Multicultural Book Day

For my second review for Multicultural Book Day, I have a book by Greek author Alkistis Halikia.

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The Color of Myth

Text by Alkistis Halikia and illustrations by Nikoletta Halikia

This is a colouring book for children to discover more about ancient Greek mythology. The bulk of the book consists of beautiful illustrations, necessarily drawn in line form so that the children may colour them in. They reflect the style generally found on ancient Greek pottery, and the subject matter is taken from mythology.

The drawings are very tastefully done, with each image appearing twice: once against a black background, and once as a line drawing on white. This means that the child can have two chances at colouring the picture in different ways and from a different perspective. This could be a good opportunity to invite the child to use their imagination for one side, while using its counterpart to teach about ancient techniques. There is enough detail in each picture to give the more meticulous child something to keep them occupied, without it being overwhelming, a task too daunting to start.

At the end of the book, the pictures are following by a series of texts which serve as explanations for the scenes, to give a basic understanding of what is represented. The details are brief, as one might expect in what is primarily a colouring book, but there is enough to spark an interest, should the child wish to find out more. Although the language used is simple and informative, as this is not intended to be a detailed narrative, it does not shy away from specialised vocabulary as suited to the subject matter.

A good choice for a fun interactive introduction to mythology.

About the Author

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Alkistis Halikia is a museum educator and writer who lives in Athens. All the educational books she has written were on the short list for the National Book Award, with the book “In the Zoo park”, Kaleidoskopio ed., being awarded the prize of “Best Educational Book of the Year 2011”. In 2015 she founded the “Flip the Myth” editions hoping to make Greek art attractive to the hardest audience of all: children!

 

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019 (1/25/19) is in its 6th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents, and educators.

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board

Medallion Level Sponsors Honorary: Children’s Book CouncilThe Junior Library GuildTheConsciousKid.org. Super Platinum: Make A Way Media GOLD: Bharat BabiesCandlewick PressChickasaw Press, Juan Guerra and The Little Doctor / El doctorcitoKidLitTVLerner Publishing GroupPlum Street Press, SILVER: Capstone PublishingCarole P. RomanAuthor Charlotte RiggleHuda EssaThe Pack-n-Go Girls, BRONZE: Charlesbridge PublishingJudy Dodge CummingsAuthor Gwen JacksonKitaab WorldLanguage Lizard – Bilingual & Multicultural Resources in 50+ LanguagesLee & Low BooksMiranda Paul and Baptiste Paul,RedfinAuthor Gayle H. SwiftT.A. Debonis-Monkey King’s DaughterTimTimTom BooksLin ThomasSleeping Bear Press/Dow PhumirukVivian Kirkfield,

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Author Sponsors on board

Honorary: Julie FlettMehrdokht AminiAuthor Janet BallettaAuthor Kathleen BurkinshawAuthor Josh FunkChitra SoundarOne Globe Kids – Friendship StoriesSociosights Press and Almost a MinyanKaren LeggettAuthor Eugenia ChuCultureGroove BooksPhelicia Lang and Me On The PageL.L. WaltersAuthor Sarah StevensonAuthor Kimberly Gordon BiddleHayley BarrettSonia PanigrahAuthor Carolyn Wilhelm,Alva Sachs and Dancing DreidelsAuthor Susan BernardoMilind Makwana andA Day in the Life of a Hindu KidTara WilliamsVeronica AppletonAuthor Crystal BoweDr. Claudia MayAuthor/Illustrator Aram KimAuthor Sandra L. RichardsErin DealeyAuthor Sanya Whittaker GraggAuthor Elsa TakaokaEvelyn Sanchez-ToledoAnita BadhwarAuthor Sylvia LiuFeyi Fay AdventuresAuthor Ann MorrisAuthor Jacqueline JulesCeCe & Roxy BooksSandra Neil Wallace and Rich WallaceLEUYEN PHAMPadma VenkatramanPatricia Newman and Lightswitch LearningShoumi SenValerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing,Traci SorellShereen RahmingBlythe StanfelChristina MatulaJulie RubiniPaula ChaseErin TwamleyAfsaneh MoradianClaudia SchwamLori DeMoniaTerri Birnbaum/ RealGirls RevolutionSoulful SydneyQueen Girls Publications, LLC We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERECo-Hosts and Global Co-HostsA Crafty ArabAgatha Rodi BooksAll Done MonkeyBarefoot MommyBiracial Bookworms,Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms ShareColours of UsDiscovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, Descendant of Poseidon ReadsEducators Spin on itGrowing Book by BookHere Wee Read,Joy Sun Bear/ Shearin LeeJump Into a BookImagination Soup, Jenny Ward’s Class, Kid World CitizenKristi’s Book NookThe LogonautsMama SmilesMiss Panda ChineseMulticultural Kid BlogsRaising Race Conscious ChildrenShoumi SenSpanish Playground

TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Make A Way Media!

MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/25/19 at 9:00pm.E.S.T. TONS of prizes and book bundles will be given away during the party. GO HERE for more details.

FREE RESOURCES From MCBD Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: https://wp.me/P5tVud-1H Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians, and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teacher-classroom-empathy-kit/

Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

Multicultural Children's Book Day

 

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A Celebration of Diversity Through Literature

This year, I am delighted to announce that I am taking part in Multicultural Children’s Book Day, which is celebrated each year in a bid to raise awareness of books that celebrate diversity, and which aims to get such books into the hands of both young readers and teachers.

As part of this, it has been my pleasure to review books by Greek authors. I have never made any secret of my support of multilingualism, and I believe that teachers could support multilingual children by encouraging them to read in their minority language. For those that have Greek-speaking children in their classrooms, here is a book to recommend.

Captain Rake and the Ocean Pirates   –  Ο Καπετάν Τσουγκράνας και οι πειρατές του Ωκεανού 

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by Argyro Mountaki  –  Αργυρώ Μουντάκη

This is a book for early readers who have got past the basic stage and are ready for something a bit more challenging, while still enjoying a wealth of illustrations.

It is a lovely story, encouraging children to think of kindness and what it really means to be courageous, and find one’s inner strength, through a fun pirate story. Building on these themes, there is an undercurrent of suggesting that children should not judge by immediate appearances, with both monsters and pirates not being quite as they seem at first, not to mention the hidden potential of sandwiches!

Children can set sail with Captain Rake, an unusual pirate whose problem is that he is afraid. Along with his friend Christopher, they can follow through his adventure as he overcomes this problem. On discovery of a message in a bottle, he sets off in search of a monster, who he hopes will give him all his courage in return for a joke. However, the tale is not entirely straightforward, and there are lively twists and turns to give depth to the tale and keep children’s attention.

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It will stimulate the young imagination through its fresh and different approach to the genre: unlike many other pirate stories aimed at this age group, this one is not stuck in a pseudo-Middle Ages environment without technology, but even mentions TV cameras and other modern devices that children these days can relate to. The writing flows beautifully, in a light and playful tone with a varied language, from words to sentence structure, to help young readers to enrich their vocabulary and consider alternative ways to express themselves.

The illustrations by the talented Christine Menard are bright, cheerful and colourful, full of a vibrance that will appeal to children and which suits the story very well.

The book is available here

Argyro Mountaki

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Argyro Mountaki is a Greek author of children’s literature, born in Chania on the island of Crete. She is also a teacher of German language in public schools in Greece. She runs an internet site for parents and she writes book reviews published in distinct newspapers and internet sites.

She has studied German Language and Philology and also she has two Master Degrees, one MBA and one in Literature, and is soon to finish her PhD Thesis in Philology. She has taken part in many conferences as a speaker concerning philological matters. She has been writing books since 2005. Her books are published by Patakis, Metaixmio, and Minoas Publications and are beloved by children. She is married and has two children.

 

 

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019 (1/25/19) is in its 6th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents, and educators.

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board

Medallion Level Sponsors Honorary: Children’s Book CouncilThe Junior Library GuildTheConsciousKid.org. Super Platinum: Make A Way Media GOLD: Bharat BabiesCandlewick PressChickasaw Press, Juan Guerra and The Little Doctor / El doctorcitoKidLitTVLerner Publishing GroupPlum Street Press, SILVER: Capstone PublishingCarole P. RomanAuthor Charlotte RiggleHuda EssaThe Pack-n-Go Girls, BRONZE: Charlesbridge PublishingJudy Dodge CummingsAuthor Gwen JacksonKitaab WorldLanguage Lizard – Bilingual & Multicultural Resources in 50+ LanguagesLee & Low BooksMiranda Paul and Baptiste Paul,RedfinAuthor Gayle H. SwiftT.A. Debonis-Monkey King’s DaughterTimTimTom BooksLin ThomasSleeping Bear Press/Dow PhumirukVivian Kirkfield,

