We Are One at the Falling of the Sun
Here are the updates on this multicultural children's book!
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.
Eight Rules All Runners Should Know
1) Run Using The One or None Rule
We all love listening to the good cuts, especially when we are working out. I’m not gonna lie, I love it too! Here is the problem. You aren’t aware. Especially, if you’re running. When you have loud music blaring in your ears, you can't hear a potential attacker come up behind you and it also slows your reaction time. More over, what if there is a car, a curb, or a strange animal in your path. There are several reasons to pay attention. Don’t tune out. If you want to listen to music, or in my case Audible books, use the 1 or None Rule! One earbud in, the other one out. If that’s too hard, don’t wear headphones.
2) Know your Routes (That’s right, plural)
Why? If the wrong people know your routine, you are out at a disadvantage. If you know your routes, you know where to run if you find yourself in a bind. You know the possible pitfalls.
3) All the Worlds a Stage, All the Men & Women Merely Players
If dealing with an attacker & you’re near people, you want an audience! The more people, the less likely that person is to attack, the more likely you are to get help! So start making a ruckus!
4) Fire! Fire!
What do you yell if someone is attacking you! If you are near a place that may have people, yell fire! It brings a crowd and camera phones! Everyone wants a picture of this crazy fire! Plus, you’ll have evidence of the attack and can better ID your attacker.
5) Want A Shrubbery?
No! Try to stray away from running near shrubbery, hedges, trees, etc. Attackers may be lingering or lurking around.
There are Runner Personal Alarms that are heard up to 1000 ft. or a 300M range. There is one by Sabre on Amazon. Also use your voice as a tool if you should come in contact with an attacker! Speak with confidence, power, and eye contact! You can also use a rape whistle.
7) Follow the Light
It's important to go to well lit places! If you are running, try running in a well lit area. If someone is attacking you, run to a well lit location where you will be better visible to people who could help you!
8) A Person Is Only As Good As Their Weapon
Look around you for items you can use as weapons. Carry a key or keys with you when you are running so you can interlace them through your fingers if you need to. That way you will be able to use them on soft tissue on the body (especially the throat, eyes, etc.). Did you know it only takes 8-pounds of pressure to break someone's kneecap? Yep! And if you break someone's clavicle, they no longer have use of their arm. Hint, Hint, Wink, Wink.
9) Strength in Numbers
There is strength in numbers. If you want to run with friends, runners groups or a pet, all of these are helpful when wanting to stay safe. If you want to be the lone ranger, let people know where you are. Keep your phone on you and download an app which will allow friends or family to know where you are.
10) Run Tall and Stand Strong
It is important to remember to have shoulders back, head high, and be aware of your surroundings. Be a Force. Remember that predators are looking for an easy target.
11) Forget the Road Less Traveled
If you are running, stay on the path. Also vary up your path. If you have a stalker they may see that you have a set route, so have multiple options.
12) Know Some Moves
Learning self-defense is a skill that everyone should do. No one is above it, doesn't matter how big, strong, or fast you are. So look into local self-defense courses. Or go to my online self-defense course and get the runners discount HERE: www.udemy.com/warriorwomyn/?couponCode=RUNNINGWARRIORS
For more on runners safety visit: www.rrca.org
For Self-Defense Workshops or Individual Instruction, please contact Body In Balance at (808) 661-1116
For Social Media & Online Communications email MauiMediaMaven@gmail.com or NWMediaMaven@gmail.com.