Fun during Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated in the United States to recognize Hispanic Americans and their contributions to this nation throughout the years. As a Latina living in the US for over 13 years, I feel proud of my culture and honored that my heritage is being recognized and embraced.

This time of celebration is perfect for bringing communities together by celebrating festivals, educational activities, food feasts, and many other events. It is the perfect time to teach our children the importance of cultural diversity and how enriching it is to be open to learning and embracing others no matter where they come from. We are all united in many different ways, and the US has opened the doors to Latinos to be part of this wonderful mix of cultures.


Latin American countries have many differences and similarities among each other, and Hispanic Heritage month is a great way to celebrate and blend them all together.

Join in on the fun

Join in on the fun of celebrating this special month and share it with your children. There are many ways this can be done, either through cooking delicious dishes from different Latin American countries, such as Venezuelan Arepas, a Peruvian Ceviche, Cuban Croquettes, a Dominican Sancocho, or a tasty Mexican Quesadilla, to playing outdoor games like A la Rueda Rueda, Las Cortinas del Palacio, and El Corazón de la Piña. Also reading books written by Hispanic authors and talking to your children in Spanish or even watching their favorite cartoons in this language.

Dance to the beat

Another entertaining idea, and one of my personal favorites, is listening to different Latin songs and dancing to their beat. Music serves as a way of connecting people from all around the world, and getting kids involved to the rhythms of the Latin culture is always a fun way to make them fall in love with it even more. Dance merengue, salsa, son, bachata, cumbia, and tango and simply have fun with it. Laugh, twist and turn around a room; I assure you the children will love it.

Mundo Lanugo, Music

We are unique

It is our joy, energy, humility, family traditions, love and respect for life, for others and for our heritage that make us Latinos special and unique. Let’s share our culture with our children, our neighbors, our friends, and families, no matter their nationality. And let’s make this Hispanic Heritage month a special one for our little ones, after all, they are the generation that will follow our steps and will be in charge of keeping our heritage alive.

¡Hasta la próxima!

Anadel AlbertiAnadel Alberti Sahdalá was born and raised in the Dominican Republic. She moved to the US at the age of 17 to pursue her career in Int’l Business and Marketing Communications at Manhattanville College, and then her MBA at the University of Miami. Project Manager at Lanugo – the first Latino-inspired lifestyle and entertainment brand for Hispanic American pre-schoolers empowering Latino de Corazón™ (Latin at Heart) cultural pride. She currently resides in Miami, FL and spends her days in Mundo Lanugo with the entire Lanugo team, creating and sharing tools to help parents raise children with a strong sense of identity. She is a proud Dominican and, of course, always has been, is, and will be Latina de Corazón™.

heritagemonthWelcome to the Third Annual Hispanic Heritage Month Blog Hop, hosted this year by Multicultural Kid Blogs and 22 of our member blogs! Don’t miss our amazing giveaway, and share your own posts at our linky!

Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15 to October 15 every year, “celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America” (from

Be sure to visit all of the participating blogs (listed below) and follow our related Pinterest boards:

MKB HHM Twitter PartyDon’t miss our Twitter party “Celebrating Hispanic Heritage with Kids,” Tuesday, September 23, from 9 – 10 pm ET! Follow #mkbhhm to participate!

MKB Hispanic Heritage Month Blog Hop: Participating Blogs

Multicultural Kid Blogs

All Done Monkey

Spanish Playground

Kid World Citizen

Mommy Maestra

Kids Yoga Stories

Inspired by Familia

Entre Compras y El Hogar

Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes

Spanglish House

Crafty Moms Share

Toddling in the Fast Lane

Mama Tortuga

Frogs, Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Our Whole Village

Changing Plate

A Life With Subtitles

Spanish Mama

Pragmatic Mom

Daria’s Music”>Daria’s Music

My Favorite Multicultural Books

Trilingual Mama

Mundo Lanugo

The Good Long Road

Hispanic Heritage Month GIVEAWAY!

This year to celebrate we are giving away fabulous prizes! Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post for a chance to win!

Please note that there are shipping restrictions on some prizes. In the event that the winner lives outside of the shipping area, that portion of the prize will be added to the following prize package.

Grand Prize Package

Smart Play PadSmart Play Pad (SRP $ 24.99): Interactive tablet like electronic toy makes early learning fun and exciting for little ones. More than 30 touch sensitive keys teach language and pronunciation skills to help prepare children for school. Bilingual feature helps kids learn in English & Spanish. Lightweight and truly portable for on-the-go learning. Ships to US and Canada only.

Traditional Mexican toys and games.

A basket of fun from Escuela Falcón in Guanajuato, Gto., Mexico. This prize includes educational games, ceramic Day of the Dead skulls, a hand-painted ceramic box, wooden toys, and a certificate for 5 hours of Skype Spanish lessons with Escuela Falcón.

LanugoA basket from Lanugo that includes Lanugo’s new book, “Lula la Consentida,” a limited edition “Latino de Corazón” infant apparel, and Seventh Generation’s earth conscious baby product essentials. US shipping only.

Spanish games for kids.

A Spanish edition of the award-winning game Bananagrams.

DVD of Spanish music videos from Rockalingua.

DVD of Spanish music videos from Rockalingua.

Bilingual poetry book from Lee and Low.

Spanish poetry book for kids from Lee and Low.

A Movie in my Pillow and Poems to Dream Together – Books of poetry in English and Spanish from Lee and Low.

First Prize Package

Peru prize basket - Kid World CitizenA child’s sweater and bag from Peru courtesy of Kid World Citizen. The handmade, wool sweater is typical from the Andes and might fit a child ages 2-4. The little backpack is also handmade with gorgeous details typical of the region.

Spanish games for kids. A Spanish edition of the award-winning game Bananagrams.

Spanish songs for kids.

Chocolalala – CD of songs in English and Spanish from Mister G.

Spanish songs for kids from Mariana Iranzi.Hola Hello – A CD of children’s songs in English and Spanish from Mariana Iranzi.

Spanish poems for kids.

Mis primeros poemas – A book of poems and audio CD for Spanish learners from All Bilingual Press.

Spanish color activities from Mundo de Pepita.