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Author Sponsors on board

Honorary: Julie FlettMehrdokht AminiAuthor Janet BallettaAuthor Kathleen BurkinshawAuthor Josh FunkChitra SoundarOne Globe Kids – Friendship StoriesSociosights Press and Almost a MinyanKaren LeggettAuthor Eugenia ChuCultureGroove BooksPhelicia Lang and Me On The PageL.L. WaltersAuthor Sarah StevensonAuthor Kimberly Gordon BiddleHayley BarrettSonia PanigrahAuthor Carolyn Wilhelm,Alva Sachs and Dancing DreidelsAuthor Susan BernardoMilind Makwana andA Day in the Life of a Hindu KidTara WilliamsVeronica AppletonAuthor Crystal BoweDr. Claudia MayAuthor/Illustrator Aram KimAuthor Sandra L. RichardsErin DealeyAuthor Sanya Whittaker GraggAuthor Elsa TakaokaEvelyn Sanchez-ToledoAnita BadhwarAuthor Sylvia LiuFeyi Fay AdventuresAuthor Ann MorrisAuthor Jacqueline JulesCeCe & Roxy BooksSandra Neil Wallace and Rich WallaceLEUYEN PHAMPadma VenkatramanPatricia Newman and Lightswitch LearningShoumi SenValerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing,Traci SorellShereen RahmingBlythe StanfelChristina MatulaJulie RubiniPaula ChaseErin TwamleyAfsaneh MoradianClaudia SchwamLori DeMoniaTerri Birnbaum/ RealGirls RevolutionSoulful SydneyQueen Girls Publications, LLC We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERECo-Hosts and Global Co-HostsA Crafty ArabAgatha Rodi BooksAll Done MonkeyBarefoot MommyBiracial Bookworms,Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms ShareColours of UsDiscovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, Descendant of Poseidon ReadsEducators Spin on itGrowing Book by BookHere Wee Read,Joy Sun Bear/ Shearin LeeJump Into a BookImagination Soup, Jenny Ward’s Class, Kid World CitizenKristi’s Book NookThe LogonautsMama SmilesMiss Panda ChineseMulticultural Kid BlogsRaising Race Conscious ChildrenShoumi SenSpanish Playground

TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Make A Way Media!

MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/25/19 at 9:00pm.E.S.T. TONS of prizes and book bundles will be given away during the party. GO HERE for more details.

FREE RESOURCES From MCBD Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: https://wp.me/P5tVud-1H Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians, and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teacher-classroom-empathy-kit/

Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

Multicultural Children's Book Day

Alien

In recent years, with the popularity of science fiction books and films, this word has been used more and more in the context of “extra-terrestrial, being from another planet”. In British English, it is used only extremely rarely to mean ‘foreigner’, and there are references to this in popular culture at the expense of US English, where it continues to have this meaning; such as in the song by Sting Englishman in New York, where he sings “I’m an alien, I’m an Englishman in New York” precisely because it sounds strange to the British listener.

It is interesting that it should sound strange, as that is precisely what the word once meant. You can see it in the meaning of foreigner – a person from a strange country. And what is an extra-terrestrial if not a being from a strange planet?

It came into English during the fourteenth century. We can see a few examples of it where it is used in different contexts, with differing meanings. Our first example comes from Guy de Chauliac’s medical text dating from 1425 Grande Chirurgie.

If any man..falle fro hyȝnez &..seiþ aliene or straunge þinges , it is to suppose þat þe brayne..is hurt.

If anyone falls from a height and sees alien (peculiar) or strange things, it is to suppose that the brain is hurt.

In this example, the meaning of ‘alien’ is ‘odd, strange, peculiar’. Nothing to do with anything extraterrestrial or even from other countries. But if you think of it in terms of ‘foreign to me’, you can see how the sense developed.

Another example, also from the same time period, is in the Wycliffite Bible.

Bifore me þou schalt not haue noon alien goddis.

Before me thou shalt not have any alien (foreign) gods

In this context, the word is used to mean ‘from another place, foreign’. So you can see that during the fifteenth century, it was used in several different ways.

But where did it come from? Well, it was borrowed into Middle English from Old French, where it also meant strange or foreign. But Old French is not the start of the tale: it borrowed the word from Latin alienus. In Latin it meant ‘foreign, strange’ but also ‘of someone else, belonging to someone else’ – and it is not a large stretch to see that ‘of someone else’ can become ‘of another country’. It was formed from the Latin adverb alius, which meant ‘another, other, different’.

