LINC Celebrates National Summer Learning Day with a Bilingual Program Featuring Renowned Children’s Author Mitali Perkins on the Joys of Living in Between
“I think we should all be between cultures. Cross borders with your children while they’re young. Make friends with someone who doesn’t speak your language - be such good friends with them that they invite you to their home, share their food with you, and teach you their customs. Learn each other’s customs. It’s important to do this while they are young because if you wait till they grow up it’s too late! Adults have a hard time crossing cultures but children are really good at it!” - Mitali Perkins
This year during National Summer Learning Week, the critically acclaimed author Mitali Perkins widened all of our hearts with a read-aloud of her book, Home Is in Between during LINC’s online reading celebration.
What better way to celebrate this national literacy holiday than incorporating the wisdom of an author who knows firsthand what it means to relocate one’s life and home in another country. With a warm and soothing voice and demeanor, Mitali shared her personal story with us and described the experience of navigating multiple cultures and embracing the complex but beautiful home in between.
Mitali crossed a number of borders in her program as she greeted LINC families in three different languages: English, Spanish, and Bangla and patiently waited as a Bangla translator assisted throughout the program. It was clear that all 68 of our participants were able to identify with her immigration story - how she left one country to begin a life in another one.
LINC families are quite familiar with the complexities of living in between and Mitali’s authentic responses to their questions and concerns was endearing, as she spoke of her own experiences as a child and shared pictures of herself and her family before and after they immigrated to the United States. As she read her book, Mitali encouraged the children to notice the changing emotions of the heroine, Shanti, as she navigated between cultures. In the last few pages, Mitali reassured her captive listeners that they could be confident in their ability to find home for themselves no matter what:
“She stretched her arms wide.
She was good at making anywhere feel like home.
In the space between cultures.”
Mitali’s book contains a glossary of Bangla words, and a wise reminder that biculturalism is both a gift and a superpower. “If you speak two languages you have a super power! Because then your brain is prepped to learn even more new languages and you can make people feel at home wherever you are for the rest of your life.”
Thank you, Mitali Perkins for joining LINC for National Summer Learning Week and making our families feel at home. Your heartfelt story is a gift for all of us.
For upcoming LINC programs, visit us at www.lincnyc.org/onlineprograms.