For Martin Luther King Jr's birthday this week, I talked a little about diversity. This is a little difficult to do when most of the kids I read to come from the same ethnic background, but it's good to talk about anyway. I'd like to think that racism is completely foreign to these kids, so I talk about it on a very basic level: a long time ago, people thought that people that were different should go to different schools, eat at different restaurants, etc. But with the help of MLK and others, we have learned that we can all be friends. I tell them it would be boring and no fun if everyone was exactly the same.
A nice, short board book with few words, showing babies from various cultures. I read the book, then talk about how babies are cute and are loved no matter who they are and where they live. And we always decide that all of these babies could be friends.
Book 2: Whoever You Are by Mem Fox
This book by Mem Fox illustrates the differences and similarities of children "all over the world". Her writing style really lends itself to being read out loud, and the illustrations are eye-catching. I saw that few of my kids latched on to the phrase "blood is the same" with a picture of a boy with a skinned knee, but I just kept reading and tried to emphasize the "all over the world" repetition instead.
Book 3: Colorful World by CeCe Winans
I read this book to the first couple storytime groups, but not the last few. I really like the illustrations, but the words don't "flow" right for me. I do realize it's a song, and maybe if I listened to it it would read easier, but as a book by itself, I'm not too excited about it.
It's difficult to find a quick, easy craft related to diversity for preschoolers. So I just did a maze, with a boy at one end and a group of other children (all obviously different cultures) at the other end. The kids did the maze, then colored the children and drew what they were all going to play with together.
This theme was used the week of January 18, 2010.