Digital download of Spanish Colors Activities Pack with printable minibooks, games and activity pages from Mundo de Pepita.

Lingua ToysSpanish activity book with an audio CD with listening exercises for kids between 3-10 years old (value: 12€) from Lingua Toys.

Bolivian GuiroHand-crafted guiro (traditional instrument), hand-carved from a gourd in Bolivia with a sun and moon pattern. Great instrument as well as a piece of folk art. From DARIAMUSIC. US shipping only.

Second Prize Package

Handwoven scarf from Nicaragua.

Handwoven scarf from Nicaragua courtesy of Spanish Playground.

Spanish ABC book from Libros Arellano.

Spanish book for kids from Libros Arellano.

¡Las letras! and Señorita Bienvenida en el aeropuerto – Two children’s books in Spanish from Libros Arellano.

Spanish songs for kids from Mariana Iranzi.

A CD of children’s songs in English and Spanish from Mariana Iranzi.

Children's songs in Spanish from Mister G.

ABC Fiesta – CD of songs in English and Spanish from Mister G.

High frequency words books in Spanish.

Digital download of 6 printable Spanish high frequency words books from Custom Literacy.

Bonus Prize: France Shipping Only!

Las piñatas de LalyBeautiful piñata created especially for this contest by Piñatas de Laly.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Link Up Your Posts Now it’s your turn to share your posts! The linky will be open through October 15, so come back and share throughout Hispanic Heritage Month!

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Markets around the World

Markets around the world Summer is ending, new vegetables and fruits adorn the markets’ stands and we will soon start to prepare pumpkin soups and grilled chestnuts here in Germany. But what of markets in other part of the world? How do they look like? What type of food and other local products are sold? To answer these questions, I have asked members of the Multicultural Kid Blogs community to provide some pictures and thoughts on this subject. I must say that I am now in great desire of visiting all these places! Helsinki Amanda is a traveler [Maroc Mama]. She lives now in Marrakech, Morocco, and visits the local market quite often but her loves of travel brought her for example to Helsinki, Finland. She took this picture of an indoor market and you can see that wood is everywhere…Quite typical and lovely, don’t you think? Morocco

In the very inviting post Spanish Food Market, Anna talks about her first encounter with a Spanish market. The pictures she has taken make us travel and we can even (nearly) smell the delicious food cooked there! Don’t hesitate to read more of her blog Multicultural Kitchen, you will find some yummy recipes and meal plannings!


Tsukiji Market in Tokyo is billed as the world’s largest and busiest fish market. It is often on the top of the must-see list of many tourist who view the Japanese capitol city. Most tourists go for the 5 am live tuna auction and then get in long lines to each fresh sushi from one of the sushi counters that line the market. Just across the street from where they hold the live tuna auction is a bustling market where you can buy fresh fish, sample Japanese street food, and savor a true taste of Tokyo. Aimee, Raising World Citizens

Libourne, Gironde Jennifer, American Mom in Bordeaux, has written a post about the Libourne market place. Libourne is a french town in Gironde, where flow the river Dordogne. You can either buy food, clothes or everyday life items… And speaking about France, Phoebe of Lou Messugo has some pictures that make me feel quite nostalgic… (I lived in the South of France near the Spanish border from 2 to 22 years old, markets were part of my life as much as the sunny summers and the Tramontane blowing away the umbrellas. Sadly, I have no pictures left from my youth.) In a blog post, she explains how important markets are in Provence, illustrated with luscious photos:

My nearest lovely market is Valbonne in the Alpes-Maritimes which takes place every Friday morning.  It spreads out through all the little alleyways of the medieval village and sells a great mix of locally grown seasonal vegetables and local products such as olives, olive oils, cheese, saucisson, honey, spices, lavender-based goods like soap, essential oil and bags.  It also has clothing, provencal fabrics and tablecloths, accessories, pottery, things made out of olivewood and plenty of other things.  It attracts huge numbers of visitors but it’s also very much used by locals to buy their weekly vegetables etc.  Markets are very much part of everyday life in France, not just for tourists!  These pictures were taken in spring.

ValbonneBelfast Crystal, from Crystal tiny treasures St. George’s Market in Belfast, Northern Ireland (United Kingdom). It was built between 1890 – 1896 and it was named the UK’s best Large Indoor Market in 2014. HRH Queen Elizabeth and The Duke of Edinburgh visited St. George’s this summer for the first time to take in the diverse range of local food, crafts, music and atmosphere. Borough Market

Borough Market is a London treasure. Nestled near the London Bridge, it’s a fantastic spot to wander, check out the fresh and prepared foods, and plan your next meals. The market, which dates back to the 13th century, offers fresh produce, cheeses, olives, pastries, fish & chips, and even Pims!  Aimee, Raising World Citizens

Puerto RicoFrances blogs at Discovering the world through my son’s eyes and share with her reader her love for her native country Puerto Rico.

Costa Rica Have you seen these peach palms fruits? Markets in Costa Rica offer fresh tropical fruits and other yummy food. Leanna, All done Monkey, has written an article about them, check it out!

In USA, Mary Anne, alias Mama Smiles, had written blog posts about her first visit to a farmer’s market in Massachusetts and the second time too… because you can’t have enough moments like these! Click on the links to discover the joy of going to a market with kids. Chicago Green

Green City Market takes place twice a week in Chicago’s Lincoln Park and Fulton Market neighborhood. It runs during the summer and moves indoors in Lincoln Park during the winter, allowing Chicagoans to get locally produced, fresh foods all year round. Chicagoans flock to the market to buy produce, breads, meats and prepared foods. It’s easy to spend all day there shopping for food, sampling market treats, listening to music, watching chef demonstrations, and more. Aimee, Raising World Citizens

Chicago Logan Square

The Logan Square Farmers Market takes place every Sunday in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. It moves indoors during the winter, making it easy for Chicagoans to shop for fresh food during the cold weather. The market is a true community gathering place, and its vendors reflect the diversity of the neighborhood. You can buy French baguettes, Asian tofu, Mexican tacos, Italian pasta, British sausage and more. It’s the perfect place to eat, listen to music, and people watch from a cozy spot in the grass. Aimee, Raising World Citizens


 “Zagreb has a fabulous Market called the ‘Dolac Markets’, which is over 80 years old. You’ll find the markets located within a few metres walk of Trg Bana Jelačić Square. The markets are easy to spot, just keep your eyes peeled for ‘Kumica’ at the top of the stairs at the entrance into Dolac. Once you see this peasant lady with her basket on her head, the open space will be filled with rows, and rows of red umbrellas. Then you’ll know you’ve arrived.” SJ de Chasing the donkey.