From Latin we go back to Proto-Indo-European *al- which would have meant ‘other’ or ‘beyond’ (elsewhere). We can also see words formed from this root in Greek, such as άλλος [allos], meaning ‘other, another’ or the adverb αλλιώς [allios], meaning ‘otherwise’.

Birth

Here is a word that applies to all of us without exception. No matter where or how, we have all been born: we have all had a birth.

So where does the word come from? Is it a Latin root, through French, perhaps. Well, no, in French it is naissance. Is it from Greek? In Greek, birth is γεννα [genna] or τοκετός [toketos]. So we will have to look elsewhere.

Let’s start by going back to Middle English. Here we may find various spellings, including bird, burd, burth, borth and byrd as well as the much more familiar birth. We have a nice example in On the Properties of Things, John Trevisa’s translation from Latin of Bartholomaeus’s De Proprietatibus Rerum, dating to 1398.

If defnes be in birþe, it is incurable.

Deafness from birth is incurable.

 

The words and sentiment are all familiar and easy to understand. Some parts of the human experience have changed very little or not at all over the centuries it seems. Going back slightly earlier, to 1225, we have a quote from Old English Homilies at Trinity College:

On þe ehteðe dai efter his burþe

On the eighth day afer his birth

Does this bring us any closer to the origin of the word? Well, birþe and burþe are alternate spellings of the same word, and it derives from Old Norse *byrðr, also meaning ‘birth’. However, this is not where the tale ends. The Old Norse word was easily adopted by English speakers, as it was cognate with and similar to the word that had previously been used: Old English gebyrd. Here is an example from the Codex Exoniensis, a tenth century collection of poetry in Old English:

Bearnes þurh gebyrde

through the birth of a child

Very similar here in the Anglo Saxon Gospels, from a similar time frame:

Cennan bearn mid gebyrdum

to bring forth children by birth

The interesting thing is that both gybyrd and *byrðr derive from the same place: Proto-Germanic *gaburthis, which also gave rise to Dutch geboorte and German Geburt. This in turn came from Proto-Indo-European *bhrto, which is thought to be the past participle root of *bher, meaning ‘to bear children’ or ‘to carry’. Is this the end of our tale? Not quite. This root in Proto-Indo-European is also thought to be the source of numerous other words in Greek, including the words for mare (possibly as a horse that bears a load), bring, and coffin. Somehow it seems fitting that coffin and birth are linked, albeit in different languages: it highlights the circle of life.

Tongue

Never one to pass up on the opportunity to talk about language, I was only too happy to accede to the request of one of my readers and write about ‘tongue’. This word has a double meaning as the organ in the mouth and also ‘language’. Most apt for the purposes of this blog, I feel.

On seeing the spelling of the word, with the -gue ending, you may be forgiven for wondering if it derives from French, as this continues to be a common ending in that language. But spelling, as we have seen before, may be deceptive, and it seems that in this case the spelling does not reveal the origin. Indeed, in Middle English, it may be spelt variously tung, tong, tongge, tungen, tongan, among others.

If we take a look at how the word was used in Middle English, we can compare with today’s usage:

we gladly opyn oure tonge largely forto speke

We gladly use our tongue, largely in order to speak

 

This is taken from A Deuout Treatyse Called the Tree and xii Frutes of the Holy Goost dating to 1460. You can see that while the turn of phrase may have moved on, the meaning of the word ‘tongue’ is the same. Going back a few hundred years, to Early Middle English in the twelfth century, we can see something similar:

 

Nim þisse wyrte leaf, leȝe under þa tungan

Take this leaf and place under the tongue

 

While I am not in the habit of placing leaves under my tongue, I can readily understand it, and it seems that the meaning of the word is unchanged. But where did it come from? Not, it would seem, from French, where the word is ‘langue‘. Instead, our answer lies in Old English, where we can find the form tunge (in the examples below it appears as ‘tungan‘ in the accusative and dative cases).

 

Ic hæfde ðe lætran tungan

I have a sluggish tongue

This comes from the Junius Manuscript, a collection of poetry in Old English telling the Biblical story of Exodus dating to around 930. Another example, from just a short period earlier:

 

mid tungan fácenfullíce dydon

they used the tongue deceitfully

 

This is from the Old English Psalterium, which was written some time during the late 800s. So it would appear that this word comes from a Germanic root, and indeed the theory is that it derives from Proto-Germanic *tungon, which would also be the source of Dutch tong, German Zunge, and others. The meaning remains the same – ‘tongue’ in the sense of both the organ and speech. Stepping back a little further, the proposed root in Proto-Indo-European is *dnghu, which would also have meant ‘tongue’.

