Showing posts with label Caribbean. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Caribbean. Show all posts

Else B. in the Sea -- Book Review & Giveaway with Under the Sea Craft Round-Up


Disclosure: I was sent a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I am working with The Children's Book Review and Jeanne Walker Harvey to bring you this post and giveaway. All opinions are my own.

I love books that share about people you may not have heard of. Today I get to share a nonfiction picture book about a woman who explored colors and paints of under water to share what a scientist saw on his underwater exploration. The woman is Else Bostelmann. The book is Else B. in the Sea The Woman Who Painted the Wonders of the Deep by Jeanne Walker Harvey and illustrated by Melodie Stacey.

If You Were Me and Lived In.... a Look at Cultures Around the World

Disclosure: Carole P. Roman sent me these books for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Do you like to read books about different cultures? Since we don't travel very often, I love to teach Hazel about different cultures and I have found books to be a wonderful way to do this. Today I get to share three books from a wonderful series by Carole P. Roman. The series is If You Were Me and Lived In...A Child's Introduction to Cultures Around the World. Unlike the books in the Ancient Culture series I shared last week, these books focus on current cultures in the countries. The series of books that include a map of the country as well as a picture of a globe showing where the country is and a pronunciation guide with meanings as well. We will go in alphabetical order with our three countries and start with If You Were Me and Lived in...Australia

Around the World in 12 Dishes: Exploring Cuba

Have you entered my giveaway for 4 Christmas DVDs yet? It is ending soon!!

This month we are exploring Cuba with Around the World in 12 Dishes. I was rather excited to learn more about Cuba since it is such a mysterious country to me. With all the trade and travel restrictions it seems like an unknown place. We have explored Cuba with books, stories, music, crafts and food from home. To learn more about Cuba and see more resources check out my introduction post at the Around the World in 12 Dishes blog. We had also learned a bit about Cuba during the Hispanic Heritage Month when we read about Celia Cruz, a Cuban-American salsa singer. 

Celia Cruz 1
Celia Cruz By Lionel Decoster (Own work) 
[GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Around the World in 12 Dishes: Jamaica

Congratulations to Natalie from Afterschool for Smarty Pants on winning my latest giveaway!

Today we are "traveling" to Jamaica with Around the World with 12 Dishes. As usual we have been exploring Jamaica with stories, books, music and food. We will be spending a little extra time in Jamaica since we are joining a wonderful group of Multicultural Kid Blogs to present Christmas in Different Lands and have chosen Christmas in Jamaica which we will post about on December 23rd! I hope you will come back to learn more about Christmas in Jamaica and a huge thank you to Sherika from Saturday Market in Jamaica who is helping me with my research and giving me some recipes to present this to you!!

Jamaica CIA map
Source: By Directorate of Intelligence, CIA [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Jamaica is an island country in the Caribbean Sea. Christopher Columbus claimed it for the Spanish in 1494. When he arrived in Jamaica there was more than 200 villages of indigenous people living there. The indigenous people are the Taino and the Arawak.  The Taino still inhabited the island when the British took command in 1655.When the British took over, the Spanish colonists freed their slaves and left. The slaves joined the Taino in the mountains. The group was called the Maroons and they fought the British throughout the 18th century. Under British rule Jamaica became the world's largest sugar exporter as well as the largest slave-dependent country. After the abolition of slavery, the British brought in Indian and Chinese indentured servants to do the work. Their descendents still live there.
Doll my grandparents brought me from their trip to Jamaica

In the beginning of the 19th century the ratio of black people to white people in Jamaica was 20 to 1. Jamaica gained its independence in 1962. It is a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy. Queen Elizabeth II is the ruling monarch and head of state. Her appointed representative in the country is the Governor-General of Jamaica, currently Sir Patrick Allen.

