We Are One at the Falling of the Sun
Here are the updates on this multicultural children's book!
This was a long awaited event. Was happy to share We Are One at the Falling of the Sun at The Children's Museum of Tacoma! Children, family, and friends came.
Every Saturday the museum has artists and community partners share their spark, providing hands-on activities creating opportunities for families to explore the arts, invent or craft. Date:
Cost: Members Free, $15 per family of 4 & $5 per additional siblings.The Museum was established in 1985 by parents, teachers, and community leaders dedicated to creating unique resources for families in Tacoma and the South Sound Region. Hope you have a chance to enjoy the museum.
For more on the Children's Museum of Tacoma: http://www.playtacoma.org/homeFor more on We Are One: www.FallingoftheSun.com
Loving Day is a celebration of a couple who paved the way for interracial relationships and it's exciting to be apart of the celebration. Loving Day is put on every year by Mavin a Cultural Arts Center. The workshop consisted of a reading of We Are One at the Falling of the Sun and an interactive cultural appreciation activity.
If you would like more information on Loving Day, please go to the link below.
Y Tacoma is a campaign that features Tacoma’s Y Generation and its amazing change-makers. The goal of Y Tacoma is to engage Tacoma’s Y Generation and open/strengthen lines of cross-generational communication. The Y Tacoma Evolution event was to showcase those who have been featured and their businesses.
We Are One at the Falling of the Sun was at a booth from 5:30-7:30 at the Mandolin Cafe Saturday April 7, 2012. Tacoma community members came to meet up and coming Y generation features and learn more about what is going on in Tacoma.
Image taken by Korbett Mosesly
Here’s a review of We Are One by N.R. Montgomery ofThePomPom.org
When was the last time you flipped through a children’s book?
If you can remember, what did you see? What questions did you ask?
For some children, flipping through vivid pages of whimsical storytelling instantly sends them to a far-off place. Some of these children flip and then stare, captivated, without question for where the line between reality and fantasy lay….
And why should they question, right? They have their whole lives to inquire.
Some children will question. AND question. AND question–till YOU are blue in the face. Why do the dwarves have such silly names? Why is the wicked witch so mean? Why would anyone eat green eggs and ham? Why? But why? WHY??
Parents and caregivers, does any of this resonate with you?
Imagine yourself the caregiver or parent of an interracial child (perhaps you already are). This child of yours is the inquisitive example.
Grandma, why don’t any of the princes have brown skin like I do?
Dad, why don’t the princesses have black hair and dark eyes like me?
No matter the answers you’d conjure up, the identity of this child has been stifled, halted in some way by a TV show, by a movie, and yes, by a children’s book that fails to offer any image bearing resemblance to their mirror’s reflection. Some will look for this validation in all that they see.
As a young girl with a diverse heritage, native features and dark hair, Tasha Ina Church was the inquisitive one. Though her parents wrangled her questions about culture and race the best they could, it took a decade or two for Tasha to develop an outlet for the unresolved tension of the young reader that lived within her: her own multicultural children’s books.
During her interview, Church casually joked about a vendor she spoke to who said that multiculturalism was a new trend. Though this comment was a sign to her that people are finally beginning to acknowledge multiculturalism, it was also clear to her how unaware some remain to the commonplaceness of multiculturalism for those growing up in diverse households and communities. For Church, multiculturalism is a birthright for all, not a dated fad.
Tasha’s first children’s book, We are One at the Falling of the Sun, a love story that tells why the sun rises and sets, is written in the style of traditional Native American folklore. Using cultural depictions and names from Algonquin Native, Chinese, and North African cultural origins, it is the tale of Kiros (“King” in North African), a merman whose movement throughout the sea creates the ocean’s currents, and his love MeiFai (“Beautiful Beginning” in Chinese), a sun princess who sews together sunbeams for the earth below. The two connect and find their union a challenging feat as one lives in the sky and the other in the sea below. The lovers not only live in two vastly separate domains but come from lineages that expect homogeny among their race.
They each are forced to ask for approval from their families to be with one another. To their parents, a union seems impossible. (The language Church uses in this portion of the story is particularly poetic and rich, like her hand drawn illustrations.)
As the story ends, a clever compromise is made that allows Kiros and MeiFai to remain true to their cultural upbringing and be united with one another. The sun sets, bringing MeiFai and Kiros together, and then rises, separating the two again so that they may continue bringing their gifts to their own worlds.
In this tale, there is an underlying commentary about race relations that gives caregivers a unique opportunity to discuss racial and cultural differences. Church states, “it is important to start this discussion early because kids today see what is presented in the media and are unable to appreciate their own multiculturalism and diversity.”
