Multicultural Picture Book

1st Grade Readaloud

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"I Lost My Tooth In Africa" by Penda Diakite and Illustrated by Baba Wague Diakite was published in 2006 by Scholastic Press.

The read aloud is planned for a first grade class. "I Lost My Tooth In Africa" is a picture book that encompasses the adventure of a young girl to Bamako, Mali. While there she loses her tooth and learns about the mystery surrounding the African tooth-fairy. The book has been recognized and awarded by several organizations, including:
* Notable Children's Book, 2007
* Children's Africana Book Award, 2007
The picture book demonstrates a unique twist to the American fairy tale of the tooth fairy. The illustrations and integrated African language reflects not only the deep importance of family ties, but also encompasses the vibrant life of African culture, characterized through traditional meals, the vibrancy of fabrics chosen for clothes, and the entrapment of the landscape.This particular book invites analysis of comparison and contrast as it introduces varying aspects of cultural importance.

The following link is a question and answer with the author Penda Diakite about her personal success as an author, film maker, and artist, as well as the inspiration behind "I Lost My Tooth In Africa."

Tooth Fairy Traditions Research

United States:
The tooth fairy is an employed mythical being who exchanges baby teeth for money. The child is instructed to place their tooth under their pillow; once they have fallen asleep the tooth fairy will arrive during the cover of nightfall and exchange their tooth.

East Africa:
The tooth fairy is far from a mythical being as instead, it is a friendly rat. Once a child loses a tooth, they are instructed to place their tooth inside of a hole near the house. That night, the rat will take their tooth and in exchange will leave biscuits, bananas, or money inside.

South Africa:
The tooth fairy holds the same essence of a friendly rat, but instead of placing it inside of a hole near the house, it is placed inside of a slipper. Under the cover of night the rat will come and exchange the tooth for money.

West Africa:
The tooth fairy resembles that of the mythical being thought of in America. Once a child loses their tooth, they are instructed to place their tooth under a gourd. Then the tooth fairy will come and exchange it for chickens.
"I Lost My Tooth In Africa" by Penda Diakite
Interview with Sarah Gerber

Multicultural Literature Criteria Evaluation

About the Author

23-year-old Penda Diakite, born in Portland, Oregon, grew up between her two homes in Mali, West Africa and Oregon. As a result, much of her artwork consists of her thoughts and experiences living between these two cultures of West Africa and America. She recently graduated California Institute of the Arts, majoring in Film and Video with a minor in Cultural Studies. With her minor focusing on Women Studies, Black Studies and African Studies, much of her work is geared toward cultural awareness.
2013 Penda Diakite youtube interview

About the Illustrator

The illustrator for the book "I Lost My Tooth In Africa" is Baba Wague Diakite. Baba Wague Diakite is an artist, illustrator, author, storyteller, and the founder of the Ko-Falen Cultural Center who was born in Bamako, Mali in 1961. Baba's passion for drawing had always been an outlet of his own pleasure, which manifested into school projects, and finally for part time jobs. He was later introduced to clay work after meeting the American artist Ronna Neuenschwander, whom later became his wife, later moving to Portland, Oregon in 1985 at the age of 24. In 1988, Wague had his first solo exhibition at the Jamison Thomas Gallery located in Portland, Oregon and has since shown in group and solo shows throughout the United states. His talent for writing was also recognized in 1997, when Scholastic Press published his first children's book "The Hunterman and the Crocodile." Since then he has published a handful of children's books; while also being the illustrator of many, including his daughter's book "I Lost My Tooth In Africa." Wague is also the founder and director of the Ko-Falen Cultural Center in Bamako, Mali; which enables artistis and travelers from other countries to live, meet, study and collaborate with artists of Mali. The Ko-Falen Cultural Center encourages cross-cultural exchanges through art, dance, music and ceremony to promote a greater understanding and respect between people.

