Great Multicultural Children's Literature: Tribal Alphabet Teaches Children About Indigenous People

Tribal Alphabet multicultural book of indigenous people for childrenOccasionally, I come across a rare gem of a children’s book that warms my heart.  It’s not a book that attempts to “dumb down”, simplify, or infuse awkward silliness into an important issue facing the world today, such as global warming.  It’s not a book just for children.

It’s Tribal Alphabet, a multicultural children’s book presenting the ABCs of indigenous people.

Tribal Alphabet is beautifully illustrated and informative.  From Australian Aborigine to Zulu (and all the letters in between), children and parents learn about each tribe following the alphabetic progession.

Nn is for Nukak

Along the Amazon Basin, the Nukak migrate

A tribe never contacted ’til 1988.

The Nukak hunt monkeys, frogs, and peccaries too,

They fish for piranha in the rivers blue.

But now outsiders have sent in expeditions

And some Nukak suffer from disease and malnutrition.

Coca farmers and armies occupied their land

So the Nukak marched out, bow and arrown in hand.

I have received an education on indigenous people by reading my children this book written by Nan Richardson and illustrated by Claudia Pearson.  Often times, American children don’t think about indigenous people beyond Native Americans, and they have not been exposed to the great diversity amongst the world’s first peoples.  Tribal Alphabet gives children a glimpse into this world. As the authors explain:

We started this project hoping to share with our own children the world and its peoples in all their wonderful diversity and knowledge. Sadly, many of these tribes are in danger, beecause of environmental and economic pressures, because of globalization and its assimilative tendencies, because of insufficient laws and protection…This book is an offering, a celebration and a reminder, that respect for all peoples is something that needs to be taught and learned.

Multicultural awareness is key for children to grow up with tolerance, respect, and reverance for native peoples.

Book, such as Tribal Alphabet, are extremely useful tools for raising awareness and compassion through literacy.  I highly recommend this book for every home, classroom, and library.

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