The climate in Jamaica is tropical. The official language is English. However Jamaicans speak an English-African Creole language known as Jamaican Patois. Reggae music originated in Jamaica along with some other types. Reggae music helped spread knowledge of Jamaican Patois.
A bowl of our sweet potato pone

Ok, now onto our recipe. We made Sweet Potato Pone. The book, Cooking the Caribbean Way by Cheryl Davidson Kaufman said it was a popular dish for Christmas morning, but all the references I have seen on-line say it is a favorite dessert. I, of course, returned the book  by mistake before making it, so we used a recipe I found on-line at Real Jamaican Vacations.

Sweet Potato Pone
1 lb sweet potato, grated (this is about one large sweet potato)
1 cup flour (we used gluten-free)
1 cup evaporated milk
2 cups coconut milk (we used canned)
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup grated coconut
1 cup raisins
2 tbsp margarine

Combine sweet potato with milk, sugar, flour and spices. Mix well. Add raisins, coconut and margarine. Mix thoroughly and taste for sweetness. Add more sugar to taste. Pour into a greased baking pan and bake at 370F for approximately 1 hour, or until center is set.It took 70 minutes for us.

At first we tried shredding our sweet potato. However after we mixed it all together, I realized it need to be finer. At this point Hazel had lost interest (well more like lost energy due to being sick), so I put it back in the food processor all mixed together and got it more grated instead of shredded. This seemed to do the trick. Hazel helped peel the sweet potato and shred it. Then she helped measure (including packing the brown sugar down) and stir it all together. We had to pretend we worked in a restaurant which apparently needs new employees since she kept going off to talk to the ones not doing their jobs. Oh, the imagination of an almost five-year-old. Hazel said she liked the pone, but did not eat much of it. Of course she didn't eat much of anything that day since she was sick. Steve and I both liked it a lot.

Here are the books we used to look at recipes, crafts and more.

Then we enjoyed stories from these books. Hazel especially liked the Anansi stories. It is funny the difference a year makes. She did not like the Annasi stories when we read some of them from Africa.

Finally we found some Jamaican music to enjoy on these CD's. Much of the music is reggae or calypso, but it is fun music!

For some more Jamaican recipes stop by on December 23rd and check out these great posts. If you have a Jamaican recipe to share, please link it up. Also you can get the Jamaican passport pages and placemat. Plus join us next month as we "travel" to Peru!

Make sure you check out:

Fairy Tales in Different Cultures: Sugar Cane: A Caribbean Rapunzel

Have you  missed our Fairy Tales in Different Cultures lately? Sorry. My life got so crazy I had trouble getting the posts done. However in honor of "visiting" Jamaica this month with Around the World in 12 Dishes, I thought I would jump to a Rapunzel story and share Sugar Cane: A Caribbean Rapunzel by Patricia Storace. Since Jamaica is in the Caribbean, it seemed fitting. We have already looked at Cendrillon: A Caribbean Cinderella by Robert D. San Souci last February. First a bit about the Caribbean. (A Side Note: I will not be featuring a fairy tale next week, but instead will feature some multicultural Christmas books to check out.)

CIA map of the Caribbean
Source: By U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) 
[Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The Caribbean consists of the Caribbean Sea, its islands and surrounding coasts. The Caribbean islands are considered a subregion of  North America. The island countries in the Caribbean include Anguilla, Antigua-and-Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Netherlands Antilles, Puerto Rico, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Kitts-and-Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent-and-the-Grenadines, Trinidad-and-Tobago, Turks-and-Caicos Islands, and United States Virgin Islands. (Source) There are thousands of islands in the Caribbean. The islands have a tropical climate.

St. Croix
Before European contact it was estimated that there was 750,000 inhabitants. Due to disease and social contact, the numbers declined. The population rose as slaves from Africa were brought in. The Caribbean is now a mix of mostly Spanish, French and Dutch-Caribbeans as well as the descendents from the slaves of Africa and Ireland. Since so many different countries are in the Caribbean the population is diverse.

