I love celebrating and giving my students gifts for their birthdays. They usually walk into a decorated chair filled with a gift bag, a special hat, and a picture book. When they see the chair, they know it’s someone’s birthday.
For this particular year, I chose the Peppa Pig series. I thought the titles represented things that the students could relate to.
I joyfully set up the chair for a little girl who was turning 3-years-old. She was excited to get all of the goodies. But mom politely returned the book, saying that she was okay with the book, but the child’s dad would not be okay with it.
I review all the children’s books that I give to my students or post on my social media pages, and I thought the books were appropriate for the age group and the colors were engaging.
So, my staff and I were stunned. As you all are probably thinking, we thought, “It’s just a book.” Of course, to us, that might be the case. But to, someone who believes that pigs are not to be celebrated could conflict with what they were teaching their children at home.
I know that some people don’t eat pork, and others believe that the pig is a dirty animal. I never asked the parent the reasoning behind their decision. But I realized that part of understanding and working with a diverse population is a learning process, just as I talk to the parents about celebrations in the classroom. I must research picture books that celebrate animals so that I don’t offend anyone’s beliefs.