Instructional Sequencing - Talking Notes

1. Behavioral Expectations: The behavior expectations are as followed: Conversation during read aloud is to be at a level 0. Activity is listening to the teacher read aloud. Movement is minimal; you should be seated on your carpet section. Participation should be actively listening and raising your hands if you need help!
2. Engage Content Objective: Present a sorting chart, labeled Tooth Fairy Compare/Contrast Chart. Explain to the students that they will be using the chart to discover differences about the American Tooth Fairy and the African Tooth Fairy. "Ask the students what they know about the tooth fairy?" [students should present several ideas, such as 'she comes a night', 'we get money', etc.] Write down the ideas on the section labeled 'American Tooth Fairy.' **See additional resources**
3. State Purpose: Show students I Lost My Tooth In Africa. "Today, students, we are going to be reading a book about when a little girl lost her tooth and she was given an unusual gift in return from the tooth fairy. After we read the book, we are going to write down what we discovered."
4. Show the students the cover of the book again. Ask the students, "By looking at the book's cover page, where do you think the book take place?" [students might respond with: Africa, Hawaii, Mexico, etc.] Then ask, "What can you gather from the title of the book and the illustration on the cover, what might this book be about?" [possible answers could be that the book is about brushing teeth, losing a tooth, or chickens...there are many different answers that are acceptable]
5. "Now before we can begin reading, we have to understand the meaning of a few vocabulary words that will be important to our story." Present to the students the vocabulary words accompanied by the definitions and pictures on the PowerPoint slides. Instruct the words in an I do-You do-We do fashion where the vocabulary word will be spoken, the students will repeat the word, and then the class as a whole will say the definition. The words of emphasis will be traditions, gourd, and compound. Once the vocabulary word gourd is reached, the teacher will hold up the gourd for the students to observe. **See additional resources**
6. Begin reading aloud to students the first few pages (1-3). Ask students, "So far have we discovered anything about the African tooth fairy tradition?" [students should respond with answers similar to placing the tooth under a gourd and receiving a chicken]
7. "Okay, we are going to continue reading the book." Begin reading aloud the book again. Read pages 4-8. On page 8, ask the students "What have we discovered has happened to Amina? Did the African tooth fairy bring what we were told she would and what was it?" [students will have varied responses such as, Amina lost her tooth, she placed it under a gourd, she was given chickens, etc.]
8. Finish reading the book aloud.
9. Higher Level Questions: After reading the book, ask to the group orally: "Since we already know what tradition means, what were some other traditions that you noticed throughout the book?" [answers will vary and could consist of the family eating around a big bowl, playing games, telling stories, and braiding hair with friends at night, receiving blessings from Grandma, tooth fairy, etc.]
10. Present the chart again, ask the students "What did we discover about the African tooth fairy in our story?" Then explain to the students that often times traditions vary depending upon family background and location. Present to the students the tooth fairy tales in East and South Africa.
11. Review with the students the main details from the story centered around the Tooth Fairy Compare/Contrast Chart, the vocabulary terms accompanied by their definitions, and a key detail that they learned from the presented lesson.

Additional Resources

Vocabulary Slides With Pictures

Gourd From Africa

Tooth Fairy Compare/Contrast Chart


Why this book?
I selected this book for a handful of reasons. The first reason was the emphasis of African culture, which not only related to my students on a personal level, but also provided an outlet for cultural integration within a diverse classroom. My second reason was that I found that I could relate on a personal level with this piece of literature as I have traveled to Africa and experienced the culture. As well as having a personal connection in that my family was in the process of adopting my sister, Sarah, from Uganda, Africa. This provided the opportunity to provide the student's with direct information not only about the traditions surrounding Eastern Africa, but also contrasting that with Western and Southern traditions encompassed by the tooth fairy. As I utilized the concept of traditions as the focus and foundation of my lesson, this book provided an outlet for the students to understand that traditions vary within a culture group, as well as regionally.

The strengths of this read aloud?
I believe one of the strengths of this read aloud was the focus of traditions. At the beginning of the lesson, the students had a vague understanding of what traditions were, seeing them only as things that are expressed during holidays. At the end of the lesson, the students were able to identify traditions that were presented throughout the book, for example, the tradition of braiding hair and telling stories before bed, as well as in their personal lives. Another strength that I believe was prominent within this read aloud was the vocabulary. I chose to present the vocabulary using the visual aid of a PowerPoint slide, through presenting the word, the definition, and finally a picture. This created a learning opportunity for both visual and auditory learners. To reach the more kinesthetic learners, I was able to provide them with a gourd from Africa, that would have been used in the setting that the book itself took place. In providing this detail, the students were also able to brainstorm ideas of what different gourds could be used for depending upon their specific characteristics.

What would I do differently next time?
I believe next time, I would go over the CHAMPS expectations in a I Say-You Say type of fashion. I had explained to the students the expectations, but having them repeat it back provides a sense of responsibility. I also would utilize the Class Dojo to encourage positive behavior and discourage negative behavior. The students were very interested in the reading, but several students interrupted throughout. This created a distraction for their peers, which led to me asking them several times what level was expected of them during the reading time. This was an area that my CT encouraged me in after I had presented, she did find it useful to remind them during the lesson, but also thought by using the Class Dojo would decrease my need to correct during instruction which would prove to be a benefit for time management purposes.

Implementing multicultural children's literature that is culturally and linguistically diverse relative to my elementary students has...
taught them about the importance of traditions. It also emphasized the reality that all cultures as well as geographical locations have different traditions that are unique to their beliefs and customs. The students obtained a greater understanding of a particular culture within the classroom and broadened their basic knowledge of traditions that can be applied to their personal lives.