Historical Multicultural Books

Disclosure: I was sent these books free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Today I am sharing with yous four fun books that are  multicultural and a bit historical. Our first book is Let's Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout; Dance, Spin & Turn It Out! collected by Patricia C. McKissack and illustrated by Brian Pinkney. It is a collection of games, songs and stories from an African American childhood and is perfect for summertime.

Do you remember all those songs that we played hand claps with one another or perhaps jumped rope to? This book has it all. It has a chapter on hand claps with classics like "Patty-Cake" and "Mary Mack" as well as non-traditional ones like "Shimmy, Shimmy Coco Pop" and various versions of "Eenie Meenie". Each hand clap has a bit of history about it introducing it to the reader.  Then there is a chapter on jump rope rhymes and games. The chapter starts with a bit of history about jumping rope. Then there are the songs and games. It includes a description as well as songs for Double Dutch as well as single-rope jumping, hot pepper, jump back, honey, jump back, under the rope, and tug-of-war rhymes. I will admit I do not recognize too many of these rhymes. The third chapter is circle games and ring shouts. These songs and games have introduction information with them and they include ones like "If You're Happy" as well as stomp and shout folk songs like "Dem Bones." Chapter four are songs inspired by the Underground Railroad. In the introduction there is even a table sharing some coded words, spiritual meanings and runaway's meanings. How perfect for a bit of US history lesson. Chapters five and six delve a bit more into Christianity with spirituals, hymns, and gospel music and proverbs, psalms and parables. Chapter seven shares superstitions, fables and mama sayings. Chapter eight is a collection of pieces from African American writers as well as information about the writer. The writers include Paul Laurence Dunbar, James Weldon Johnson, and Langston Hughes. The final chapter is folktales and stories. 

This book is full of African American history and culture. It is also full of fun rhymes to jump rope and play other games. It is the perfect exploration into the culture in a very fun way. Throughout the book there are touches of Christianity which we also love. It is full of so much interesting things it is hard to do it justice here in one post. 

Do you know what the role of a falcon was in medieval time? Does your child dream of living in a castle? Our next book is The Hawk of the Castle: A Story of Medieval Falconry by Danna Smith and illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline. Learn about the relationship the hawk had with its "owner". Did you know the hawks were used for hunting? There was not much of a relationship besides that though. The hawks helped humans to hunt because the humans would help with the kill and give the hawk some food. This book spreads light on the entire subject. It is such an interesting piece of history and one I will admit I did not really know much about. 

The illustrations are beautiful and colorful. The story follows a young girl and her father, the falconer of a medieval castle as they take the hawk out for flight. There are side boxes giving more details about the birds, the hunt and time period. It is another informative book full of details and more!

Our next book is a multicultural book that shares the story of dance teams as they practice and rehearse dances inspired by their favorite books to perform at the National Dance Institute of New Mexico. The book is Boys Dancing: From School Gym to Theater Stage by George Ancona. The book is more a of a photo album of the rehearsals and progress of the dancers and the dances. The dances are based on Treasure Island and The Adventure of Tom Sawyer.  The day of the show arrives and there are photographs of the opening as well as of the dances inspired by Oh, The Places You'll Go!, Where the Wild Things AreThe Thousand and One Nights, New Mexico Folktales, and Sherlock Holmes

The book shares the wonderful talents and adventures of these boys who learned to dance, leap, and more and were able to sow off their efforts at a big show. It looks like such a wonderful experience for any child that will teach confidence and imagination. 

Our final book today is King of the Sky by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Laura Carlin. A young Russian boy has just immigrated with his family to Italy. The boy finds it hard since the people in Italy speak a different language and he misses his home and community. He feels very unwelcome. The only thing that reminds him of home is his elderly neighbor's pigeons. Every day he visited Mr. Evans, the neighbor, and his pigeons. The boy becomes friends with his neighbor and learns a bit about him and a lot about pigeons. Mr. Evans even gives one of the pigeons to the boy and he names him King of the Sky. The birds are entered in races and they win some! It is a happy book about neighbors, immigrating, fitting in and more. 

This book shares so much emotion and experiences. It is a look into a life many do not know an it is beautifully done. The pictures are simple and a bit dull but they share the emotion of the story. 

All four of these books share different things from life and history. They are full of story as well as culture. I hope you will check them out!