Archives For Global Perspective

Call me naive. But I just don’t understand why people are so threatened by a book that can expand a child’s understanding of the world. I am talking about the hullabaloo surrounding the magnificent picture book, Golden Domes, Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors.  domesWhile I am late to the controversy, I want to add my two cents to the conversation. Mainly because the whole brouhaha is a perfect example of why we MUST give children all sorts of windows and mirrors. If we do not share stories from a range of multiple perspectives, then fear will flourish and people will wage war rather than create connections.

If, like me, you are just discovering that there was both a twitter battle and a parent who returned the book in disgust, you might be imagining a very toxic book. However, Hena Khan’s powerfully simple, rhyming text merely shares with the reader traditions and colors of Islam. The artwork by Mehrdokht Amini bathes the reader in the beauty of this way of being in the world.

Yet certain “gatekeepers” feel like it is their obligation to protect children.

But what could be possibly threatening about a culturally specific example of the universal concept of helping those in need?giveneed

I can only imagine the fear that makes someone react to a recommendation or purchase of the book with the stance that “Islam is dangerous” (part of the twitter battle with author/ former educator Kate Messner) or  “I don’t want this culture around my children,…Learn to read and write before we start teaching (about) the fanaticals.” (Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal – Father upset after child finds Muslim book at school fair.)

While there are individuals in any group who may have extreme views or behaviors if we as the adult “gatekeepers” don’t expose children to multiple stories about multiple ways of being, we are accomplices in perpetuating intolerance and terror.

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  Windows and mirrors can change your life. Yes, mirrors can show you the sDSC_0950pinach stuck in your teeth. And the breeze wafting through your window can cool a stuffy room. But I mean something more profound. Something that can knock down limiting walls and expand your horizons. What in the global world am I talking about?

The conceptual framework conceived by Emily Styles as part of the national SEED project. (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity)  Mirrors are stories that reflect your culture/reality and help you understand yourself.

Windows are books, movies, art, etc thaDSC_0990t offer you a view into someone else’s experience. We all need both in our lives. 

When you just have mirrors, your world view lacks the beauty of a wide range of perspectives. When you just have windows you feel like you don’t belong. But when you see life through this lens, and make room for both windows and mirrors, a rich, diverse, global world reveals that there are multiple ways of being.

To learn how to use this inclusive concept to educate children to be empathic citizens check out this post