It’s Multicultural Children’s Book Day!
One of my favorite multicultural books growing up was “Julie of the Wolves” by Jean Craighead George. (It’s not like the titular character’s name is what originally attracted me to the book … or like I spent the weeks after reading it insisting that other kids on the playground call me Miyax instead of Julie …)
The book tells the story of Julie Edwards Miyax Kapugen, an Inupiaq girl native to Alaska whose culture is facing changes forced upon it by an outside culture. The tale recounts the struggle of balancing the modern Alaskan lifestyle with being true to Eskimo tradition.
There are a few reasons I loved this book. First, most of the wilderness adventures I read (like “Hatchet” or “My Side of the Mountain”) featured boys surviving in the wild. In “Julie of the Wolves,” I got to read about a girl adventuring in the wild. Also, the Alaskan landscape and what it takes to survive there were all new to me. I was fascinated by the native Alaskan culture and Julie’s (or Miyax’s) life.
This book also was my first introduction to native Alaskan culture. As a young reader, I thought of Eskimos as people wearing parkas. The concept of Eskimos being a people with their own culture and traditions was a learning experience.
Did you have a favorite multicultural book in childhood?