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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: culture, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Welcoming Week: Q&A with Author Anne Sibley O’Brien

Welcoming Week_I'm New Here

Welcoming Week is a special time of year. Communities across the country will come together to celebrate and raise awareness of immigrants, refugees and new Americans of all kinds. Whether it’s an event at your local art gallery or showing support on social media, the goal is to let anyone new to America know just how much they are valued and welcomed during what is likely a big transition.

And the biggest transitions are happening for the littlest people.

A new country, a new home, maybe even a new language — that would be enough for any kid — but a new school, too? That subject is exactly what author Anne Sibley O’Brien addresses in her book I’m New Here, new to the First Book Marketplace.

Marissa Wasseluk and Roxana Barillas of the First Book team had the pleasure of speaking with Anne about I’m New Here, the experiences of kids new to America, and what kids can do to help create a welcoming atmosphere.

Marissa: So, and I am sure you get this question all the time, but I’m curious — what inspired or motivated you to create I’m New Here?

It’s funny, it’s such a, “where would you start?” kind of question, but I don’t remember if anyone has ever asked me that point blank because I don’t recall ever putting together this answer before. Over the years of working in schools — especially working with Margy Burns Knight with our nonfiction books: Talking Walls; Who Belongs Here and other multi-racial, multicultural, global nonfiction books — I had a lot of encounters, a lot of discussions, a lot of experiences with immigrant students and I was very aware of the kinds of cross-cultural challenges that children and teachers can experience. For instance, Cambodian children show respect by keeping their eyes down and not looking in the eyes of an adult, especially a teacher. In Cambodian culture adults don’t ever touch children’s heads. So you can immediately imagine how those kinds of things would be quite challenging when a Cambodian child comes into a U.S. classroom and suddenly two of those cultural markers are not only gone, but the opposite is what they need to learn.

Somebody might put their hand on your head — it being out of concern and wanting to make a connection — or they might say “I need you to look at me now” and not recognize that that’s cultural inappropriate for a Cambodian child. So growing that kind of awareness of the challenges that immigrant children face — that was the original impetus for the book. Just collecting some of those stories and raising awareness of how many obstacles immigrant children face. From climate to traditions in speaking and in body language, to food, to learning a new language. Not just learning a new language in terms of how you speak and read and write, but also how you interact with people, how social norms work — they just face such enormous challenges. And there were originally six characters so it was trying to cover everything.

Marissa: The characters that are in the book, they cover a child from Guatemala, a child from Korea, and a child from Somalia — did you work with these specific immigrant communities when you were creating this book?

I spoke to individual experts, such as several Somali interpreters and family liaison experts who work for the multi-lingual, multicultural office of the Portland, ME public schools. So I had that kind of expert advice to respond to what I was writing. But the original ideas mostly came from my observations, my interactions with Somali students in the classrooms that I visited. And then with Korean students I met many, many Korean students here in the US and I had my own background to draw on there.

Marissa: Can you tell me a little bit more about these classrooms that you’ve visited? We talk with a lot of educators who work with Title I schools and they often talk about how reserved the English as a second language students can be. There is a silent phase that a lot of kids go through. Have you observed that and have you shared your book with any of these first generation immigrants?

It’s certainly been shared with many. I actually just shared it with a group of students in a summer school program — about seventy students from third to fifth grade who were from East African countries and some Middle Eastern countries. Most of the group were immigrants and I read the book and then we had a discussion about being new and being welcoming. Of all the student groups that I’ve worked with, they were actually the most effusive and had the most to share in that discussion about what it feels like to be new and what you can do to welcome someone.

Marissa: What were some of the suggestions?

They had all kinds of ideas about what you could say and do to make somebody feel like they were at home. You could take them around, go through a list and say, “this is your classroom, this is your teacher, this is your playground, this is your classmate.”

Roxana: You’re taking me back – a few years back I came to the United States when I was twelve from El Salvador, speaking no English. It hits close to home in terms of the importance of the work you are doing, not just for kids who may not always feel like they belong, but also for the kids who can actually help that process be an easier one.

Welcoming Week_Anne Sibley O'BrienThat is wonderful to hear. I was just struck that they had more suggestions than any group I’d worked with, they could hardly be contained. They had so much they wanted to say and I think it’s very fresh in their minds what welcoming looks like and maybe what did or what didn’t happen for them. So the list that they wrote: welcome to my class, say hi, wave, smile, hello, say this is my classroom, these are my friends, do you want to become friends? these are my parents, this is my family, show them around, this is my chair, this is my house, this is your school, this is my teacher, can you read with me? how’s it going? I live here, where do you live? do you need help? welcome to my school.

It was the specificity of it that I just loved.

