“It is critical to understand that students cannot truly learn about themselves unless they learn about others as well.” The main point of the Windows & Mirrors article is to show us that children need literature that reflects their own experiences as well the experiences of those who have different cultures. In my future career in working with children, it will be my job to develop relationships with them in order to help them identify and understand differences throughout the world. A good way to effectively help children identify differences is to introduce them to literature that acts as “Windows & Mirrors”.
While reading literature throughout my childhood I always found it easy to find mirrors for myself in children’s books since I am a middle-class female. When I was 5 years old, I enjoyed spending time with family and friends, being outside, and going to new places. A mirror is a story that reflects one’s own culture and guides you in building your own identity. A window is reflected in the literature that offers insight on someone else’s experiences and culture. The first story I choose to read was The Lost Cousins. In this story, the main characters Esme, Tate, and their Grandpa were all enjoying their day at the park looking through photo albums. Eseme and Tate were very curious as to who all these children were in the photos.
Their Grandpa proceeded to tell them that all these children were their cousins. So grand-dad, Esme, and Tate proceeded to travel across the world and find their long-lost cousins. The main conflict was that Esme and Tate did not want to leave their cousins because they knew they were going to miss them. So, they made sure they planned the next time they were going to see each other before they left. I related this book to my life because I have cousins all over the world. I have cousins in Ohio, Utah, and Florida that I don’t get to see that often. I also have cousins that I don’t know about, since my dad was adopted from South Korea.
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Cronin uses a cartoon style of art in his book, The Lost Cousins. Cartoon art consists of exaggerated characters that are used for comic or satiric effect. It is easy to depict what each figure is representing throughout the book. With that being said, the illustrations in this book are not realistic at all. The next story I choose to read was Paul and His Friends. In this book the main character, Paul, travels around the world with all of his friends in order to spread his love for God. Paul was very hesitant on spreading his love for God because he knew not everyone may have the same views as him. Over time, he became more and more comfortable because he was alongside his friends. I related to this book because I myself had a religious upbringing, and the church was a weekly part of my life. I even attended Sunday school sometimes as well as participated in summer camps through my church. Through these activities, I made many friendships that have lasted throughout the years.
In this story Paul and His Friends, all the characters are animals. So, its safe to assume that the author is using cartoon-style art. In this story Paul and His Friends. The next story I choose to read was Everyone Can Learn to Ride a Bike. In this book a little girl is learning to ride her first bike. She was very persistent at first but eventually becomes very discouraged because she kept falling. Her dad encourages her to keep trying and tells her that she should never give up. When I was little, I can remember the only thing I wanted to do was learn how to ride a bike. It took me days and days to learn how to properly balance without training wheels. I remember my parents were very helpful and often told me that I would get it one day, but I never believed them. In this way, the girl and I are alike because we were both eventually able to ride our bikes.
Chris Raschka uses cartoon style of art in her book Everyone Can Learn to Ride a Bike. It is very easy to pick out what each picture is supposed to represent. Cartoon-style art consists of exaggerated characters that are used for comic or satiric effects. Everything in this book appears to be done with watercolor paints. You can tell what each object in this story is, but if you didn’t have any prior knowledge you would not be able to determine what anything in this story is. For example, if you didn’t know that a bike had two wheels that were in the form of a circle. You would most likely not be able to tell that this story is based around a bicycle.
The next story I choose to read was The Brand-New Kid. In this book Lazlo, the main character, switched elementary schools. He was bullied, made fun of, and did not fit in for the first few weeks when he got to his new school. He was very upset everyday when he got home from school because he just wanted to make friends. One day, a little girl named Emily asked Lazlo if he wanted to come over and play after school. The two then had a play date and everything went very well. The day after their playdate Lazlo was very excited to go to school because he had finally made a friend who he believed would make school more enjoyable for him.
I related this book to me because I switched schools in elementary school. I was very nervous and found it very hard to go to school when I didn’t know anyone. But it eventually got better, I made friends, and loved my new school. Katie Couric uses a form of realism art in her book The Brand-New Kid. Realism art is described as realistic or representational art. This type of art displays the world with very close attention to detail. The illustrations in this book are very well thought out. For example, on each individual person's face you can see things like freckles, eyelashes, and blemishes.
The last story I choose to read was My First Puppy. This story was about the Sam’s journey of getting a new puppy. He was so excited to get his new puppy, Ralph. So excited that he was willing to learn every single little detail about taking care of dogs so that his mom and dad would be more willing to purchase him a puppy. Once Sam’s family finally adopted Ralph, he soon realized that taking care of a dog is a very big responsibility. But he loved Ralph, so he didn’t give up. He had to take him outside to bathroom multiple times throughout the day, teach him to sit, stay, and how to walk on a leash.
I related to this book because when I was in 5 years old my parents took me to the Animal Rescue League to get my dog, Princess. They made sure to tell me how hard it was going to be and that I will have to be very patient with the new puppy. Lisa Chimes uses realism art in her book My Brand-New Puppy. Throughout this story you can tell that the author paid very close attention to detail. You can see things like freckles, eyelashes, individual teeth, and whiskers on the puppy. Overall, it was very simple to find books that mirror my childhood. The parts of my childhood that were the easiest to find books on were thing’s that almost every child goes through at some point.
For instance, virtually all children go through the process of having to make new friends and learning to ride a bike. Some of the mirror books I choose could also be represented as a window. For instance, the story Lost Cousins, is based around Asian-American culture, and the different kinds of animals, foods, and practices they have in their culture. This could serve as a window for some children. This story could also act as a window because not all children have family members halfway across the world and they may not know what that is like. Another example of a story that may serve as a window for some children is, My New Puppy, because some children may not have the opportunity to get a puppy at a young age and may not have that experience.
For this assignment, I learned how easy it is to find mirror books that follow my lifestyle, but how challenging it may be for others. I also learned that there are lots of different ways you can relate to literature. A lot of books I picked up I didn't think I would be able to relate too, but after reading further I began to see more commonalities. The first point I took away from this assignment is that it’s important to read books that mirror your children, so they feel secure and accepted. The second point I took away from this assignment is that even though having mirror books for a child is important, it's almost more important to find books that children cannot relate too. Having books, they cannot relate to allows them to learn about other lifestyles and cultures. The last point I got from this assignment is to make sure I know every child well enough to know what books I could read to them to act as a window or mirror for them. In the future, I will use this information to make sure I challenge myself to have window and mirror books accessible for all children.
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