Global/not so Eurocentric living books for prek set?

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  • Muhajiba

    We are a family with four very young kiddos (3.5 year old twin boys, almost 2 year old boy, and 6 month old girl) . We are practicing Muslims, I’m American (Dutch, Irish, French, etc) and my husband is Luo Kenyan.

    I’m really just gathering information and resources at this point in our journey, but I’ve been so very frustrated with the difficulty of finding books for our family.

    My current frustration is looking for books about, or set in, Kenya and east Africa that aren’t just imperialist propaganda and fairytales. Every one I can find is by a western author who is either romaticising poverty or reducing all of Africa to a single culture and state of development.

    Anyone have resources that depict Africa as the place it is? With huge metropolitan centers, universities, thriving research and development? Innovative and independent and multifaceted people??

    Secondary to this is my frustration around seeking books directed AT Muslim children (particularly those of african and/or american descent) in English.  Fortunately I can easily access Arabic alternatives,  but find most in English are written ABOUT Muslims, and typically by someone who didn’t bother to actually talk to any Muslims.

    Excited to be a part of this forum and looking forward to connecting with other CM moms!

    Little Women

    I know of a few books about historical Africa, such as A Golden Age in Africa (set in West Africa from about 1000 to about 1300AD).   There are some really good ones in English about Middle Eastern society for older kids–take a look at Sonlight core F, for some of those.    However, I think there are not many.

    Would you be looking for books written about America or Europe, from the Arabic or African authors you know of?   My suspicion is that authors from each location would do best at writing about their own location, and each would do less well at writing about the others.

    I think you will also find over time that there are many great stories written that are just great stories, regardless of where the families live.   You may need to separate “learning about history and culture” books from “books we read just because we like the stories.”     For the first category, you are going to want to make sure that they are balanced and cover both sides, but for the latter, you may have to take what there is, even if it doesn’t cover every place you would like to see.   (I have a friend in Mexico who had this problem–she simply could not get very many quality children’s books in Spanish!  She took what she could, and used English for most, and did what she could with what she had.)

    I think there are also Muslim homeschool groups online in various places–they would probably be a better place to ask about good books from that perspective, as well as for questions regarding things that would of particular concern to Muslims such as how to handle books with various talking animals that might be unclean for you.

    I’m not sure if I’ve said anything helpful, but perhaps you can find something of use in my response. 🙂

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