Teach Middle East Magazine Apr - Jun 2020 Issue 3 Volume 7 - Page 40

Advertorial MIRROR BOOKS AND WINDOW BOOKS THE ARABIA READERS COLLECTION AND CHILD IDENTITY IN THE GULF REGION BY: FAWZIA GILANI-WILLIAMS AND RHIANNON BALL T hink about the books in your classroom; the ones you read regularly with your students, even the ones that you see on sale in the bookshops at the mall. Where do they come from? And who are the main characters? They probably come from the USA or the UK, and probably feature characters that, although well-loved, are entirely Anglocentric. They serve as window books and not mirror books. But what exactly are window books and mirror books? Window books make the strange familiar. They acquaint children with people from other lands, with various cultures, a variety of cuisines, an ensemble of customs, and curious and colourful costumes that are different to their own. Window books cultivate 40 Term 3 Apr - Jun 2020 empathy, neighbourliness and humanity. They emulate the Qur’anic sentiment of universal humanity and affability, promote integration, and lead to moral literacy and emotional intelligence. Children are better equipped to stave off negatives like racism and prejudice, discrimination and bigotry. Mirror books promote positive self- esteem in children. They mirror the child and all that is familiar to the child such as family, home, community, lifestyle, clothes, food, school, buildings, animals, landscape, daily practices, culture and religion. They reflect the child and endorse the child’s lifestyle. They connect children with what is meaningful to them in terms of their heritage and history. Mirror books play a very crucial role in Class Time the development of a child’s positive self-identity formation because they give a child a sense of place and a sense of belonging. Children feel a sense of dignity and honour for themselves, their parents, family, peers, faith, community and nation. Children who develop a strong sense of identity generally make a positive impact on the world around them. They go on to do grand things in life. They love who they are and they love their heritage. Both types of books are important. However, in terms of developing a positive self-image it is important that children are given an opportunity to read mirror books from an early age. This is why the majority of books that children in the USA and UK have are Anglocentric. It would be peculiar