Now onto our story!  This story is begins with a fisherman and his wife on an island in the Caribbean. The wife announces that she is pregnant. Then a few days later she begins craving sugar cane. The husband tries to bring her other sweet things since sugar cane is only available in the center of the island and not near the beach, but she insists on sugar cane. Finally he agrees to get her some. He walks a long way and stops for lunch and a nap in a forest. When he awakes he finds a path to a beautiful coral house with a large garden with every plant that grows on the island in it. He knocks on the door, but no one answers. He decides to take a few sugar cane. His wife is ecstatic to get it, but her cravings continue. He goes back and finds the house again and knocks again. No one answers so he takes a few more canes, but this time he is caught and the sugar cane grow around him like a jail. A masked woman comes and she is a famous sorceress named Madame Fate. She tells him that she will take sugar cane from him since he took sugar cane from her. She already knew the baby would be a girl and named Sugar Cane. She tells him she will come for the baby on her first birthday.

Caña de Azucar
Source: By Cmales (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], 
via Wikimedia Commons

The fisherman tried to hide his family on Sugar Cane's first birthday, but Madame Fate found them and took Sugar Cane. The parents searched for Madame Fate's house, but they never found it again. Madame Fate took Sugar Cane to the rocky coast and put her in a tower overlooking the sea. Sugar Cane was given a pet green monkey named Callaloo for company.Sugar Cane grew more beautiful every day. When Madame Fate came to visit she would Sugar Cane to let down her hair. Madame Fate educated Sugar Cane by bringing people back from the dead to teach her. An angel from the heavenly choir taught her to sing. As much as Sugar Cane appreciated her spirit teachers and her monkey, she longed for human company. At night she would stand at her window and sing.

One night a fisherman called "King" heard Sugar Cane singing. Now "King" got his name because he was the King of Song. When he heard Sugar Cane's voice singing words to a song he was making up in his head, he looked up and saw the girl. Just then Madame Fate came to visit. He saw her climb up Sugar Cane's hair. He stayed on his boat and watched Madame Fate leave. He went to investigate the tower and found there was no other way in besides the girl's hair. He chanted the song he heard Madame Fate sing to get the hair and climbed up. Sugar Cane was startled when she saw King. King was very polite and she was excited to meet someone new and someone so handsome. Sugar Cane and King began to play and sing music together. Soon the morning came and Sugar Cane told King he had to leave. He promised to come again. He kept coming and started to bring her jewels. Sugar Cane began to weave a ladder from her hair strands. She would work on it on the nights King did not visit her. She knew she wanted to leave the tower and marry King. 

Jamaica sunrise
Jamaican Sunrise Source: By Adam L. Clevenger (Own work)
[CC-BY-SA-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

Madame Fate noticed Sugar Cane's joy and became suspicious. She started to make surprise visits to Sugar Cane. One night she brought Sugar Cane a dress and found one of the jewels from King. She became so angry hearing about King, Madame Fate cut Sugar Cane's hair and threw it out the window. Then Madame Fate locked Sugar Cane in her room. Sugar Cane rushed to get out her ladder and escape from Madame Fate and her fury. When she and Callaloo got the bottom she did not know where to go. She did not see King's boat. Callaloo had grabbed some of the jewels before leaving and he hoped these would save them. One of the things he grabbed was the coral necklace her mother had made her for her first birthday. It no longer fit her neck, but she put it on her wrist. Then they heard Madame Fate chant and the ocean opened like a tiger's mouth. Sure they were going to be pulled to the bottom of the sea, they tried to run, but the next thing they knew they were carried on a large wave to the capital city. Sugar Cane was lost and did not know where to go. She searched for King and King searched for her. Months later King found her. They were married shortly after. During their first dance, a woman in the crowd recognized the bracelet on Sugar Cane's wrist as the necklace she made for her lost daughter's first birthday. Sugar Cane was reunited with her parents and the dancing continued and continued. 

One of the things I liked about reading this version is it does talk about some of the life in the Caribbean. The story describes the nets they sleep under and black cake. It definitely gives you a feel for life in the Caribbean.

