My second grade-reading journey is very exciting because I am continuously discovering new books to me. Celebrate! Connections Among Cultures by Jan Reynolds is the perfect book to begin a discussion or unit of study about celebrations and cultures. The book focuses on the components of a celebration; gathering together, food and drinks, decorating ourselves, music, dance, and the use of fire.
This photographic essay is beautiful and rich with information about each component in different cultures. I especially enjoyed the pattern of learning about four or five cultures and having each section end with an example from the United States. A few of the cultures shared in this book were familiar to me but most of them were not familiar to me.
The book ends with a summary around the notion there are many ways to celebrate the human spirit. It helped me think about many things and the reasons cultures celebrate. We celebrate to show we are thankful, to celebrate changes in our lives, celebrate people and important events. After reading the book left to right and top to bottom I realized I wish I had read it differently. I wish I had read the headings for each section first to discover components of celebrations and let my students ponder these thoughts. Then reread the book with the text descriptions for the different cultures shared. This would allow us to focus the idea of different cultures and different celebrations exist in our world.