Frankfurt The indoor market in the center of Frankfurt is a place full of life, delicious smells and tasty discoveries. A nice place to buy a focaccia or some tapas after shopping for Grüne Soße herbs and fresh fishes. If you come to Hessen in Autumn, visit Oberursel and its St Martin’s markt (local producters and medieval games)… and if you are around during Advent, many Christmas markets take place in the cities around Mainhattan (the nickname for Frankfurt).TaunusDanube Riyadh When I asked Haboona [NNNN] for pictures of markets in Saudi Arabia, she kindly told me that, because of the extreme heat, there are no outdoor markets. But they do have places to buy foods… So here you go: two sets of pictures of supermarkets in Riyadh, full of fresh products, spices, oils, starchy food and non-alcoholic drinks! Hyper Panda, Riyadh If you stay in Sao Paulo, Brazil, save time for the 5 markets worth a look in this big city. Annabelle [The Piri-Piri Lexicon] has enjoyed them greatly with her child. When she traveled to Istanbul, she also strolled through many Bazaars. Take a look at her photo gallery, Istanbul colors are delighful. Sao Paulo Isemark, Hamburg

Isemarkt is one of Hamburg’s oldest markets (it turned 100 in 2012). It takes place bi-weekly under the viaduct of Hamburg’s first metro line. A whole kilometer long, it is the longest open air market in Europe and has over 200 merchants. Ilze, Let the Journey Begin.

Weilheim, Bavaria Adriana [Changing Plate] goes every week in the market in Weilheim in the South of Germany. Held weekly in the center of the town, this market brings together local farmers and vendors of delicious products. Everything is fresh and seasonal and it’s easy to find organic produces, cheeses and oils. As Italy is roughly 90 miles away, you could often find Italian vendors (on the picture, you will see one from Tuscany). On the pictures in the top left corner, you can see decorations made from hops and fresh currants, flowers and other vegetables/fruits. As one of her friends said “Not only do we drink beer, we put it on the walls!!” 

I will finish with the website: You will find pictures and informations about markets in all the world (in “find a market all around the world”). It has also a blog where the author shares his visits in markets. It seems that the love for markets – farmers markets, local craftmen markets, flea markets and so on – is shared in every part of the world. That’s not something I will ever complain about!

P1000308 - Copie

Blogging at La Cité des Vents, Eolia writes about her life as a French expat mom in the Frankfurt’s area. Between discovering her new surroundings, her children’s funny antics and what she likes about life, she has always something to talk about!

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4 Reasons Why Your Child Is Passive Bilingual

Have you ever met a family where parents speak to a child their heritage language but a child responds back in the community one? Or maybe this is the case in your multilingual family?

It certainly could be frustrating: you were always speaking the target language with your child and maybe he/she even spoke it to you back as a little kid but eventually started to use more majority language with you and finally completely switched to it.

But be positive, your child is still bilingual with the level of bilingualism called passive or receptive, when she accumulates the language enough to understand it but chooses not to use it for various reasons.

What are these reasons and are there any solutions if you would like your child to be an active bilingual?

MKB Guest Post 4

I asked this question to the MKB community of multilingual researches, bloggers, parents and language activists and received great answers that could help you determine the reasons of passive bilingualism within your family and how to find ways to turn it into active one.

 Reason#1: Lack of Real Need For a Language

The NEED to speak the language is the essential ground for its developing.

Adults who acquire a second language almost all do it because of a perceived need. Whether it’s travel, business, or even romance (learning a partner’s language), there’s a concrete motivation.

A very few adults learn languages for the fun of it, or as a purely academic discipline, but in nearly all cases there’s a need. So why should we expect children to work any differently?

Many of my peers agree that creating a real need is vital for a language development and they give great suggestion on how to create one:

Ute Limacher-Riebold of ExpatSinceBirth:

“Children use the easiest strategy when it comes to languages. When they see that you understand and talk other languages that are more important at the moment (social environment, school, and friends) they will prefer those dominant languages. If the language you want them to use becomes more valuable, due to other people talking it, situations of full immersion or not sharing other languages with people they need to interact with, they’ll try to talk the language.”

Yzabeau On of Expat-Lang:

“The usefulness of the language is very important. A child will use a language if it is useful to him or her. I have teenager boys and they love interacting in the various languages they know. They play with them and I really enjoy that. Showing the usefulness of the languages, or what some people would call the need for them is what makes them enjoy those languages so much. Motivation is one thing, but if you do not see the need, or the usefulness, I feel it is not enough”

Annabelle Humanes of The Piri-Piri Lexicon:

“Create a need. To me, this is vital. There are many ways to do this: other kids speaking that language, full immersion, etc.”


MKB Guest Post 2

Cousins are perfect to practice heritage language.

Rita Rosenback of Multilingual Parenting:

  “The older the children are the more important it is to find something that creates a real need for them to use the language. Don’t compel, but make it compelling for them .”

Maria Babin of Trilingual Mama:

“I’d definitely agree with those who say you must create a real need if you would like your child to actively use your heritage language. This can be done through playgroups with others who speak the same heritage language, watching movies in the heritage language, as well as trips to the heritage country. Pen-pals and Skype work well too to create a need to communicate in that language. And of course books, lots of books, in the heritage language! Picture books when they’re little and chapter books as they grow. Books in subjects they are naturally interested in…”

A very good way to create a real need is to regularly connect your children with people who do not speak your kids’ majority language:

Becky Mladic Morales of KidWorldCitizen:

 “This is precisely my kids!!!!! If my kids know that they person does not speak English, all of a sudden they are fluent in Spanish! ha:)”

Amanda Ponzio Mouttaki of Marocmama:

 “One thing that we do is leave them with family that only speak one of the minority languages. This way they have no choice but to use it. For example we went to Finland for a week and the kids only spoke Arabic for that week. Wouldn’t you know their vocabulary had expanded in a big way in just that short time! We also try to get them to do things that interest them in the minority language like taking karate lessons from a teacher who speaks language 2 or 3 or playing games in a minority language.”