And they said what it felt like to be new. These kids went beyond with the details so they said: scared, nervous, confused, happy, sad, lonely, shy, surprised. Which is what I get with any group that I talk to — but then they wrote: don’t know how to write, don’t know everybody, don’t know what to do, don’t know what they’re saying, don’t know what to say, don’t think you fit in, embarrassed, don’t know how to read books, don’t know what to think, don’t know how to play games, don’t know how to respond, don’t know how to use the computer. So that is a really rich, concrete list.

Marissa: What about educators, how have educators responded to your book?

It’s been pretty phenomenal. The book is in its third printing and it’s just a year old. Actually, it went into its third print run in June. That is by far the fastest that any book of mine has taken off, so there seemed to really be a hunger. There are quite a number of books about an individual immigrant’s story, but I think what people are responding to, what they found useful, is that this book is different because it’s a concept book about the experience of being new and being welcoming, and in that way it works. A particular story can make a deep connection even if your experience is quite different, you recognize things that are similar. But to have one book that outlines what the experience is like, it is very good for discussions. I’ve done more teacher conferences and appearances, especially in the TESOL community, than I did before. Normally I do a lot of schools where I talk to students, but in the past year the majority of my appearances have been for teacher conferences.

Marissa: Have any of them come up to you and told you how it’s resonated with them? Have you met any educators who are immigrants themselves?

Yes, definitely! The TESOL community is full of people who have immigrant backgrounds. I shouldn’t say full, but there is quite a healthy percentage of the TESOL community who come from that background themselves. Partly because schools often recruit someone who’s bilingual, so you tend to get a lot of wonderful richness of people’s life experiences. They might be second generation or they might not have come as a child but they definitely make a strong connection to children who have that experience. I remember, in particular, some very moving statements that people made standing in line waiting to have a book signed. Talking about how it was “their story” or people talking about and being reminded of their own students. When I talked about the book they were in tears thinking about their own students.

Marissa: Ideally, how would you like to see your book being used in a classroom or a child’s home?

I think I see it in two ways. First, for a child who has just arrived and who is in a situation where things are strange; to be able to recognize themselves and see that their experience is reflected in something that makes them feel less lonely and that there is hope. Many, many people have gone through this experience and it can be so difficult but you can get through.

And to the children who are not recent immigrants, who have been part of a community for generations; that it would spark empathy for children,  for them to imagine what it would be like if they had that experience. Starting with that universal experience of somehow being new somewhere and to recognize, “oh, I remember what that felt like” and imagine if it was not only a new school, but a new country and a new language and a new culture and new food and new religions and on and on and on. Particularly for them to imagine what they could do, concretely, to examine what the new children are doing and to see how hard they are working, the effort that they are making. And also how their classmates are responding so that the outcome is the whole group building a community together.

To learn more about I’m New Here and Anne’s perspective, watch and listen as she discusses the book and her insights into the experiences of immigrant children.

The post Welcoming Week: Q&A with Author Anne Sibley O’Brien appeared first on First Book Blog.

0 Comments on Welcoming Week: Q&A with Author Anne Sibley O’Brien as of 9/19/2016 5:54:00 PM
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2. Brexit and the quest for identity

From Britain to the United States, France to Australia, Western states are struggling with an identity crisis: how to cultivate a common cultural ‘core’, a social ‘bond’, which goes beyond the global economy and political liberalism. It is too early to predict whether Brexit is the last gasp of the old structure of national identity, or its revival.

The post Brexit and the quest for identity appeared first on OUPblog.

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3. One Campaign. A Lasting Culture of Reading.

Cottage Kids Read

Six years ago, Sue Resnick and Liz Frankel started the Cottage Kids Read program at the Pleasantville Cottage School. While volunteering at the school they noticed something that struck them. There weren’t any books for pleasure in the cottages where the students lived.

Located in Pleasantville, NY, the residential treatment facility serves kids who have been neglected, abused, or whose families are unable to care for them.

Sue and Liz knew books could be a solace for kids who may lack a source of calm in their daily lives. Reading stories or poems that interest them could open up new worlds. After they identified the issue, Sue and Liz went to the school’s Therapeutic Arts Director, Dee Hanbury, to find a solution.

Three years ago Dee, Sue and Liz discovered First Book campaigns. Since then, volunteers and staff have had great success raising the money they need to purchase books through First Book. They’ve used First Book campaigns to not only fill the cottages with books, but to expose kids to new ideas and help them dream big.

Now, when kids see Sue and Liz on campus, they ask for books by name. The kids have their favorite authors. Liz and Sue have created a culture of reading that not only helps kids grow, but has therapeutic benefits as some work through complex emotional challenges.

