Tuesday, August 17, 2010

FIAR again, eventually

This morning was dedicated to tidying and laundry, and just when I was kind of thinking of planning lunch and the afternoon, Rob called to say that he was coming home and, since my plans were incompatible with having Daddy at home all afternoon, I cancelled them.

Turned out he needed to be at home and be able to WORK from home. Ah, then. That's a bit different. So he came home and we all had lunch, and then the three children and I went out. First we dropped some books off at the charity shop, and I had a look for any books they might have about North America or African Americans or anyone black in America but the stuff involving or about black people was all about immigrants to the UK as far as I could see. Which is also interesting, but not totally topical. I got some books about the Large family anyway, and a Michael Moore for myself.

Then we went to the library, and they had very very little too - a book on slavery which is probably more than either of my two girls can handle, and some Brer Rabbit stories, but I'm pretty sure Brer Rabbit isn't - oh, language is funny, I was about to say isn't kosher, but I mean isn't authentic - so I shall have to look that up. However, since I was specifically looking for books with black people on the cover, I found a bunch of lovely ones which we'll read anyway. My friend L was there and she did something for Black History Month a while ago about the slave trade, and had 11-year-olds role-playing and stuff, but she figured it might just plain be too much to tackle for my children.

Then we went to the True Food market, and re-met what was a very important part of our community until I stopped being able to go. It was wonderful. We might seriously cut down on supermarkets if we can keep this up.

And then we came home and while Rob heated up the lasagne I read Storm in the Night again and afterwards we three talked briefly about people who love other people, and why, and how they show it. Of course, during the reading we talked about all sorts of other things, including clock chimes (I must find out why clocks chime the hour with that semi-standard little tune; I'm sure Wikipedia can tell me) and what a powercut is.

It's interesting to me how they are responding to not-really-child-led-learning. Obviously it's still consensual but it's externally driven. I think it's gentle enough that both of them will like it; there's a lot of scope for them to choose what they want to do. And the idea of reading the book and then doing something about it isn't all new.

I might see if any of the "Negro spiritual" songs I know are not fake. I bet a lot of the popular ones are really dubiously sourced.

Heh. I might have to explain about the Bible if we do Joshua and the battle of Jericho.


Mary Ellyn said...

I don't know if they are available in your neck of the woods, but picture books by Ezra Jack Keats show African American children doing ordinary children things. I especially like Snowy Day. If that's what you're looking for.

Rivka said...

Some spirituals which are documented to be from the era of slavery: Go Down Moses, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Steal Away.

But to tie in with this book, I might look more to other forms of African-American music like jazz and Motown, which would be more likely to be the music they'd listen to at home (given the era of the book). Or gospel, which is the music they'd listen to at church. There are a TON of gospel choir videos on YouTube.

We'll record Michael reading the book tonight, BTW.

Ailbhe said...

I looked at some youtube stuff - there's an awful lot out there, and it looks like Pick A Bale Of Cotton wasn't fake, which is nice; basically I can sing that, Swing Low, Joshua and Summertime, and I knew Summertime was fake. I like (though they may not care) pointing out that these songs they know fairly well come from the place in the book. Looking at music which would be new to them would be nice too.

Ailbhe said...

Wait, I just saw the last line - he agreed to record a reading of the book? That is SO BRILLIANT - thank you, and thank him, squillions! I look forward to it immensely!

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