Book of the Month – April

Our ABC Book of the Month for April is René Has Two Last Names by René Colato Laínez. This book focuses on helping students learn to respect different cultural customs and
traditions, understand the importance of maintaining customs, and have an inclusive mindset. Culture is a shared system of meanings, beliefs, values, and behaviors through which we
interpret our experiences. It is learned, collective, and changes over time. Each of us has a cultural identity. This makes us unique and contributes to diversity in our communities.

LESSON

CONVERSATION STARTER

Ask your child(ren):

  • What does the word difference mean? (Something that is not the same about two or more people.)
  • What does the word diversity mean? (Having a lot of variety; being made up of many different kinds of people.)
  • What do you think of when you hear the word different? On chart
    paper, make a word web of ways people or things might feel or seem different from each other.

READ THE BOOK

Watch the video of the book together: https://youtu.be/MP0qjzj6oEE

TALK ABOUT IT

  1. René is bothered that his name changes when he comes to the US. What other things might have changed for René?
  2. How does he use his lid when he is teased?
  3. Has anyone ever made fun of you because you were different? (name, cultural tradition, or physical attribute) How did that make you feel?
  4. What will you think about or do next time you feel different
  5. What advice would you give to another student who was feeling this way? Have you ever helped a new student feel more comfortable? What did you do?

ACTIVITIES

The Crayon Box
Materials: crayons, 2 sheets of drawing paper for each child, crayon box for each child

Pass out one sheet of drawing paper. Tell students they can only select one color from the big box of crayons to draw with. Have them draw a picture using just the one crayon.

After about 5 minutes, pass out a second sheet. Have your child(ren) take out their box of crayons and draw a picture. They can use as many crayons as they wish. When done ask your child(ren):

  • Which picture do you like best?
  • Why?
  • Which paper would you like to display at home?

End with saying that the world would be boring if we were all alike. The diversity in the world makes it as beautiful as a colorful box of crayons.

OR

Investigating My Name
Materials: 1 worksheet for each child.

Give each child a copy of the Investigating My Name worksheet. Have your child(ren) interview you, fill it out and then write a paragraph about how and why they were given their name.

SUMMARY

This book teaches us that each of us has a personal identify filled with feelings, beliefs, and cultural traditions and customs. There are many cultures represented in our community. When we learn about other cultures, it promotes understanding of others. When we explain our culture to others, it also promotes understanding of differences. So like René, we need to learn about others, as a way to build empathy and tolerance. By teaching our children the importance of accepting others and sharing our cultural heritage,
we create a stronger community where all children feel safe and know that they belong