Reason # 2: Low Fluency and Vocabulary

As you can see now creating a real need is the fastest way to get to your bilingual destination. But what if you don’t live in the diverse community and meeting a stranger who speaks your language is almost equals meeting a family member?  (I know this feeling – I’ve been knocking on the shower door in the public pool because I’ve heard Russian speech behind it). In this case organizing play dates and regular interaction with your target language speakers is a pain, but there are still ways to keep up with your heritage language.

As Amanda Hsiung Blodgett of Miss Panda Chinese defined it:

“Vocabulary is a key building block for learning a language for all age groups. If a child does not have sufficient words/expressions to use in the target language s/he would very likely to switch to the community language or his/her most fluent language to communicate with us.  When my kids were younger (< 5 years old) I would interpret what they said to me in English into Mandarin Chinese. If they said it again in English I would repeat the same context again in Mandarin. Now my children are older (ages 8.10) and what I do the most is to expand their vocabulary in target language so they have sufficient words/phrases they need to tell me about what they have learned in science class, in social studies class, and other subjects they have at school. Sometimes I have to look up specific terms in Chinese for them but it helps them to use the target language as much as they can.”

Guest Post MKB

Word by word build your child’s vocabulary.

Here are some practical suggestions on how you can be improving children’s fluency on a daily basis:

Galina Nikitina of Raising A Trilingual Child:

“In order to keep a child interested in speaking / using minority language, his/her life in that language needs to be as rich and eventful as it is in the community language. The key is to keep developing child’s minority language in all areas of knowledge, evenly enriching his imaginational world in all of the languages.”

Aimee Schmitt Thompson of Raising World Citizens:

“My sons are native English speakers, but go to a French immersion school. On the playground or after school, they tend to speak English with their friends. To help keep up their French, we’ve tried to set up play dates with native French-speaking friends. We also try to attend French storylines or movie viewings that allow for discussion and interaction with the teachers and other participants. We’re also always on the lookout for any games, websites or apps that let them build their language skills.”

Ayesha Siddiqua of Words N Needles shares her tactics:

“I say, ‘sorry, what is that in *insert language*’. If he ignores and doesn’t listen, I ask his dad to translate.  We have nephews and nieces who do that a lot… that is what our family does.”


Reason #3: Lack of Consistency and Discipline

Every big success is made up of little successes, each building on the previous and compounding over time. Reaching your goals is achieved by the DAILY effort you put into what you do, not by some magic success formula, new miracle product, or new language dvd’s.

Whatever you do to raise your child bilingual – do it consistently. Creating habits helps to automate your interaction with a child so this way there is not even a question on why do we need to speak this language, read the books, practice writing etc.

Adriana Kröller of Changing Plate shared with us:

“My little on is only 10 months right now but I’m taking the same approach my mom used with me…I’m planning I never speaking anything but English to her no matter what she answers me back in. I think if you keep speaking it to them they will never forget it”

Diana Limongi Gabriele of LadydeeLG of gives us very practical advice on how to set up good bilingual habits:

“I actively correct Enzo when he answers me in English… today he said he wanted me to read the book in English… but the book was in Spanish. I mostly read only in Spanish. I try to put his cartoons in Spanish as well. His grandparents only speak in Spanish to him, that helps a lot. I think the best thing is travel, even if it is for a short amount of time.”


Reason #4: Peer Pressure and Lack of Pride

This is often the reason why your talkative bilingual teen all the sudden cuts down on interaction in the heritage language.

Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou of DariaMusic shares a perfect example:

“Wow – this happens all the time in Peru! Kids understand Quechua but don’t want to be caught speaking it. I think that parents and adults can be positive role models using both languages and including the kids in events and activities that encourage racial pride and make it fun. My relatives on the Jemez Pueblo did something different. They saw the kids using less and less “Towa”, the language of the pueblo. So they organized a kids drum group that sung in Towa and it became “super cool” to be part of this travelling group and to speak and sing in Towa. With Native American languages, language is all mixed up in unpleasant racial stereotypes, so I think we struggle a bit harder with this question.”

Anna Watt from Russian Step By Step told us:

“My daughter is 3.5 and we did not get to a point where she would refuse to speak Russian (minority language) but she definitely knows people who speak only Russian (like grandparents) who speak both (some of our local friends) and who only speak English and she will always chooses the language that the person uses to speak to her. Some of our Russian friends speak mostly Russian around her and that’s what she uses while other will mostly use English (although they speak Russian) and she will speak English to them unless asked or prompted to speak Russian. I totally agree that if it is useful and there is consistency she is totally fine speaking Russian. I have heard from a lot of friends that 10-11 is the age where it was getting harder to continue speaking Russian as the children wanted to be more like their peers and not differ from them.”

There is also a lot depends on parents enthusiasm towards the language.

Maria Babin of Trilingual Mama nailed it:

“A lot has to be said about the attitude of the parents towards the language. A little enthusiasm goes a long way as does encouraging all of our children’s efforts with minimal correcting and avoiding criticism”.

What Is Next?

OK, by now you probably realized what the reason is for your child being passive bilingual. I hope you will take steps to improve your language environment and will try most of the above suggestions. But what if your child still remains in a receptive bilingualism zone?

Relax. Enjoy your time with your kid with a peace in your heart that you are doing a lot to keep his/her language alive.

MKB Guest Post 3

Raising happy children is our ultimate goal.

All of the mentioned parents and researchers agree that passive bilingualism is a very useful skill and at some point can quickly turn into an active one with the right need. Who knows, maybe just in 8-10 years your son will meet the girl of his dream and will have a lot of motivation to use the language? Or your daughter will travel to the country where all the sudden speaking her second language will be vital?

And for the “dessert”, enjoy this inspiring story from Varya Sanina-Garmroud of Creative World Of Varya:

“ Recently I had a revelation – continue doing what you are doing: speaking, singing, reading to them and watching shows in your heritage language. At some point they will be put in a situation where they will realize how powerful this knowledge is and will naturally find a way to use the language. My mom was here this time for the birth of our 3rd. So my girls had no choice but to speak Russian to her. And I saw at some point my talkative 5 year old just started using more Russian than she ever did before and I heard her say words and phrases I had no clue she knew.”