Flamingo Friday: Chilean & Caribbean Flamingos

Have you entered my current giveaway yet?

Continuing on looking at the species of flamingos, I thought I would give you some information about the last two that live in the Americas: the Chilean and the Caribbean Flamingos. Now these are the only flamingos I have seen live since our local zoo and Sea World have these kinds.

Source: By Kevin Walsh from Bicester, England, UK.
(flamingoscene.Uploaded by PDTillman.) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
The Chilean Flamingo:
The Chilean Flamingos range from 31 to 51 inches in height. Their weight ranges from 4.2 to 6.6 pounds. It is closely related to the Caribbean and the Greater Flamingos. Their plumage is pinker than the Greater flamingos but lighter than the Caribbean. Their legs are also grey with pink joints and a large amount of black on their bills. Their young are grey and remain grey for two to three years. Both male and female Chilean flamingos produce the "milk" to feed their young.
Chilean and Caribbean Flamingos at Stone Zoo, Stoneham, Massachusetts
Here is a YouTube Video of some Chilean flamingos at the Atlantic Zoo.

They breed in temperate South America: from Ecuador and Peru to Chile and Argentina and east to Brazil. They also have been introduced in Germany and the Netherlands and have a small population in Utah and California in the United States.
Hazel and a flamingo at Sea World


Sources:  Sea World Animal Bytes and  Wikipedia

The Caribbean Flamingo:
A Parent feeding a Young Chick at Stone Zoo
 The Caribbean flamingo is also known as the American flamingo. It is the only species of flamingo that inhabits North America naturally. The Caribbean flamingo is one of the larger and the brightest of the flamingos. Their height ranges from 31 to 57 inches and their weight ranges from 4.2 to 6.6 pounds. Their feathers are pink with  red wing coverts. They have black flight feathers (like most flamingos). Their beaks are pink and white with a black tip and their legs are completely pink.
Source: By Martin Pettitt from Bury St Edmunds, UK
(Caribbean flamingo) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
The Caribbean flamingos are found in the North Coast of South America, the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, and a range of Caribbean islands. There is also a small population in the Galapagos Islands. They are the only species of flamingos that breed in small groups (sometimes as small as 3-4 pairs).
Sources: Wikipedia, Sea World Animal Bytes, and Flamingo Resource Centre

Here is a video from YouTube of a Caribbean flamingo chick taking its first steps.

That is what we have for this week's Flamingo Friday. Soon we will talk about the Greater and the Lesser flamingos. Enjoy!!

Cendrillon: A Carribean Cinderella: Fairy Tales in Different Cultures

This week we will get back to celebrating Black History Month and travel to a place I wish I could be right now--the Caribbean. (Oh, how I wish to have some warm weather right now and not all this snow!) A bit about the Caribbean first.


The Caribbean is the area that consists of the Caribbean Sea and all the islands in it. It comprises of more than 7000 islands including Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, the Cayman Islands, Saint Croix, The Bahamas, Antigua, Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Dominica, Montserrat, Saba, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia, Saint Thomas, Saint John, Tortola, Grenada, Saint Vincent, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Trinidad & Tobago. The climate is tropical, but rainfall varies greatly. The Caribbean Islands are remarkable diversity in animals, plants and fungi, because of the diverse terrestrial and marine ecosystems. (Source) I know when Steve and I went to St. Croix for our honeymoon, one half of the island is desert-like and the other side is rainforest.
St. Croix
The ecosystems of the Caribbean have been devastated by deforestation, pollution and human encroachment. Many animals, plants and fungi have gone extinct or are in danger of becoming extinct. Since there are several different countries in the Caribbean, I will leave it with the European settlers first started growing tobacco and later sugarcane to be imported to Europe. (Source)

Now onto our Cinderella story for this week. This week we are looking at Cendrillon by Robert D. San Souzi. In the author's note it is stated that this story is loosely based on the French Creole tale "Cendrillo" in Turiault's Creole Grammar from the nineteenth century. San Souzi chose to incorporate elements from the West Indian culture and costume as well as drawing on details of life on the island of Martinique.

