from. It is important to teach the history of how our country became so diverse in order to keep our country strong.
*Read We Are a Garden in a story time session. Have a globe and maps available for children to find the areas where the people from the Ice Age began their migration to other areas.
*Call attention to the illustrations and the Native Americans who spread to all parts of the country in later history. Teachers could offer more information and take a "side trip" to study the variety of Native American tribes. Have maps of the United States for children to locate the areas where Native Americans settled and built their villages.
*The story continued with colonists who came to the New World and drove Native Americans to other areas.
*The story of the slave ships is included. This topic is one that children will encounter over and over from the news that they are seeing from a variety of news media.
* The story continues with illustrations of immigrants and text that describe the reasons that immigrants come to the United States. Parents might take the opportunity to talk about their own family and how ancestors immigrated to this country.
*Call attention to the end of the story text about the hopes of dreams of immigrants that are coming to the United States.
*Teachers will want to engage children in a discussion of any immigrant children who are in their school and classrooms.
*Peters also includes a comprehensive Glossary of the people who are described in the photos and text story details. She also includes a comprehensive list of other sources for educators to add resources to their library.
© 2021 Cindy Hewitt