“They say that reading gives them an escape when they need to get away from bad memories or from their peers to get some space,” says Dee.

The volunteers and staff see the impact books have on kids’ lives — it’s why they work tirelessly to raise more money each year. And with First Book campaigns, their work can go even further.

Start your work today.

The post One Campaign. A Lasting Culture of Reading. appeared first on First Book Blog.

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4. Culture change for women in Afghanistan

When Laura Bush said in April 2016 that she wanted the President of the United States to care about Afghan women, one could reasonably infer that she would rather see Hillary Clinton elected President than Donald Trump. Hillary has proclaimed that women’s rights are human rights, meaning that to the extent that human rights have become a part of mainstream political discourse, so should women’s rights.

The post Culture change for women in Afghanistan appeared first on OUPblog.

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5. Alan Moore’s Secret Q&A Cult Exposed! Part II: You’ll Gasp When You See What He Told Them!!!

His Celestial SelfDeep in the grubby sump of one of those so-called ‘Social Media’ sites, there is a clump of aging comics fanboys called The Really Very Serious Alan Moore Scholars’ Group, known to its sad and lonely adherents as TRVSAMSG. When they’re not annotating everything in sight, or calling down ancient evils on the heads of […]

2 Comments on Alan Moore’s Secret Q&A Cult Exposed! Part II: You’ll Gasp When You See What He Told Them!!!, last added: 6/24/2016
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6. Alan Moore’s Secret Q&A Cult Exposed! Part I: You Won’t Believe What They Asked Him!!

The Transcendent MasterSomewhere deep in the bowels of the Internet, unbeknownst to all but the initiated, there’s an organisation that calls itself the Really Very Serious Alan Moore Scholars’ Group. Occasionally they get to actually communicate with the object of their adoration, The Great Moore himself. The most recent manifestation was in December 2015, when The Master […]

0 Comments on Alan Moore’s Secret Q&A Cult Exposed! Part I: You Won’t Believe What They Asked Him!! as of 6/10/2016 3:18:00 PM
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7. Celebrate National Geek Day! (Yeah, I Made That Up.)

Don't Panic FinalHappy National Geek Day! Why today? What’s so special about May 25th? Well, a long time ago, in 1977, Star Wars opened in 32 theaters! That’s when science fiction went mainstream! Yeah, there were Trekkies, but they were lowkey… there wasn’t a movie yet, and they mostly congregated at the Holiday Inn on weekends, along with […]

1 Comments on Celebrate National Geek Day! (Yeah, I Made That Up.), last added: 5/25/2016
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8. Wondercon’16: Chris Hardwick and Nerdist News Speak About Community and Nerdiness

Chris Hardwick belting his rendition of "The Children are our FutureBy Nicholas Eskey If you label yourself a “nerd” and wear it with pride, undoubtedly you already follow Chris Hardwick’s Nerdist News. The quick witted comedian and mega-nerd took heads the podcast driven news network for nerds with a wonderful collection of colleagues and special guests, discussing everything from the current state of all things […]

1 Comments on Wondercon’16: Chris Hardwick and Nerdist News Speak About Community and Nerdiness, last added: 4/10/2016
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9. Local opera houses through the ages

Nineteenth and twentieth Century opera houses are finding new lives today. Opera houses were once the center of art, culture, and entertainment for rural American towns--when there was much less competition for our collective attention.

The post Local opera houses through the ages appeared first on OUPblog.

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10. Who owns culture?

The quiet corridors of great public museums have witnessed revolutionary breakthroughs in the understanding of the past, such as when scholars at the British Museum cracked the Rosetta Stone and no longer had to rely on classical writers to find out about ancient Egyptian civilisation. But museums’ quest for knowledge is today under strain, amid angry debates over who owns culture.

The post Who owns culture? appeared first on OUPblog.

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11. If You Were Me and Lived In … Italy: A Child’s Introduction to Culture Around the World | Dedicated Review

Do you have your passaporto (passport) handy? It’s time to merriggiare (rest at noon in a shady spot) with a copy of If You Were Me and Lived In .. Italy and introduce your kids to the wealth of culture that abounds in the Republic of Italy—the famous country shaped like a boot.

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12. If You Were Me and Lived In … Italy, by Carole P. Roman | Book Series Giveaway

Enter to win a complete autographed set of the If You Were Me series, written by award-winning author Carole P. Roman and illustrated by Kelsea Wierenga; including If You Were Me and Lived in … Italy: A Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World! Plus, the grand prize winner will also receive the Educational Insights Geosafari Jr Talking Globe. Giveaway begins January 10, 2016, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends February 16, 2016, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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13. If You Were Me and Lived In … Italy | Blog Tour 2016

Join us as we go on tour with award-winning author Carole P. Roman and explore If You Were Me and Lived In ... Italy: A Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World.