Cendrillon is told by the point of view of the godmother. The godmother is a poor woman who on her mother's deathbed, her mother gave her a mahogany wand and told her to tap it three times to change one thing to another for a short time and it would only work to help someone she loved. As an orphan she has no use for this wand since she had no one to love or to love her. 

She survived to become an adult and became a washer woman. One of her clients was a kind woman who was often sick. She nursed this client when she was sick and in return the client made her godmother to her baby girl, Cendrillon, when she was born. The client died shortly afterwards. Cendrillon's father married a cold woman who treated Cendrillon like a house servant. Soon the stepmother had a daughter of her own whom she spoiled. 

Even with the mistreatment, Cendrillon stayed happy and was always smiling, joking and singing. When she was old enough she would see her godmother and the other washer women by the river every day so she could wash the family's laundry. There she joked, sang and smiled. One day however she came and was sad and the women could not cheer her up. Finally she told her godmother about the party that she wanted to go to that night, but her stepmother would not allow her to join them. The party was for the birthday of the son of a wealthy man. The son was good looking, intelligent and kind. The godmother promised Cendrillon she would find a way for her to go. After praying she remembered the wand.

The godmother rushed over to Cendrillon's house. The family was running late so the godmother helped out since both the stepmother and stepsister were yelling at her for help. As soon as they were gone the godmother told Cendrillon to find a piece of fruit from the garden. She came back with a round breadfruit, which the godmother tapped three times with the wand and they had a beautiful coach. Changing six agoutis to horses, five brown field lizards to footmen and a plump manicou to a coachman, completed the way they would get to the party. Then the godmother tapped Cendrillon and her rags became a beautiful sky-blue velvet gown with a matching turban with a pin of gold and a pale rose silk shoulder scarf and elegant pink slippers. She also had gold rings in her ears, bracelets, and necklaces with gold beads bigger than peas. Afterwards the godmother tapped herself since any proper young woman would need a chaperone and off they went. The godmother warned Cendrillon that the magic would not last long so they would need to leave by midnight. Cendrillon agreed.

Cendrillon made quite an entrance turning all the heads. Paul, for whom the party was for, asked her to dance and would only dance with her. The godmother was off enjoying the food especially the chocolate sherbert. They lost track of time and the bells started to toll midnight so the godmother told Cendrillon that they had to leave and she followed. Paul tried to stop her, but the people at the party got in his way. Cendrillon tripped on the stairs and lost a slipper. They barely made it out and found themselves a short bit away in the middle of the street with a smashed breadfruit and animals running for hiding.The only part of the magic that stayed was the one pink slipper on Cendrillon's foot. Cendrillon said she would keep it forever to remember the wonderful night she had.

The next day Cendrillon did not come to the river to do the laundry. The godmother stopped by to check on her and found she was sick in bed with a broken heart. Her stepmother and stepsister just thought she was lazy. While talking with Cendrillon the godmother heard a commotion and investigated. She found Paul had come and was asking all the single young women on the island to try on the pink slipper. The stepsister tried it on but could not get her large foot into it. The godmother rushed back into Cednrillon's room and begged her to come out. She did. The godmother tapped her three times with the wand, but Cendrillon said no more magic. Paul immediately fell to his knees and put the slipper on her and then he asked her to marry him. The godmother claimed there was no bigger celebration even for a king and queen. It lasted three days and she had only left to tell the story.

Here is my Cinderella Sheet to compare stories for Cendrillon.

For crafts we made two types of wands. The first are with milkshake straws and blue painters' tape for bumps. Then we taped them.

The second one I followed this wonderful tutorial shared on Sharing Saturday awhile ago by Hideous! Dreadful! Stinky! I used a wooden dowel and my glue gun to make the bumps. What do you think?

Also some coloring pages: