The word multicultural may seem like a misunderstood word, but these two books “Where am I from?” and “How to Raise Confident Multicultural Children” by Elisavet Arkolaki may be just the key to understand it’s meaning. Since we are a multicultural family, I was asked to review these books in exchange for an interview with the author which you will find below and an interview in our Multilingual Family Interview Series.
“Where I am From?” Review
“Where I am from?” answers the question that many people with a multicultural background encounter or often have to answer throughout their life of their origin. It takes the reader on a voyage around the world discovering new cultures and countries through a child’s eyes. Each child believes they have solved the riddle. As we arrive at the smallest and last child we are truly reminded of where we are from. This book will be enjoyed by both young and old as it opens the discussion to talk about cultures aroundt he world and their characteristics like animals, language and contienent. A book that can be used in so many ways!
Available on Amazon and will be FREE on Kindle from April 2-3, 2020.
“How to Raise Confident Multicultural Children” Review
“How to Raise Confident Multicultural Children” is full of advice, resources and tips on how to address issues and challenges a multicultural kid may experience in the world today. It is not just related to multiculturalism, but bilingualism, multilingualism, and raising a family. It is divided up into 17 chapters; each reminding me of a memoir or a personal story of the author alongside researched information or statistics.
This guide introduced me to a number of new and known researchers, authors, counselors and bloggers in the fields of multilingualism and multiculturalism which has encouraged me to read further on these subjects. There is also a list of blogs and websites which discuss multiculturalism in the back, for example our blog is mentioned there.
This guide will be useful for couples just starting a family, parents faced with challenges, older children struggling with their identity, and grandparents who would like more information. The reader could pick a chapter like Confident Moms raise Confident kids by Lisa Ferland link or The stories you should tell your multicultural kid everyday by Elisavet Arkolaki. Also I already know that this guide will be referred back to in the years to come as it combines advice and information all in one place.
Interview from the author/curator Elisavet Arkolaki
Tell us a little bit about your motivations to write “Where am I From?”
Living an international life, I find it hard to answer ‘Where are you from?’ even though I grew up in one country and immigrated as an adult. Almost half of my life has been lived abroad, my husband is from another country, we communicate and have formed our relationship and so many friendships in ‘foreign’ languages. ‘Where are you from?’ is truly a difficult question for so many people, and it implies you’re not
local. If I find it difficult to answer, as an adult, what about the children? Once questions starting popping up at the dinner table about our countries of origin, the places we’ve lived, where our families and friends live, our travels, and the countries of the world, I felt I needed to be proactive and prepare them for the future. Soon other people would ask them questions. So I came up with a fun story for children titled Where am I from? which explores the topic as seen through the eyes of a child.
How did you meet the illustrator (graffitist) of the book?
He’s the husband of my childhood best friend.
Why did you decide to crowdfund your book on Kickstarter?
I had finalized the story draft, I envisioned a children’s book illustrated entirely with graffiti art by Platon, and I wished to create a book with the involvement of the public. I contacted different publishers with my proposal, and Faraxa Publishing in Malta, EU, showed interest, but the stakes were high. Was there really a market for such a book? Would the art medium really matter? It would be a very time consuming, costly, and difficult project so we needed to make sure people were invested in it, and that it was worth the effort. Crowdfunding seemed like a viable option to test the market, involve the readers, and raise the necessary funds. Thanks to this little experiment, all the book characters that you see in the book are
based on real people who all except one are of mixed cultural heritage. The walls have been painted in Greece, most of them in public primary schools for kids to enjoy them, the publisher is located in Malta, the writer and marketer (me) lives in Norway, and the backers are from all over the world which truly makes it a global book project for our international community; all of us connected through words, art, and storytelling.
How can we teach our kids about multiculturalism?
We lead by example. When our kids see us forming meaningful relationships with people of different backgrounds, enjoying our friends’ food, appreciating their cultures and respecting their way of being, they get accustomed to the normalcy of diversity right from the start.
What are some ways that multicultural children could change the world?
I urge you to read the chapter “My identity crisis growing up in numerous cultures” by Yui Mikuriya in the guide I curated “How to Raise Confident Multicultural Children”. A lovely example of what our kids can do. They can be the ‘bridging kids’.
Why did you decide to put together a guide book about multicultural children?
There are many academic books and journals on the topics of multiculturalism, multilingualism, speech development in multilingual kids, race, prejudice, immigration, identity, life abroad, religious tolerance, media influences, etc but not everyone can read and understand material written in a strictly academic way. My wish was to curate an easy to read guide for the average parent and teacher which would serve as a starting point in their lifelong journey of raising multicultural and/or multilingual children. The majority of the chapters have been written by well-established professionals with years of academic studies and hands-on experience, but the overall tone of the book is informal and relatable.
What is one thing you hope to teach your children?
To be flexible and not be afraid of change.
What is your vision for the future?
I would love to be able to publish many more books.
And what advice would you give to parents of multicultural kids who are not themselves from a multicultural heritage?
That’s a tough one. What I did was to ask a lot of questions. I read a lot of books on the subject. I reached out to experts in related fields, and I curated the guide ‘How to Raise Confident Multicultural Children’ (it retails for 8.99 USD as a paperback but your readers can download the PDF ebook for free by joining my FB group here. I also try to learn from adults who have already gone through this way of growing up and connect with other families who are raising their kids in a similar way. It’s great both for the kids and for the parents to find people with common ground who can understand each other at a deeper level.