Blogger crowdsources book for multicultural kids

Trying to raise Greek-Norwegian kids in Malta, a blogger mom decided to write the book her children needed.

Daiva Repeckaite
Daiva Repeckaite NewsMavens, Malta
Blogger crowdsources book for multicultural kids - NewsMavens
Friends smiling, Hepingting, Flickr

Why this story matters:

The concept behind the book "Where am I from?" might appear at first glance like a collection of trendy keywords: street art, diversity, and multicultural parenting. But for Elisavet Arkolaki, who blogs about parenting in Malta, this is very much her reality, and she is surprised that no children's books on multiple identities have ever been published before.

"I haven’t found any children’s books dealing with the question of where we are from in any way other than the biological sense, as opposed to a philosophical sense," she says.

So, she took the initiative to create a book for her Greek-Norwegian-Maltese children and their peers.

"Kids realize early that others might not be speaking the same languages, that certain behaviors that are normal for them (i.e. Mediterranean kids tend to be loud at home) might not be accepted in another cultural setting and might be seen as something to be corrected. Our son is growing up with a Greek mum and a Norwegian dad and during the first years of his life he lived in Malta. Small things like this can be big causes of confusion and frustration for small children," she says.

The book features characters from every inhabited continent and will be marketed internationally.

Thanks to its booming economy, Malta is becoming an attractive destination for workers from the EU and beyond, despite some politicians' attempts to blame foreigners for its development problems. Last year the government adopted the country's first integration strategy. Local initiatives like the book project, meanwhile, tackle diversity in various specific areas.

Details from the story:

  • To create a new international tool for raising children and taking full advantage of a multicultural environment, Elisavet Arkolaki is crowdfunding to finance publishing a book illustrated with street art.
  • The book will feature murals by the Greek street artist Platon. The artist will paint the murals in Athens and photograph them.
  • Crafted for children roughly from pre-school to eight years of age, the book intertwines stories of nine children, from Malta to China, living on all six inhabited continents. The children get together to find a universal answer to the question "Where am I from?"
  • Elisavet’s estimate is that the ambitious project needs €10,500 in about thirty days, which she hopes to collect by August 15.
  • “I was actually very surprised to see this has never been done before -- marrying words with street art for a children’s audience,” Elisavet says.
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