A Place for Fun: On the Origins of School

Do you view school as a place of enjoyment? Is it the first place that pops into mind when you hear the word ‘fun’? This might seem like a strange question, but all will quickly become clear.

The word we use today to mean ‘place of learning/ teaching’ developed from a word in Old English, in which the word was scól. You may notice that the spelling is considerably different – they felt no need to put an H after the C. So why do we do that today, since the pronunciation would be the same without it?

The answer is that during the Renaissance, which was from the 14th to the 17th centuries, classical learning was very popular. By classical learning, people meant Latin and ancient Greek. People wanted to show off their scholarship, they wanted to display their knowledge of the origins of the word. So they put a C in ‘school’ to show their awareness that it came from Latin schola, which was borrowed originally from Greek σχολή [skhole].

The interesting thing is that in Latin, the word did not refer just to the place where people went to learn. It also meant ‘leisure time for learning’ as well as ‘debate, lecture’ and even ‘scholarly conversation’. So you can see that the meaning has narrowed down considerably over the centuries!

Let’s go now to the word in the original Greek: σχολή [skhole]. This word only came to mean what it does today by transferal, or association, if you prefer. It meant ‘spare time’ or also ‘leisure, rest, thing to do for fun’. So how on earth did it get from one meaning to the other? It is simple. In ancient Greece, learning was highly prized, and people would spend their spare time holding debates and discussions; this really was their idea of fun. Eventually, the word became associated less wih the activity and more with the place they went to carry it out. And as you can learn a lot through a discussion, especially with a knowledgeable person, the activity was seen more as learning than as ‘having fun’. Thus, the word was transferred from the activity to the place where it happened.

The word became extremely popular, and was borowed into many languages. It is used in French école, Spanish escuela, Welsh ysgol, Italian scuola, German Schule, Swedish skola as well as others. It seems a pity that it has lost its meaning of ‘leisure time activity’, but it is intriguing to note that there is still a word in Modern Greek today meaning ‘activity’ (ασχόληση [ascholisi]) which derives from σχολή. So who knows: if school is enjoyable, then perhaps this meaning will once again be associated with the word. Let’s hope the government gets the memo.

Oboe

A little foray into music today, with a look at a woodwind instrument: the oboe.

The current version of the word, oboe, came into English in around 1724. It was adopted from the Italian, with the word taken exactly as it was in that language; oboe; and subsequently given an anglicised pronunciation. Italy is known for its music, and indeed Italian terms are used on written music, so this may seem very logical.

But in fact, the story does not end there. The Italians did not develop the word oboe by themselves. It is a rendition of the sound of the French word, an attempt to spell the French phonetically according to Italian norms. And the Middle French word is hautbois. You can see it in this charming traditional Christmas carol in the second line of the refrain:

Il est né le divin enfant,

Jouez hautbois, résonnez musettes!

Il est né le divin enfant,

Chantons tous son avènement!

The significant point about the word hautbois from the perspective of English is that it was also borrowed into English before the Italian adaptation oboe. It was rendered as hautboy, and we can see some famous examples in Shakespeare. Act 1 Scene 7 of Macbeth opens with the words:

Hautboys and torches. Enter, and pass over.

There are at least two other examples in the same play, used to create ominous effect.

Going back now to hautbois, we can easily split the word into two parts: haut and bois. The first part, haut, means ‘high’ or even ‘high-pitched’. It was the same in Old French, with the 11th century using haut, but it came from Latin altus, which meant ‘high’ or ‘tall’, as indeed alto does today in modern Italian. From Latin, we trace it back to a Proto-Indo-European root, *al-, which is thought to have meant ‘grow, nourish’. Evidence of this root can be seen in words such as adult, elder and old, to name but a few.

Now let’s examine the second part of hautbois: bois.This word meant and still means ‘wood’. It is cognate with the English word ‘bush‘, and is thought to be of Germanic origin, coming into French through Frankish. The Latin word boscus does not appear until the medieval period, and is assumed to be a Latinisation of the Germanic word.

So this means that ‘oboe‘ is actually ‘high-wood’; a reference to its musical register among other woodwind instruments.