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14. The life of culture

Does culture really have a life of its own? Are cultural trends, fashions, ideas, and norms like organisms, evolving and weaving our minds and bodies into an ecological web? You hear a pop song a few times and suddenly find yourself humming the tune. You unthinkingly adopt the vocabulary and turns of phrase of your circle of friends.

The post The life of culture appeared first on OUPblog.

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15. Event: SF’s The Isotope Brings Roberta Gregory, Donna Barr, & JH Williams III to the Fans

By Victor Van Scoit The San Francisco Bay Area has some fantastic comic book shops, with each having its own take for hosting creator events. One such store known for their intimate signings and creative shindigs is The Isotope. They’re hosting two upcoming events this November that, should you live anywhere in Northern California, are worth checking out. […]

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16. “Challenging change” – extract from A Foot in the River

We are a weird species. Like other species, we have a culture. But by comparison with other species, we are strangely unstable: human cultures self-transform, diverge, and multiply with bewildering speed. They vary, radically and rapidly, from time to time and place to place. And the way we live - our manners, morals, habits, experiences, relationships, technology, values - seems to be changing at an ever accelerating pace. The effects can be dislocating, baffling, sometimes terrifying. Why is this?

The post “Challenging change” – extract from A Foot in the River appeared first on OUPblog.

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17. NYCC and SDCC ’15: Portraying Mental Health in Comics

Mental illness has been a trope in comics-related properties ranging from Peanuts to Gotham, but do new sensitivities to mental health issues mean that it’s time for this to change? At this year’s San Diego and New York Comic-Cons, I had the privilege of moderating a couple of panels on the portrayal of mental illness […]

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18. ZombiCon Shooting – 1 Dead, 4 Wounded

Gunfire at the Ft. Myers charitable event created a real-life running zombie herd, but the organizers’ security safeguards may have helped prevent further harm. Shootings have become a depressing fact of life here in the U.S. — and for those of you who spent a fair amount of time in New York and other large […]

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19. INTERVIEW: Don’t Call it a Porno, Nik Guerra Takes On Mystery and Sensuality in “Magenta: Noir Fatale” [NSFW]

by Alex Dueben At a time when many comics are criticized for their approach to female characters, it’s interesting to read a comic which is about fetish models.  Moreover, it’s wonderful to discover that the comic is far less exploitive and sensational than many mainstream comics. In NBM’s new graphic novel,Magenta: Noir Fatale, Italian writer and […]

2 Comments on INTERVIEW: Don’t Call it a Porno, Nik Guerra Takes On Mystery and Sensuality in “Magenta: Noir Fatale” [NSFW], last added: 8/15/2015
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20. Introducing psychoanalysis

Daniel Pick, author of Psychoanalysis: A Very Short Introduction, introduces psychoanalysis, discusses its role within history and culture and tells us how psychoanalysis is used today. How has psychoanalysis developed from the late nineteenth century?

The post Introducing psychoanalysis appeared first on OUPblog.

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21. ‘Us’ and ‘Them': Can we define national identity?

Surveys show that a high percentage of British citizens "feel British." But what exactly do people have in mind when they say this? People may think differently about this question, and perhaps it is also British to give various meanings to British identity. Still, can we define what it is to "feel" British? Or even what is un-British—be it a pattern of behavior, a belief, or a way of doing things?

The post ‘Us’ and ‘Them': Can we define national identity? appeared first on OUPblog.

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22. NYCC ’15: Diversity Sells Out

Diversity is a recurring theme in panels at this year’s New York Comic-Con, mirroring a trend in fandom nationwide. Race, gender, physical ability, mental health, even geeks as an emerging protected class – amidst the how-to’s and PR announcements, programming about diversity is filling rooms and getting headlines. The power of this theme is something […]

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23. NYCC ’15: Cosplay Fabrics Announces New Line at Jo-Ann’s

     As cosplay flies from niche to mainstream, so too goes the market for the material used to create it. Quality cosplay is a combination of craft and components – even the most ingenious designer and tailor can find themselves frustrated by poor quality material. One sign of the demand for good cosplay goods: […]

1 Comments on NYCC ’15: Cosplay Fabrics Announces New Line at Jo-Ann’s, last added: 10/12/2015
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24. NYCC ’15: Cosplay Meltdown!!!

NYCC ’15 has come and gone, but the photos The Stately Beat Manor took are here to stay.  We had a number of fantastic journalists on the scene, taking pictures of the events happening at the Javits Center as well as the great cosplays attendees wore.  Here are a few favorites:

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25. “It’s Not Dead” Punk Rock’s Version of Comic-Con

Punk Rock Comic-Con

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