Saturday, December 27, 2014

Happy Kwanzaa


Kwanzaa is a holiday that honors African American culture and life. Kwanzaa last for 7 days beginning December 26 and ending January 1st. Kwanzaa began in the United States in 1966. It was founded by Dr. Maulana Karenga. Kwanzaa means "fresh fruits" in the African language of Swahili.

There are seven principles of Kwanzaa that are each celebrated on a different day. These include:

Day 1 - December 26 -  Umoja - Unity
Day 2 - December 27 - Kujichagulia - Self-determination
Day 3 - December 28 - Ujima - Collective Work and Responsibility
Day 4 - December 29 - Ujamaa - Cooperative Economics
Day 5 - December 30 - Nia - Purpose
Day 6 - December 31 - Kuumba - Creativity
Day 7 - January 1       - Imani - Faith

Habari Gani "What news?" is used as a greeting each morning. The answer is the name of the principle for that day. Seven candles - one black, three red, and three green-stand for the seven principles of Kwanzaa. Each night, one candle is lit, and the family talks about the principle for that day.

There are also seven symbols of Kwanzaa: a mat on which the other symbols rest; fruits and vegetables representing the harvest; a unity cup, from which all drink; a candle holder with seven places; the seven candles themselves; an ear of corn for each child in the home; and gifts from the parents to the children.

Here is a list of some popular Kwanzaa books for children. Feel free to send your favorite titles.These books are all great reads for learning more about Kwanzaa

The Gifts of Kwanzaa by Synthia Saint James

A child narrator introduces the reader to the Kwanzaa celebration through a richly colored, gorgeously designed book on Kwanzaa. The book begins with a brief introduction "About Kwanzaa" where we learn about the celebration.

The pictures are very colorful and representative of the African rich colors of the African continent. What a feast for the eyes. The book ends with NGUZO SABA: The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa where we learn about each principle.


K is for Kwanzaaa: A Kwanzaa Alphabet Book by Juwanda G. Ford and Ken Wilson-Max

In this creatively colored Kwanzaa alphabet book, the reader learns about the Kwanzaa holiday  through each letter of the alphabet.

The colors are bold, rich, and luscious! What a treat for the eyes.  The book begins with a brief introduction to Kwanzaa and then jumps right into "Let's celebrate Kwanzaa from A to Z!" The seven Kwanzaa principles are included also followed by:

A is for Africa, B is for Bendera (African American flag displayed during Kwanzaa), and C is for candle. Kwanzaa candles are called mishumaa saba. D is for Dashiki, a loose fitting shirt worn by people throughout Africa. E is for Embe - a mango that grows in many parts of Africa. F is for Feast - a large meal shared by many people. G is for Gele - a long, narrow strip of cloth that African women and girls wear wrapped around their heads. H is for Harvest - Ripened crop of fruits and vegetables that is gathered at the end of the growing season. I is for Indigo - Indigo is a blue powder from the indigo plant. J is for Jewelry - Making simple bracelets or necklaces as Kwanzaa gifts is a way to practice creativity (Kuumba). K is for Kwanzaa or Kinara. Kinara is the wooden candleholder that holds the seven Kwanzaa candles.

You will have to read the book to learn more about the rest of the letters of the alphabet.


Kevin's Kwanzaa by Lisa Bullard and Illustrated by Constanza Basaluzzo

Kevin's family is celebrating the seven days of Kwanzaa! They light candles and learn a special word each day. They talk about working together. On the sixth day, everyone dances at a big feast! Find out the different ways people celebrate this holiday.

This is a nice colorful book that describe Kwanzaa through Kevin's eyes. The book includes the following chapters: Ready for Kwanzaa; Lighting the Candles; Another Word Each Night; Finally, My Turn; Make a Kwanzaa Drum; Glossary; To Learn More; and an Index.


Kwanzaa by Lisa Herrington

What a great overview of the Kwanzaa holiday. This book is short and includes information for everything that you need to know about Kwanzaa. Beginning with the Table of Contents that includes the following chapters:

Happy Kwanzaa; How It Began; Kwanzaa's Symbols; Spreading Joy; Let's Celebrate; Show What You Know; Glossary; Index; Facts for Now; and About the Author.

This is a great book for teaching about Kwanzaa. The text is short and to the point, there are gorgeous photographs corresponding with each chapter. There is an activity at the end where families can make a Kwanzaa hat for their own celebration.


All of these Kwanzaa books great additions to any home, school, and public library, day care center, or any place children and families want to learn about and celebrate Kwanzaa.


Here are links to lists of Kwanzaa books and information:

The Official Kwanzaa Web Site

Teacher's First Kwanzaa Resources  

Teacher Planet - Kwanzaa Resources


Happy Reading!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Until the next time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A children's book a day, keeps the scary monster away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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