Olena Centeno Avatar Small

Olena Centeno is a Ukrainian who lives in USA, a happy mom of three wonderful kids ages 2, 6 and 10 and a wife to the great man. She speaks three languages herself and is raising her kids to be multilingual in English, Russian, Ukrainian and Spanish. She founded Bilingual Kids Rock where she helps families on their bilingual journey. She also enjoys photography and video making as a way to preserve precious moments of life. You can connect with her at

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slvko pic 4I got fascinated in teaching art and great artists/artworks to my children since they were 3 and 4 years old. This coincided with taking the course “Making Thinking Visible” from Wideworld Harvard and I instantly fell in love with the idea of using art to understand children’s thinking and to make their learning “visible” not just in school but also at home.
What started as an idea to integrate art and thinking became a family experience at looking at artworks from famous artists and knowing the techniques used, perception of the artist and what was happening during that period.
After writing my post on Top 5 Reasons Why We Teach Our Kids ART at Home, I decided to share with you my Top 5 Ways in Teaching Culture Through Art. The previous day, I decided to go near to our family’s lineage and introduce a Serbian artist to my kids (and their Serbian friends). I showed them the works of Slavko Krunic, a Belgrade based illustrator/artist which got them excited because of their affinity to anything Serbian and at the same time his works are just so identifiable to children.

pic slavko 1
Here are the Top 5 Ways that I Use When Teaching Culture Through Art:
1) Use an artist or artwork that your child will connect with. It can be where the artist was born (so you can start with your own artists), it can be an artwork that talks about the current season, it can be an artist that uses specific colors or shapes that you are teaching to your child. It can be a lot of different reasons but what is important is it connects to your child to make the experience more meaningful. When I introduced Slavko’s artworks I asked the children where their father’s family came from. They got excited to know that what I will show to them is an artist from the same country that their grandparents were born and raised.
2) Begin with an end in mind. What are your reasons why you are teaching this particular art work or artist? Are there particular information about his/her country of origin, life story, or period when he/she was growing up that you would like to share with your child? Think of the concepts that you would like for your child to learn (is it related to geography? To history?). You can also think of the techniques and materials used by the artist in creating the artwork.
3) Use Visible thinking strategies when showing the artwork. Visible thinking strategies are a great way to create a culture of “thoughtfulness” at home. Some of the simple thinking routines to use are:
Color-Shapes-Lines- What colors do you see? What lines to do you see? What shapes do you see?
Compass Points- use this to talk about emotions that artworks elicit in children. Ask the question, how does this artwork make you feel? Follow it with the four compass points:
Need to Know- Do you know how your body reacts to happiness? Sadness? Anger?
Suggestions- How do you handle your anger? What do you do when you are sad?
Excited- What are the upsides of feeling happy? Feeling anger? Feeling sad?
Worrisome- What do you think of when you are angry? Sad? Bored?

making anger visible to children
4) Check in with your children how they understand the artwork or artist by using simple lines such as “what do you think of this artwork? What makes you say that?” . Expand on their learning based on their responses. You can also use a K-W-L chart by asking them “what do you know about…?”, “what would you like to know?” And after the activity ask them “what have you learned about…?”
5) Record- make their words visible by writing down what they are saying and what they think about the artist or the artwork. As much as possible write down their replies to the visible thinking questions that you posed on a separate sheet of paper.



group photoLana Jelenjev is a freelance educational consultant who recently got diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 37. She blogs about her activities with her children at Smart Tinker. Lana recently started writing about her musings on parenting at Goodness,Grace and Gratitude, as she navigates through a new territory of hospital visits, a whirlwind of feelings and in finding compassion as she battles breast cancer, a disease that her mom succumbed to at age 49. She advocates for the importance of early detection and encourages women to take part in her Breast Check Challenge.

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Read Around The World Summer Reading Series

50 days of summer with 50 multicultural recommendations from around the world!

As the summer comes to an end so does our  Read Around The World Summer Reading Series.   Multicultural bloggers (and friends)  from around the world have come together during this season to bring to us their favorite multicultural books for children, teens, and young adults.


I’m truly overjoyed when I look at the  Read Around The World Summer Reading Series and read the titles. Some are familiar multicultural children’s books, others are completely new that I’ll be sure to jot down to look for them in our local library.

If you’re like our bloggers (who love a good multicultural children’s book), you too will be amazed by the variety of diverse kid lit on culture, friendship, language, and life lessons that can be found in books from around the world in countries, such as:

  • China
  • Perú
  • East Turkestan
  • Mexico
  • West Africa/Caribbean
  • New Zealand
  • Japan
  • Canada
  • Cuba
  • South Africa
  • Russia
  • Chad
  • England
  • The Netherlands
  • Philippines
  • Kenya
  • Artic (Alaska)
  • East Africa
  • Republic of Georgia
  • Ghana
  • Argentina
  • Costa Rica
  • Lebanon
  • Korea
  • Bali

Although our summer reading series has come to an end you’ll always be able to find a diverse selection on good reads for you children here, and on our Pinterest board. Make sure to pin your favorite multicultural children’s book!

Last but not least, a huge thank you to all the participating bloggers for your wonderful recommendations! We can’t wait to see what you’ll have in store for next summer!

evansFrances is a part-time blogger, mommy and wife of a beautiful multicultural familia.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a certification in Human Resources.  She blogs about  heritage, culture, bilingualism, multicultural children’s books, and discovering the world through her son’s eyes.  You can follow her at Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes.

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Back to School Parenting Tips

Back to school: easing kids into a new school year

Like most parents in the Northern Hemisphere, easing my kids into a new school year has been on my mind lately. Starting the school year off right can go a long ways towards having happy kids who get more out of school! Today I am sharing some back to school parenting tips that apply whether you send your child to public school, private school, a cooperative school, or homeschool!

