In the discussion about diversity and various cultural values and beliefs, it is important to mention the wide variety of materials in this topic that is accessible to children. A representation of my family culture that targets children is Natasha Wing’s book The Night Before Thanksgiving. It depicts various traditions, customs, and preparations involved in the celebration of Thanksgiving, which is an important holiday within the American culture.
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The book is familiar to many children because the preparation for Thanksgiving is similar in many families: they cook traditional foods such as roasted turkey and pies, clean their houses and polish silverware, and invite friends and relatives to visit their home.
The book is a great representation of my own family system and culture because it shows that small things involved in preparation for a holiday enable family members to get closer to one another. When my family plans Thanksgiving, we are always sharing new recipes, ideas, bring board games to play after dinner, watch TV together, or enjoy the company of each other. In my view, this particular holiday is less about the celebration itself but is more about bringing the family together and giving thanks to the good things that have happened during the year.
The book gives a lot of attention to the central dish of Thanksgiving – the roasted turkey. However, in my family, we do not prepare it every holiday because it is expensive and a lot of it goes waste. We prepare chicken or even make barbeque and this does not take away from the holiday spirit. I think that there is no ‘right’ way to celebrate Thanksgiving, which is why Wing’s book is so important – it shows children the tradition but teaches them to value family and close relationships rather than food.