The Perfect Orange

Presented by Allison Fehr EDEL 411 Section C

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Araujo, F. (1994). The Perfect Orange. California: Rayve Productions Inc.

Information About the Book

Author: Frank P. Araujo

Illustrator: Xiao Jun Li
Genre: Folktale
Topic/Theme: Giving without expecting to get anything back can pay off in the end.

  • Public Television StoryTime Book Award
  • Smithsonian Institution Let's Read Award

About the Author

Frank P. Araujo was a former international economic development anthropologist who worked in 3rd World developing nations with nomadic societies. Frank P. Araujo has major interests in myth, folklore, language and cognition, along with writing fiction, judo, fencing and cycling, and playing the oboe, the tin whistle and bagpipes.

Abou the Illustrator

Xiao Jun Li is a international published author and an illustrator of children's books and young adult books. He was born in China and went to college at the College of Fine Arts at Tianjin. He has won the Sixth Noma Concours Award for Children's Picture Book Illustrations as well as the silver medal at the Sixth National Exhibition of the Fine Arts in Beijing.
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The media used for this book is watercolor.
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3 Criteria for High Quality Multicultural Literature

1. This book is rich in cultural details.

The clothing and jewelry illustrated in this book portray the correct apparel style of Ethiopians. When Tshai is headed for the city she puts on her shamma, which is a loose dress-like wrap. In the book it states she put on her whitest shamma before leaving for the city. This follows Ethiopian culture because when a big event or important meeting occurs, the whitest shamma is to be worn because it represents respect and is the most traditional type of clothing.

2. This book honors and celebrates diversity as well as common bonds in humanity.

While this story takes place in Ethiopia and portrays Ethiopian culture and terms, the moral is still relevant to anyone all over the world. The moral of this story is that the purpose of giving is not to get something in return, but to please others. To do this, a young Ethiopian girl named Tshai delivers an orange to her ruler. I thought it was interesting that this folktale involves an orange to portray this because oranges did not originate from Ethiopia. This allows for a common bond in humanity because oranges are seen all around the world.

3. This book demonstrates unique language.

In this book there are 10 repeated words that are unique to Ethiopian culture. A few examples of the most repeated unique language found in the book are:

Agafari - attendant

Ato - lord, minister

Nigus - king

Shamma - white gown

Jib - hyena

Without the glossary in the back, it would be hard to understand some of the main events occurring in this book because the words are unfamiliar to anyone who is not comfortable with Ethiopian terms.

A Perfect Orange Lesson Idea

CCSS RI.K.2 With prompting and support, identify the main topic and retell key details of a text.

The students will identify the topic of the story and retell one event in detail using one Ethiopian term.

*Begin by introducing the book to the students. Tell them that this is a folktale from Ethiopia and explain to them what folktale means. To connect this to the students lives' explain to them where Ethiopia is and briefly explain to them that there are many different cultures in the world and this is just one of them.

*Next, the teacher will model what the students should learn by reading them the story while pointing out the Ethiopian terms and the pictures representing those terms so they can make a connection between them.

*After the story is read, discuss the moral/topic of the story and what the students should learn from it. Ask them how they know what the moral is in order to get them to retell important parts of the story.

*Next, choose 5 of the most common Ethiopian terms from the book and write them on the board with their English meanings next to them. Practice these terms with the students and ask them to choose one of the terms to write about.

*Have the students write a detailed 1-3 sentences retelling how that word was incorporated in the story and ask them to draw a picture along with it. For example, if they choose the word nigus, meaning king, they could write a few sentences about how the nigus gave Tshai a donkey, gold purse, and basket of jewels. Then they would draw a picture illustrating the nigus (king) and these things.

*After each student has finished the teacher could choose 3 students to come up and share their drawings with the class and tell which Ethiopian term they chose to write about.


The Perfect Orange by Allisonfehr11