Parenting Tips for Back to School

Get Organized

My three school-age kids take lunch to school every day, and bring home papers every week. Add in homework, doctor’s appointments, and extracurricular activities and it is easy to feel overwhelmed! Do as much organization as possible before the school year starts, and reassess throughout the year to see if there are things you can streamline or that need reorganizing. If life feels too overwhelming, see if there are commitments you can remove from your life.

Set Expectations

Starting a new school year is much less stressful if kids know what to expect! Help them be prepared by setting expectations before the school year starts. What will their day look like? What can they learn about their teacher? Will any friends be in their class? Where are the bathrooms, and what are the rules about going to the bathroom?

Provide Down Time

A new school year means a lot of new experiences. Expectations change as children move into new grade levels, and it can be a lot to process. Making sure your child has some down time every day can reduce stress levels and helping them to adjust quickly to any changes.

Make Room for Fun

It can be hard to adjust from a fun, laid-back summer into school! Make sure that you still have time for fun as the school year starts! Little details help keep things light, from fun after school snacks to lunch box notes to family game nights and telling jokes around the dinner table.


School often makes life busier for the entire family, and that can mean fewer opportunities for communication. One easy way to maintain communication is by setting aside time each day – maybe at dinner or bedtime – to talk about what each family member liked about the day, and what they would change if they had a do-over.

What are your top tips for easing kids back into a new school year?

maryanne at mama smiles

MaryAnne was raised in the United States, Guatemala, France, Bolivia, and Austria. Her first daughter was born in Scotland, and she now lives with her husband and their four children in Silicon Valley, California. You can find MaryAnne writing about creativity, learning, and play at Mama Smiles – Joyful Parenting.

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Call for Bloggers: PLAYful Preschool Virtual Homeschool Group

Are you passionate about education?  Are your readers looking for a playful approach to homeschooling their preschoolers?

As part of our new Multicultural Kids Product Promotion Services, we are excited to announce a unique opportunity to review a virtual homeschool group designed specifically to support the preschool years.

PLAYful PreschoolHow to Participate

  1. Fill out the form below to register
  2. Write a post reviewing the PLAYful Preschool Virtual Homeschool Group
  3. Tweet and share via Facebook

That’s it!  In exchange, you will receive a FREE subscription to the PLAYful Preschool Virtual Homeschool Group for the 2014-2015 school year (September to May) for yourself or a friend once your promotion is complete.

DEADLINE to complete your promotion: September 26, 2014


About PLAYful Preschool Virtual Homeschool Group

This online group provides support for parents / teachers of children between the ages of 3 and 5.  Sometimes it is nice to have a group to bounce ideas off of.  To help motivate you to be your best.  It’s nice to hear what other parents are doing and what has (or hasn’t) worked for them.  If you are looking for a preschool support group – this is it!

This year, Amanda of The Educators’ Spin On It will be offering a support group to other like-minded parents who are also planning to homeschool their preschoolers.  Amanda offers the unique perspective of both an educator and a homeschooling parent.

Her teaching background may help you navigate academic and content area questions.  She has a Master in Reading Education K-12, B.A. in Elementary Education, National Board Certification, ESOL Endorsement, and classroom teaching experience.

Her parenting background will help show you what homeschooling is really like (behind the scene pictures that you won’t see on blogs). Best of all, other parents and teachers in the group will share their own wonderful ideas and support each other in their quest to provide a great playful education for their preschoolers.

Sign up using the form above to help promote this wonderful service!

If you do not have a blog to review, but would like to join in, membership is $29.95 for the entire school year (September to May) and can be purchased here.

Don’t miss our Hello, Bali World Book Tour, now through September 12!

If you are an author or company with a multicultural children’s product

Our Multicultural Kids Product Promotion Services offer you the opportunity to put your book or product in front of a like-minded audience – all over the world! The bloggers in our network are located on every continent and all focus on raising young world citizens. Our combined audience can be your audience. For more details, see our Multicultural Kids Product Promotion Services page.


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Global Education Begins at Home: 5 Tips to Raise World Citizens

Global Education Begins at Home: 5 Tips to Raise World Citizens | Multicultural Kid Blogs

The world today is beset by far-reaching and pressing issues of war, ethnic conflict, social inequality, and environmental destruction. Our children cannot grow up in a bubble; therefore, they must be given the tools necessary to not only cope with these worldwide problems, but to contribute in some way to the solutions.  As parents, we have a collective responsibility to raise good global citizens who can help lift the world out of the darkness of terror, poverty, intolerance, and pollution.

An introduction to the values of fairness, equity, empathy, conservation and peace can and should start early. Elementary schools generally do not engage students in any continuous or meaningful forms of global education curriculum. At most, teachers may dabble in global education by presenting a lesson focused on the comparison between cultural and religious traditions during the holidays.

Even if primary schools were more successful in the implementation of global education programs, it would not be enough. Exposure to the concept of global connectedness must begin at home and before kids enter kindergarten.  This will help provide young children with the ability to develop an appreciation of other cultures, a respect for diversity, a strong sense of compassion and an understanding of the importance of sustainable living.

There are many ways to begin (and to enrich) global education efforts at home. Here are some of my favorites:

Plant Maps and Globes All Over the House

My boys have had a world atlas map perched upon the wall over their beds since they were babies. It serves as a great reference tool to pinpoint locations mentioned in books and stories.  It also comes in handy when we are discussing everything from world cultures and global events, to ecosystems and wildlife.

We have a few globes and countless kids’ atlas books and guides lying around the house. National Geographic has a great selection of map books and atlases at every education level. They are filled with loads of fascinating information about places all around the world.  As children mature and become ready to delve into discussions about global issues, a good foundation in world geography will help them link important geographical sites with significant current and historical events.

Seek Out Opportunities to Enthusiastically Explore Other Cultures

I threw in the adverb “enthusiastically” here because I have found that ever since my kids were little, they would mirror my mood and energy level when I would speak to them about any topic. For example, if I casually, and without zeal, mention to my kids that we are going to a local culture festival, then they really don’t show much interest. On the other hand, if look them in the eyes and I explain to them in a spirited and passionate manner why a trip to this culture festival will be an awesome experience, then their interest is piqued.  If I go on excitedly about how we will be able to view unique crafts and artwork, hear vibrant music and taste some exotic foods, then they are psyched and can’t wait to get there! Setting a good example by sincerely appreciating and valuing other cultures makes a positive and long-lasting impact.

