Accepting cultural diversity is a vital aspect of living in a global society. Manjula Padmanabhan‘s vibrant illustrations coupled with the Global Fund for Children informative text are the key assets to the picture book, I am Different! Can You Find Me? (Charlesbridge, 2011). This unique book focuses on 16 languages and simultaneously celebrates multiculturalism.
Using the simple question, “Can you find me?” readers are introduced to sixteen different languages. The over sized font and the pronunciation guide assist the reader to see differences and similarities between languages. The text provides some basic facts of each language and includes common English words that are derived from some of the languages.
To highlight diversity, Manjula includes a colorful puzzle that is in harmony with the colors associated with each language. Readers are asked to identify one item that is unique to the page. An answer key is found at the back of the book. The authors acknowledge that there may be more than one answer for each page.
This book would be a welcomed addition to any classroom. In a culturally diverse classroom, children could share information about the language(s) they speak. In a more homogeneous setting, students could learn about a variety of languages. There is no shortage of engaging topics.
- Celebrating diversity
- Identifying visual differences in symbols (strategies used to answer a puzzle)
- Identifying differences in letters and symbols from different languages
- Writing differences- reading from left to right and right to left
- Punctuation- question mark before or after a sentence
- Identifying sounds that are unique and similar
- How languages influence one another
- Words that originated from other languages
- Geography- North America vs. the rest of the world
- Vocabulary- indigenous
- Communication options for the deaf
- Languages- English, Hebrew, Hawaiian, Cree,Arabic, Filipino, Gullah, Chinese, Hindi, Spanish, Nahuatl, Italian, Navajo, Swahili, French, American Sign Language (ASL)
- Geography or graphing exercise- illustrate where the languages are spoken
- Common vs. uncommon languages
- Are there any other multicultural picture books that would add to discussion regarding language diversity?
- If you selected another sentence to compare, what would it be?