Reading with children

a blog by Magic Tales

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Exploring the Concept of Weekend through the Window of Different Cultures and Children’s Books

Weekends, the breathing space amidst our hectic lives, are viewed and celebrated differently around the globe. In Western countries, typically Saturday and Sunday offer a break from the work week. But did you know that in some parts of the Middle East, their weekend is Friday and Saturday, with Sunday being a regular workday? Or that, in certain African cultures, there's no concept of a weekend as we understand it? Let's dive into the varied world of 'weekend' through children’s books and see how different cultures celebrate their time off.
1. 'Lulu and the Saturday Baby'
This delightful story by Cameroon-born author Bontle Senne, presents a weekend day from the perspective of the African culture. With no specific concept of 'weekend', days here are more about community, gatherings, and helping each other out.
2. 'Friday Prayers'
Middle Eastern weekends come alive in this beautifully illustrated children’s book by Omar Khawaja. The story revolves around the protagonist, Ilyas, and his experiences in preparing for and participating in Friday prayers, shedding light on the Islamic beliefs and cultural practices that prepare families for their weekend.
3. 'Shabbat Shalom'
This book by Sarah Gershman offers a unique window into the Jewish way of life. The story revolves around Leah and her family's Friday evening rituals to welcome Shabbat, the Jewish weekend. Many Jewish families use this time to connect with each other after a hectic week.
4. 'Saturday Disco'
This charming picture book from Japan by Michiko Yakatsu provides a glimpse into how the young Japanese revel in their weekends. Here, Saturdays are not just for relaxation, but also for exploring new hobbies and interests - just like in this story, where children assemble every Saturday afternoon for a neighbourhood disco!
5. 'American Sundays'
'American Sundays' by Katherine Lee Bates is an eccentric take on the quintessential American Sunday. From church visits and family dinners to NFL games, this book sketches a detailed timeline that marks an American Sunday.
Reading these books is a wonderful way to explore different cultures while bonding with your children. Regardless of how different they may seem, all cultures have one thing in common: creating a space in our busy lives to enjoy and reconnect with our families and our communities. So allow these books to inspire different ways to spend your weekend, leaving the monotony behind and weaving a rich tapestry of tradition, fun, imagination and togetherness that will resonate with your children well into their adulthood.
Remember, in the eyes of a child, a weekend is less about breaking away from the work week and more about absorbing life, exploring, creating and simply being. And these books brilliantly capture that spirit. Happy reading, and happy weekend!

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