Empower Kids with Environmental Expertise

Now more than ever people have to learn the basics of sustainable living. Parents must do their part by teaching kids about how to be good stewards of the Earth.  A great way to start is by educating them about limited natural resources, and about how recycling and composting help to ensure our planet’s sustainability. Green living is another opportunity for parents to set a good example by leading the way. Teach children how to recycle and compost properly so that they can use those skills throughout their lives.

Joining a community garden provides children with excellent global learning opportunities.  Community gardening is one of those things that seems to bring out the best in people.  Kids will witness complete strangers from different backgrounds working together for a common purpose. Participants peacefully work together to make the most productive, healthy and sustainable use of a plot of land. My children enjoy getting their hands dirty and performing the duties necessary to maintain their garden plots – pulling weeds, shoveling composted soil into wooden plot frames, planting and harvesting.

Volunteer in the Local and Global Community

Let your kids see you show a genuine interest in helping others in need. There are many opportunities on both local and global levels. One way is to reach out to your local homeless services organization and learn about ways to volunteer or donate. As a fun family project we recently put together care kits (containing personal hygiene items, healthy snacks and uplifting notes), and distributed them to homeless individuals around our city.

On the global front, we have connected with a primary school in India which serves underprivileged children.  Through monthly Skype calls, my boys speak with the students and share stories and information about their culture and daily lives. We’ve exchanged culture boxes with them, as well. The students and my children truly enjoy making this global connection. They are thrilled to learn about their cultural differences, as well as discovering the ways in which they are similar.

Reaching out to other communities around the world promotes multicultural awareness. It also provides an easy way to connect children to others in the global community, and to help them see beyond their everyday life. This prepares kids to engage in, and to become productive members of an interconnected world with greater ease.

Teach Kids Empathy and Compassion

In a post about the importance of teaching young children about empathy and compassion, I listed the following five ways parents can cultivate these virtues:

  1. Show unconditional love to your children, so that they are immersed in empathy and compassion, and so that they know that you love them and accept them for who they are as unique individuals.
  2. Be a role model and show compassion and empathy towards others so that your kids can see it in action. A parent might say, “Your brother seems upset. Let’s ask him what we can do to help him.” Or “Dad hurt his back. Let’s ask him if we can get him an ice pack to make him feel better.”
  3. Reduce exposure to violent film, television programs and video games, and discuss why violence and bullying is wrong.
  4. Teach your kids how to be peacemakers by encouraging others in conflict to listen to each other in mutually respectful and productive ways.
  5. Give kids opportunities to practice compassion and empathy.

Once children begin to develop their senses of empathy and compassion, they are better able to understand that, although people may have differences of opinion, they also have common emotions, needs and wants. This is one of the best ways to help a child to become a good global citizen as it will prepare them to serve in a leadership role assisting others to work together to solve global problems and bring about meaningful change for a better future.

Please share the ways in which you incorporate global education into your children’s lives.


Jill is the founder of, a website dedicated to helping parents and educators foster global awareness within children so that they may grow up with a meaningful understanding and appreciation of diversity and become good global citizens.

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Art Around The World Series: Top 5 Reasons Why We Teach Art at Home

Ever since moving to the Netherlands I got interested in art. Who wouldn’t be when surrounded with so much beauty and wonderful art works and I am not only referring to paintings in museums. I see art daily, from the way the houses are built, the statues found on the streets, the paintings hung on waiting rooms and offices. Not to mention the graffiti on the walls or the posters that can be found on each bus stop and almost every corner.

Being in the Netherlands afforded me the chance to see art in a different perspective. Back in the Philippines there is just too many hustle and bustle in the daily grind that I didn’t get the chance to stop and pause on what is going on around me. Being a stay-home mom with two small children, art became one of our family’s go-to activities.

Here are Top 5 reasons why we teach our kids art at home:
1) We get to introduce the seasons in a different perspective. Artists have one thing in common – their art is largely influenced by the world around them. The changing of the seasons are painted so majestically by a lot of famous artists. The works of Claude Monet and the haystack paintings attest to that. Looking at these artworks help them appreciate and notice details. It also helps children understand that there is a season for everything – birth, growth, blossoming and yes even death.

art around the world katie


2) We get to introduce cultural differences. How did people dress during those times? How did people live? Why did Picasso have his “Blue period”? Why are the paintings so dark? Why are the paintings about angels? Why did they paint mostly portraits? Why mostly scenery? Why paint a can of mushroom soup? There’s quite a lot of learning involved when you show paintings from different eras. The comparison between the time before and the time now is an important lesson for young children. It showed them to look at what people valued and are experiencing at that time. This appreciation with “what was” has also given them a point of reference in valuing what they have now.


3) We teach Art because it’s a good way to teach math. Do you see the patterns? Do you see the lines? Do you see the shapes? Have you looked at Mondrian’s art? Or Escher? The contrast between the two is fascinating but both of them explored shapes and lines and the balance of both. It also teaches symmetry like the Notan designs of the Japanese. Both balance and symmetry are elusive concepts, even as adults we are trying to understand them. At least they are off to an early start in finding out what balance an symmetry entails.

tinker workshop notan design

4) We teach art to show them different techniques in making and producing art. Pointilissm technique as seen from the works of Seurat became a big topic with our kids. His most famous painting “A Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte” is a 200 cm in height and 600 cms in width painting made up of colourful tiny dots. How can you do a painting so big with just using the tips? Must have taken a lot of patience they said. Actually doing it on their own gave them a sense of that patience. Now they learned the value of hard work in creating something.


