Let's Get a Little Multicultural

by Jeremy Holliday

Chee-lin: A Giraffe's Journey

: Chee-lin: A Giraffe's Journey

Written and Illustrated by: James Rumford

Genre: Fiction, History

Topic/Theme of the Book: Friendship

Cultural Settings: The settings are reflective of the historical time periods that this book takes place in. There are emperors in China, and sultans in India. The book specifically does a good job of portraying the different settings of which Tweega travels to, and you feel as if you are right there with him. Experiencing the different sights and smells that he is experiencing.

Diverse Language: James Rumford does a fantastic job of including different pieces of diverse language for the reader. I especially enjoyed how he started off his book describing that chee-lin was a horned beast with the body of a deer, the tail of an ox, and the hooves of a horse. He then went on to describe that whenever the emperor was good and wise and the people content, there appeared a chee-lin. By giving away this background, I instantly was brainstorming about how he was going to wrap his book together.

Illustrations: Wow! I saved the best for last. The illustrations within Chee-lin: A Giraffe's Journey bring so much of this story to life. James Rumford captures so much with each illustration. Portraying what many of his characters look like, and capturing the different cultures that Tweega encounters.

Teaching Application

Grade Level: 3rd

Common Core ELA Standard: RL 3.2. Recount stories, including fables, folktales, and

myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson, or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text.

Literacy Teaching Objective: The student will be able to determine the central message or theme of Chee-lin: A Giraffe's Journey. Then the student will create their own multicultural story.

Narrative: I think this book would be a great read for third graders. In my short time that I have spent working in the schools, I think that third grade is kind of a mini-transitional stage and students relationships with their peers start to become more complex. Using Tweega as an example it would be good to talk about friendship and how the characters in the story treated Tweega.

* I would hope to connect the different characters in the story to certain characteristics that we have as friends. This will hopefully relate to them, and get them thinking about how they treat their fellow peers.

* I would hope to be able to incorporate terminology from this book into the classroom, such as "Are you being a Tall-Boy friend right now or a Salt-Man?"

* I like the idea of a friendship box at the back of a room, where students can write something that someone has done for them that they appreciated. They do not write down their own name, and then as a class we can set a goal of how many friendship notes we can get. If they get that many, then the class gets a party thrown.


Rumford, J. (2008). Chee-lin: A Giraffe's Journey. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company