Today, if Church encounters someone who says, “I wish that I had more cultural heritage,” she tells them to research who they are: “the culture is there; they just haven’t acknowledged it yet.” In this way, Tasha hopes that We are One at the Falling of the Sun will be used by caregivers to begin acknowledging culture in their homes, daycares, and schools.
Acknowledging cultural difference was an important part of Church’s reading experience. Because she questioned the lack of diversity in popular children’s texts as a child, Church and her parents found obscure children’s books to read that offered the diversity she longed for not only in regards to race but also in terms of gender dynamics. Church easily called to mind Vassolisa the Wise (unknown author), Mermaid Stories from Around the World by Mary Pope Osborne and Paul Werstine, and her all time favorite, Weaving of a Dream by Marilee Heyer.
These children’s texts helped silence some of the questions Church had about clear representation for one (the mainstream cultural norm) and taught her to value representation for all cultures. This is why she has chosen to honor various cultures in We are One at the Falling of the Sun.
Along with being a first time author, Church is also a student and a community activist for social justice and urban youth empowerment in Tacoma, Washington. She was a contributor to wellness blog, a blog that she and a divine group of diverse women created to help people live life to their fullest potential. When she isn’t writing for the blog, she is with the youth of Fab-5 in their new Tacoma space, Fabitat, as they learn the four cornerstone elements of Hip-Hop Culture: breakdancing, MC’ing, DJ’ing, and legal graffiti artwork–multicultural outreach at its best.
On Spetember 9th, 2011, We are One at the Falling of the Sun will be presented to the public for the first time at the Washington State History Museum. Doors open at 5 pm. Admission is free for all who drop in, which includes their ticket to the Museum for the evening. Please come and celebrate the completion of this new important addition to children’s literature and education.
I need to start by saying thank you for writing such a wonderful children’s book. As a tutor, and as a mother finding a book that is truly engaging to the youth today is a rare find and a treasure I will share from here on out. I brought your book We Are One at the Falling of the Sun to my 3/4th grade tutoring class not really knowing what to expect. It was amazing! These 7 kids were enthralled, eyes were on me the entire time! No one spoke other than to see the pictures. I couldn’t have imagined a better experience. Emmonie ran up and asked if she could have the book. She said it was “the best story she ever heard” and she loved the pictures. She wanted to know all about you and if you had more stories. The boys were busy trying to decide which dominion they lived on and every one was sad to hear you didn’t have more books in print for them.
My daughter Saije received this book as a Christmas gift and proudly took it to school to share with her friends.
Its hard to believe that a children’s book could be in my top ten best books of all time, however this book is so special in its ability to draw in the audience, the fact that there is no bad guy and communities are represented so well. I can, in all truthfulness, say it is one of my all time favorites.
A Better U
We Are One at the Falling of the Sun is available at King's Books Store. King's Books has become the largest used and new independent bookstore in the South Puget Sound area. They are a community-oriented bookstore. King's Books is a proud member of the Pacific Northwest Bookseller's Association (PNBA) and the American Booksellers Association (ABA). They are a store with Book Sense, a program of the ABA that prints monthly recommendations from independent booksellers around the country.
For more on King's Books check out their website: http://www.kingsbookstore.com/
To see more information on We Are One check out my website: www.tashainachurch.com.
This footage captures the launch of this multicultural children's book. Opening day took place at the Washington State History Museum. See images from the book, an interview, and more.
In December 2012, I wanted to take We Are One at the Falling of the Sun a step further and have been doing year round multicultural programming at Point Defiance Elementary School. It has been an extremely rewarding process and I have truly enjoyed all that the participants have had to share. I am working with three classes: Mrs. Watts, Mrs. Arnolds, and Mrs. Szentesi. Each teacher has made a commitment to encouraging youth to learn about cultural appreciation and making it a celebration. We have done several activities such as a book reading of We Are One at the Falling of the Sun, the question game (surrounding the assumptions we make on a day-to-day basis and ways to ask vs. assume), family tree (each youth has an opportunity to share their families background be it alternative or old fashioned), journaling about several topics such as race vs. culture (allowing participants to explore what they see as similarities and differences).
I would not have had the opportunity to be there without the wonderful Mrs. Olga Lay, Point Defiance's Principle. It has been and continues to be a wonderful opportunity! I am loving the feedback from students!
For more consistent update on topics check out my Facebook site: http://www.facebook.com/WeAreOneattheFallingoftheSun
We Are One is doing a reading through the Pierce County Library System and Boys and Girls Club in Gig Harbor. It is a great opportunity for youth to come and enjoy a new twist to our traditional fairy tale love stories.For more information or to book for a reading please email: Tasha.Ina.Church@gmail.com