Monday, February 7, 2011

A Lion's Mane

Title: A Lion's Mane
Author: Navjot Kaur
Illustrator: Jaspreet Sandhu  
Publisher: Safrron Press
Publication Date: 2009   
Genre/Format: Nonfiction/Picture Book   
Summary: A boy uses his dastaar, the turban he wears on his head, to help tell about his culture. 
What I Think: I gladly welcomed this book when it was offered to me by its author because I recognized that I, myself, needed to learn about the Sikh culture.  I believe it is important to celebrate multiculturalism with our students.  I love books that open up new ideas to students and this is one such book.  Before reading this book, I think it is important to brainstorm what students know about culture and specifically Skihism or Singh people.  Obviously, this can be more or less specific depending on the ages of the students.  This is a perfect book to practice a KWL because students can brainstorm what they know, ask questions, and then record what they learn as they read the book.  Similarly, it also lends itself to work on the reading strategy of asking questions.  I found myself wondering more about this religion and its beliefs and I'm sure kids would be curious, too.  My philosophy when it comes to encountering people or things that are different is to learn about it so we can understand others.  While we may not always agree or share the same beliefs, it is important to accept and respect others for who they are and their beliefs so we can live peacefully with each other.  If you have a Sikh student in your class, this book would be a neat way to share his or her culture with the class.
     I love the artwork in this book.  It is very colorful, but the illustrations appear as if they were done on canvas and the little dots of the fabric are evident.  In some way this mutes the pictures while still keeping the vibrant colors.  The pictures help the reader recognize the different elements of culture and bring the symbolism explained in the text to life.
Read Together: Pre-K - 12 
Read Alone: 4 - 12 
Read With: Eyewitness Religion by Myrtle Langley, I Belong to the Sikh Faith by Katie Dicker, Sikhism (World Religions Series) by Joy Barrow, and other nonfiction books
Snatch of Text: 
"The lion and its mane are special in many cultures
around the world.

Join my flowing red dastaar on a journey to find out why
I have a long mane."
Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Asking Questions, Making Connections, Making Inferences, Author's Purpose
Writing Strategies to Practice: Personal Narrative, Expository
Writing Prompts: Write about a time in your life when you have felt different or unique.  Write about a time in your life when you had to stand up for something that was important to you.  Explain what symbols are important in your culture.
Topics Covered: Multicultural, Adversity, Culture, Symbolism, Open-Mindedness, Tolerance, Interdisciplinary - Social Studies
Translated to Spanish: No

Having reviewed this book, I am curious to read more about children growing up within the Sikh culture.  I'm not aware of fiction books with Sikh characters.  If you have read one that you can recommend I would love it!  What about other books about kids facing adversity because of their culture or beliefs?  Thanks for sharing!

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