I don’t know about you, but I kind of miss the olde blogging days of yore. When I started blogging in 2007, I was all about the link-ups, the comments and the tags (Tag Seven Friends Who Want to Tell Us All About Their Favorite Costume Drama Adaptation Mini-Series Crush.)
But alas, we are too wise and mature to participate in such things in this modern age. Except for once in a while when I totally give in and get all giddy about a link-up again. Today is that day.
I have been following Multicultural Children’s Book Day on social media since shortly after Multicultural Children’s Book Day passed last year. I was determined to participate in 2016!
My true passion is ethnically diverse children’s books that have nothing to do with race (I wish there was a more trim way of saying that!) because those are the types of books that make kids feel normal, and we all need to feel normal (accepted, welcomed, human.) However, I have special plans for a post about my favorite E.D.C.B.T.H.N.T.D.W.R. (heehee) and so I thought I’d take a different route today for Multicultural Children’s Books Day! Instead of focus on racial diversity, I am focusing on the cultural side of things.
In April of 2015, my parents and my two youngest sisters and I had the privilege of seeing Europe for the first time. We got to tour around The Netherlands, Switzlerland, Italy, Latvia and Sweden (and see Germany and Russia from trains and airport terminals!) My mother, being the diehard homeschooler she is, bought lots of books before we left for our trip and scattered them around the house to prepare our minds for new language, geography and culture. However, the book I am reviewing today was actually a gift from my mother after her first trip to Latvia in 2014. She knows that children’s books are what I think of as the perfect souvenir!
Flying Adventure by Māra Cielēna and Gundega Muzikante
This may seem like a strange choice, seeing as none of the main characters in Flying Adventure are human, but I can assure you, the Latvian culture is present! Originally written in Latvian, this book is by a well-known native author and illustrated by a graduate of Art Academy of Latvia.
Flying Adventure is the story of the inhabitants of Heightstown, a bird village in Lativa. An industrial revolution of sorts has happened and the pigeons, gulls, crows and sparrows have all taken to inventing, building and using flying machines of all kinds! At first, humans are surprised to see pigeons landing tiny helicopters on the park lawn, but it soon becomes commonplace. (It seems obvious to me that this is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the usage of cars, as Latvians can and do walk almost everywhere and prefer it that way!) The story focuses on one family of gulls who live in what looks like Old Riga. When the father can finally afford his own flying machine, he becomes the envy of the neighborhood, and he soon plans a big family trip to see the land of their ancestors. The journey proves to be a topsy-turvy adventure, complete with a broken-down flying machine and a big choice. Can the gull family resort to the practices of their ancestors and use their own wings to return to Heightstown?
I love the Latvian names, true Latvian scenery and even a glimpse of the national flag in this book. It really takes me back to that lovely country when I flip through the pages!
It has been great following Multicultural Children’s Book Day on Facebook for the past year and visiting their awesome list of resources over and over again! Check them out and tell me in the comments, or through email if you’re a subscriber: what’s your favorite children’s book from another culture?