Learning About Holidays & Fairness


Title of Children’s Book:  The Trees of The Dancing Goats

Author(s) of Children’s Book:  Particia Polacco

Brief Summary of the Book:

“The Trees of the Dancing Goats” is a wonderful story about the power and strength of friendship, and how the holidays have the ability to bring people together. This story tells the tale of a young girl named Trisha and her family, who are getting ready to celebrate Hanukkah while their neighbours are getting ready to celebrate Christmas. The story goes on to explain how the neighbours all enjoy watching each other celebrate their own special family holidays and eventually tells of how Trisha’s family is able to help out their neighbours when they need it most. When Trisha’s neighbours get sick during the holiday season, Trisha’s family finds it hard to celebrate and enjoy their own festivities knowing that their good friends next door are unable to celebrate as well. Trisha’s family decides to adopt the Christmas tradition of decorating a tree and plans to deliver it to their friends to help cheer them up. Trisha’s family does not normally celebrate Christmas, but when they knew that decorating Christmas trees would cheer their friends up, they adopted the tradition to support them. In the end, all the neighbors ended up having an enjoyable holiday season together while celebrating aspects of both holidays.

Title of Children’s Book:  New year at the Pier

Author(s) of Children’s Book:  April Halprin Wayland and Illustrated by Stephane Jorisch

Brief Summary of the Book:

“New Year at the Pier” Is a story of a young Jewish boy named Izzy who is beginning to celebrate Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year). In preparation Izzy and his family begin to write a “I’m sorry” list before Tashlich. Tashlich is a ritual performed at a large, natural body of flowing water (e.g., river, lake, sea or ocean) on the afternoon of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Counting aloud on Izzy’s fingers he remembers the times he let someone down or acted in a crude way. Sharing his I’m sorry list with his sister and mom they all head down to the pier where Rabbi Neil begins to play the shofars (a large horn). After the Rabbi Neil is done, Izzy’s mom yells out it’s time! She begins to hand out slices of bread for the adults and children to throw into the air as they apologize for the things they have done. Tashlich means to throw. Tashlich is like cleaning your heart’s closet. A new year, a clean heart. Will Izzy keep true to his I’m sorry list and be able to clean his heart entering a new year? Read “New Year at the Pier” and find out.

Title of Children’s Book: Shante Keys and the New Year’s Peas

Author(s) of Children’s Book:  Gail Piernas-Davenpor

Brief Summary of the Book:

“Shante Keys and the New Year’s Peas” is a story about a young girl who is determined not to break tradition of eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s.  When she arrives at her grandma’s and her grandma tells her that she’s forgotten her peas, Shante runs around her neighbourhood asking if anyone has black-eyed peas.  In the process of asking all of her neighbours, she learns about other foods people eat on New Year’s and other holidays (such as Scottish eating haggis and cheese, and people eating grapes in Mexico). She learns about all sorts of traditions in the process of looking for peas.  She finally finds peas at her Auntie’s house and then they head back to her grandma’s together.  At the end, the people who Shante had asked that day had shown up at her grandmas to celebrate and try the peas.

Title of Children’s Book: Ramadan Moon

Author: Na’ima Robert & Shirin Adl

Brief Summary of the Book:

Ramadan is a Muslim celebration where a month of strict fasting from sunrise to sunset occurs. Na’ima Robert and Shirin Adl create a wonderful introduction as what it means to celebrate Ramadan, for any child. This book takes us on an adventure starting from the first crescent moon and ending with a crescent moon. Throughout the book we travel to mosque, take part in early morning prayers, and eat only at night. During Ramadan, the characters do all sorts of good deeds like looking to give away things, collecting money for charity, being kind and caring, as well as trying not to be angry. When the crescent moon appears for the second time Eid day is announced and the Muslim world rejoices and a festival begins. On Eid there is haircuts, henna patterns, new clothes, family and friends, parties, and treats. All in all, “Ramadan Moon” is a great holiday resource to read with your students. Who knows, maybe your future students could teach you and their peers more about Ramadan!

*Book selection & summary made in conjunction with students from Winter 2017 ECE 325 class.