5) We teach art because it teaches children perspective. Perspective taking is one of the essential life skills that children need to learn. Art teaches them to look at things deeper, sometimes deeper than what is visibly seen by the eye. When we talked about Romero Britto’s artwork, I used the thinking routine “Step inside: Perceived, Cared about, Know about” in looking at his artwork “The New Day”. I asked them what do they think Romero thought of when he painted it, what was he passionate about? What did he like doing the most? What else did they know about Romero Britto (and our children’s books about famous artists came in handy with topics such as this). It was interesting to hear about the children’s replies and how they were able to point out it was about “sunshine”. Looking at art gives children the power to look at things from a different perspective. It makes them look at the person who made the work and it also makes them look at how they feel towards specific artworks. It also makes them understand that what they see can be different from somebody else and that is totally ok. One can look at the same thing but see things differently from the angle that you are looking at it, or see it based from one’s own experiences. Either way, it’s understanding that we can share differences in perspective and respect each other that is the most important.

romero britto

These are just a few of what children learn when exploring art and why it is important for families to get involved in teaching it. Watch out more for posts on the different art around the world and what children are exploring, learning and understanding through it.

Lana Jelenjev is a freelance educational consultant who recently got diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 37. She blogs about her activities with her children at Smart Tinker and just recently started writing about her musings on parenting as she navigates through a new territory of hospital visits, a whirlwind of feelings and in finding compassion as she battles cancer, a disease that her mom succumbed to at age 49. She advocates for the importance of early detection and encourages women to take part in her Breast Check Challenge.

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Science Fiction and Fantasy For Children

Science Fiction and Fantasy for Children: Why they are great books for kids and perfect for raising world citizens!I must admit I am a little bit of a geek. But as Wil Wheaton has put it, “being a geek is about what you love”, and I second his definition wholeheartedly. The thing I love most is books. Books in all shapes, sizes, written in all kinds of styles. I love them all and hardly have I ever quit on a book. And fantasy and science fiction are among my very favourite genres.

Surprised? I know that they’re often not considered “real” literature. Especially fantasy is often laughed at for talking about fairies and wizards and dragons, while sci-fi has at least the word “science” in it which generally makes it the more approved genre.

I however really think that all children – and our little global citizens specifically – should read these books. Why? Here are at least some reasons. I am sure there are more.

1)      Interest in other cultures

The cool thing about fantasy and science fiction is that they tell stories about worlds that don’t exist. It takes some imagination to write about something that isn’t reality. Many characters in the books are not human. I guess after you’ve talked to someone from another planet, meeting someone from another culture isn’t so scary. Additionally, a lot of fantasy is about Otherness. Sometimes, it’s scary, like the Others in George R. R. Martin’s A Song Of Ice And Fire. Sometimes it gives you additional powers, like the Others in Sergey Lukyanenko “Night Watch” series. But look closely and you will see the “other” motive more clearly.

2)      Interest in other languages

The writers who write sci-fi and fantasy not only have to invent a whole new world with consistent and reasonable rules, they also have to think of a language- and sometimes even multiple languages to go with the world. Tolkien himself was interested in languages and considered them a foundation of his work. The whole “Lord of the Rings” trilogy features at least 3 of them. The “A Song Of Ice And Fire” series, better known as “A Game Of Thrones”, features at least 5. There is an interesting point about making the TV series because the author hasn’t considered how Dothraki would actually sound, and they made a whole new language just for the series! It’s not the first time a new language was invented when a film was made out of a sci-fi or fantasy film. But it can also foster interest in existing languages: I personally know at least one person who learned Finnish because it’s the closest language to Elfish! Also, if your native tongue isn’t English, you soon will find yourself get bored with waiting for the books to get translated and will read the original- that’s how my brother read the Harry Potter books. And did you know that the town of Sto Lat in Terry Pratchett’s novels was named after a Polish birthday song- Sto Lat means, “Hundred Years”!

3)      Learning about the world

Many fantasy books are based on real historical events, countries and persons. For example, the Wall in George R. R. Martin’s “A Song Of Ice Fire” reminds me of the Great Wall of China, GRRM himself said that “ASOIAF” was based on the War of the Roses in Medieval England. Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Series is seemingly a book about wizards, witches and dwarves, but in fact each instalment to the series tells a different story based on real events. One for example is about feminism (“Equal Rites”), another is about the history of Rock Music (“Soul Music”), or even about the history of the cinema (“Moving Pictures”)!

4)      Reading books from other cultures

Both fantasy and Science fiction are actually quite diverse. For example, if you watched the movie, “Solaris” you may not have known that the book the film was based on was written by Polish writer Stanisław Lem (the “ł” is pronounced like “w” in “window”). Additionally, fantasy or sci-fi in one culture is not the same in another. For example, Polish anti-hero Jakub Wędrowycz is an exorcist, he drinks spirit that he brews himself and he is a character you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley. And the “Night Watch” series by Sergiey Lukyanenko will give you a totally different idea about what Twilight is- in the books, it’s a different level of reality that only Others can access.

5)      Gateway to other literature

I know that sci-fi or fantasy is not exactly considered “great” literature. But it could get your child started on reading. And besides, some of the sci-fi and fantasy authors are very fine writers! The cool thing about this genre is that it can get you started in many directions: from history books, through great literature (consider, for example, the Arthurian tales) and other books!

6)      Forming a sense of belonging

Sci-fi and fantasy have a strong loyal community worldwide. Global Citizens and TCK’s often feel out of place, but maybe their interest in this genre can give them a sense of belonging. I think it’s amazing that a common interest brings together people from different countries who don’t necessarily speak each other’s languages. In fact, sci-fi and fantasy are often read by people who feel they don’t belong anywhere but find support and friends through their hobby. These books often turn into something more: an opportunity to get together, play games, talk about common interests and have fun.

7)      Books for all kinds of readers

Not only readers of various languages will appreciate these great books. Readers of all ages will too. While many sci-fi or fantasy books are written with an older audience in mind (young adults to adults), children can enjoy them too- I think they’re so much better than the traditional fairy tales! A great example is Neil Gaiman’s “Fortunately, The Milk” (the photo above shows it in Polish), that can be read to children as young as 5 or 6. The Harry Potter series is meant for slightly older children (except maybe for the later books that are scarier).

There is more to sci-fi and fantasy than aliens, wizards and magic. It’s actually a great literary genre and I believe everybody will benefit from reading them, especially children. I can’t wait to introduce my own kids to all these magical worlds!

The European MamaOlga Mecking is a translator, blogger, writer and trainer in intercultural communication. She blogs at The European Mama and writes about her expat life, raising multilingual children, life in Europe, and general parenting topics. Olga also enjoys cooking, baking and reading books. You can find Olga on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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