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Romina's Rangoli based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
This is a very nicely crafted story about a young American girl, Romina, whose father is from India and whose mother is from Mexico. Romina is given a school assignment to create a project that represents her heritage, an easy task maybe for students that have a single cultural background, but since Romina is of mixed cultures she struggles with what to do for her project. No matter what she chooses she leaves out either one side of her family or the other. As she asks family members for help she begins to discover common bonds and similarities between the cultures. Finally she comes up with a project that combines a traditional Indian art form with a traditional Mexican art technique to create a project that is both a combination of cultures and a unique expression ¿ just like the protagonist herself. Given that in the last census almost 20% of the U.S. population identified themselves as being mixed ethnicity or mixed ancestry, this book is very timely and true to life. It is somewhat aggravating that with all of the hundreds of ¿multicultural¿ picture books being published, almost all focus on cultural or racial roots being singular (i.e. the African-American experience, the Mexican-American experience, the Japanese experience...). Romina¿s Rangoli is a welcome and realistic exception given how diverse a population we have -- it is a shame there are not more picture books like this that address the needs of bi-cultural or multi-cultural families. The book lends itself well to the classroom also. I currently use it in several lesson plans about cultural similarities (which leads to lessons on tolerance), family trees, and multiculturalism. I have had many students that respond extremely well to it, they light up and get excited about the opportunity to say that they are not just of one culture or race (I have one student that just used to identify himself as African-American and now he proudly explains that he is African-American and Caribbean-American. Another student is Irish and Swedish, another Guatemalan and Native American, and many others ¿ about half of my class actually!) which has lead to some great discussions, connections, and projects. The book also has well written author¿s notes that describe the traditional Indian art form called Rangoli and the Mexican art form of papel picado that are featured in the storyline and that the main character utilizes as a starting point to create her own unique bicultural expression. Highly recommended.