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Bobbie Kalman's Message 2015

by Crabtree Books | Aug 07, 2015

Dear Librarians and Teachers,

Culture is the way we live—how we dress, the foods we eat, the languages we speak, the stories we tell, the beliefs we hold, and the ways we celebrate. It is the way we show our imagination through art, music, and writing. Culture is also about how we define who we are. Do we follow the culture of our heritage, that of the country where we live, or do we choose a culture that makes us feel happy?


(Pic Above: These Hungarian children, born in Romania, are touring Hungary and having fun at a “roots” camp, where they will learn about their heritage.)

Some of us were born in countries where our cultures were suppressed by the government. For example, I was not allowed to practice my culture because Hungary, where I lived until the age of nine, was under communist rule, which forbade even the singing of the national anthem. Long before then, after WWI, Hungary lost 72% of its land, and 31% of its people were forced to become part of new countries such as Romania and Slovakia (formerly part of Czechoslovakia). Today, many people living in these countries want their descendants to learn about their Hungarian roots. Several organizations in Hungary, the United States, and Canada are taking young people to Hungary each summer so they can gain a deeper understanding of Hungarian culture (see http://reconnecthungary.org and www.studentswithoutboundaries.org).

I have written many books about culture but never realized how diverse my own culture is. My ancestors are Scottish, German, and Hungarian. I have lived in six countries and speak four languages. I enjoy most kinds of food and like many kinds of music. There is one culture, however, that speaks to my heart like no other—Hawaiian.
I lived in Kauai and Honolulu, where I studied Hawaiian philosophy, swam with dolphins and whales, and wrote books about these beautiful animals. So, what is my culture? I think it is multiculturalism! 

       

Culture is such a fascinating topic for students to explore because they live it every day. I wrote I can write a book about Culture, shown left, to help give students a jumpstart on how to write about their own experiences. Why not spend some time considering what part of your own culture makes you most happy!