Sunday, September 02, 2007

Romina's Rangoli, and celebrations of untold story

The places where cultures intersect are always rife with possible conflict, and because of that they're also rich with story. Read Pooja Makhijani's review of Romina's Rangoli by Malathi Michelle Iyengar, illustrated by Jennifer Wanardi, on Chicken Spaghetti. Rangoli meets papel picado in this picture book about a child from a bicultural family. From Shen's Books. Pooja's review also touches on little-known histories of the earliest South Asians to arrive in North America.

It seems as if we're finally seeing an awakening of interest in such untold stories. Japanese American stories from five Interior Western states will be showcased next year in an inspiring conference, "Whose America? Who's American? Diversity, Civil Liberties, and Social Justice."

Combining the commemoration of loss with the celebration of survival, and with the interrogation of larger principles of redress and justice are essential, if we're to learn anything from history. And the stories we tell in children's books reveal sharply the extent to which we're willing to shed the gloss of conventional history and tell kids the truth we owe them.

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