We all have a unique story to tell! When we tell it, we hope that readers will relate whether they live across the street or across the globe. Great stories can transcend language and cultural barriers and tap into human emotions and experiences that we share as members of the human family. I’ve been searching for stories that celebrate cultural diversity in the everyday events of family life. I recently ran across an action packed bilingual bedtime story that did just that while strengthening the bond between a father and son.
Good Dream, Bad Dream: The World’s Heroes Save the Night! By Juan Calle & Serena Valentino is a loving told story from a father to his son. Julio is afraid to go to bed because he fears the monsters in his bedroom. His papa assures him that there are no monsters and tells him not to be afraid before bed because, “Remember for every bad dream, you can have a good dream to help defeat your fears.”
Papa proceeds to console Julio with vivid imaginary encounters where mythical heroes conquer gangs of universal monsters and monstrous fears shared by kids around the world. In this superbly illustrated book, Viking Thor defeats an angry troll. Knight King Arthur defeats a greedy dragon, a witch, and an ogre. Goddess Durga wipes out Naga, and Supermom takes down pollution, injustice and war.
Rest assured that the protagonist is not passive. Julio appears in every illustration appropriately outfitted and ready to battle. Julio helps each hero in their quests and in the end he is transformed. He declares himself a fearless hero! Papa affirms that he is “the mightiest hero of all.”
English and Spanish are equally celebrated in the text. In addition to the bilingual text, readers are given the names of the infamous monsters and heroes. This story has universal appeal as children and parents from around the globe can all relate to the fear of monsters, trouble falling asleep at bedtime, good and bad dreams, and overcoming fears.
I’ll continue my quest to find great books that celebrate diversity and I’ll share the treasures with you!
Carol Higgins-Lawrence wrote her first story at the age of five. Her father paid her a quarter for it and she's been writing ever since. She's taken a variety of courses in writing for children. Multicultural perspectives are of particular interest to her. Carol is of Jamaican descent and was born and raised in Canada. She has a BA in Communications and Sociology and she has completed coursework towards a MA in TESOL. She has worked as a literacy educator for the past 15 years. She currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and two young children.
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