This is a timely book in the current political climate of the U.S., where even legal immigrants are being viewed as suspiciously other. It’s strange that in a world that seems to be smaller each day, we are separating ourselves more than ever.
Sonya Sahi and the First Grade: It’s International Day! by Soma Mandel and illustrated by Tim Williams will help young readers learn to embrace their differences. It would be a perfect addition to any classroom library to help promote the acceptance of diversity.
This is the story of Sonya Sahni, born in the States to parents from India. Her family wants her to be connected to her culture of origin, and has her dress in traditional Indian clothes, eat the cuisine and watch Indian shows. This of course makes her stand out from her classmates, which in turn makes her feel isolated.
Her teacher meets with Sonya’s parents and suggests having an International Day where each child can show off foods and dress representing their heritage. Sonya is amazed at the sheer variety of new cultures and tastes that are displayed. She learns to take pride in all the parts of herself.
The book is written in simple rhyming verse, which will make reading it aloud for this age range more fun. The illustrations are bright and uncomplicated, and the colorful border of international flags around the pages is a nice touch.
It is ultimately a great reminder that we are all immigrants here, and that’s what makes this crazy patchwork of a country so beautiful and unique.
Sonya Sahni and the First Grade: It’s International Day! is available from Mindstir Media.