For You Are a Kenyan Child

Presented by Paige Strecker, EDEL 411 Sect. B

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Cunnane, K. (2006). For you are a kenyan child. New York: Children's Publishing Division.


For You Are a Kenyan Child by paigest


Title: For You Are a Kenyan Child
Author: Kelly Cunnane

Illustrator: Ana Juan
Genres: Comedy and Humor, General Fiction
Topic/Theme: Life in Kenya

Award(s) nominated or received: Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award

About the Author

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Kelly Cunnane has traveled the world extensively, but her favorite destination is always Africa. Cunnane taught K-8 art and culture and English at the high school and university level in the Kalenjin village in Africa. She loves to share her love of African culture through picture books. Today, she runs hands-on cultural workshops to teach people about African culture. For more information, visit Cunnane's personal website at the link below.

About the Illustrator

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Ana Juan grew up and graduated from art school in Valencia, Spain. She has collaborated with famous magazines such as The New Yorker, La Luna, Madriz, El Pais, and Los Angeles Times, as well as collaborating on many children's books. Her unique style is described as "fantasy and naive". In addition to drawing, she paints, sculpts, and writes. To see some more of her work, visit her personal website below.
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The illustrations in this book are created using acrylic and crayons. This two-page spread shows Juan's unique style, as well as how the art and words work together to create a cohesive story.

Criteria for Notable Multicultural Books

1. Language should reflect distinctive vocabulary, style, and patterns of speech of the cultural group. Many multicultural books provide the text in two languages. This book, however, does a great job of integrating two languages into one text so that English-speaking children can gain a better understanding of Kenyan culture through its words. Cunnane even provides a vocabulary-pronouncing guide and definitions for the Swahili words used in the text in the endpages. This helps to take away any apprehension regarding pronunciation for the English-speaking readers, allowing them to more fully enjoy the story.

2. Contemporary settings must align with current situations of a cultural group. Having lived in Africa for many years, Cunnane is able to provide an accurate portrayal of life in a Kenyan village. Juan's pictures, though fanciful, are generally accurate depictions and bring the setting to life. The art in the book really helps children to appreciate life in a Kenyan village in a way they would be unable to if they were only listening to the words.

3. Have an appealing format and be of endearing quality. Young children are known to be somewhat self-centered and to have difficulty viewing a situation from another person's perspective. This book aims to challenge children by putting them directly in the shoes of a Kenyan child, thousands of miles away. Cunnane achieves this by writing the book entirely in the second person. In this way, the book helps children to better understand a viewpoint and lifestyle other than their own, a valuable real-life skill.

For You Are a Kenyan Child - Lesson Idea

Grade level: 1st grade

Common Core ELA Standard: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.4 Identify words and phrases in stories or poems that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses.

Literacy teaching objective: Students will identify words or phrases in the text For You Are a Kenyan Child that suggest a feeling or appeal to the senses.

Lesson Procedure:
The teacher will write the sentence, "The cat walked towards the mouse." on the board. Students will read the sentence aloud. The teacher will ask students what they know about the cat and mouse based on this sentence. She will then write the sentence, "The hungry cat walked quietly towards the mouse." Students will tell what they know about the mouse and cat with the extra descriptive words added in. The teacher will then write on the board, "The friendly cat walked happily toward the mouse." Students will then discuss how the addition of the new words change what we know about the cat and mouse completely. The teacher will tell the students that colorful descriptions in a piece of writing can give us a much better idea of what is going on and help us to understand characters, settings, and objects better.

The teacher will read the story For You Are a Kenyan Child aloud to the students. After reading each page, students will identify any descriptive phrases on that page that helped them to understand a character, the setting, or an object better. The teacher will write these phrases on the board.

Upon completion of the story, students will write a three sentence narrative about a day in their life, using at least three descriptive phrases. Some students will share their narrative with the class. The other students in the class will identify the descriptive phrases the student used in her story.