Dinner Table Talks create the opportunity for families to have important conversations centered around books. These discussions will build our capacity for talking about race and define our roles in fighting against both every day and systemic racism.
A young American girl is asked by her teacher, her classmates, and her friends’ parents where she’s from. Despite consistently telling the world that she is, in fact, from here – like everyone else – she is then met with the follow-up question, “Where are you really from?” Disheartened by her peers’ questions and responses, she decides to ask her abuelo for advice, since he, too, “looks like he doesn’t belong.” He shares stories of their roots and how their family is tied to the magnificence of the earth. This short yet poignant picture book perfectly captures the themes of identity, belonging, and acceptance, while also reminding readers of all ages that everywhere is our home....especially within each other's hearts.
WHERE ARE YOU FROM? | Storytime with Yamile Saied Méndez
Guidelines for Discussion
Be open and honest--even when it's hard.
Understand your own prejudice and bias.
Embrace other cultures or races by reading books, watching movies and going to community events.
Celebrate yourself and your own cultural identity.
Don't shy away from conversations about race. Talking is how you build capacity for anti-racism.
Acknowledge your mistakes and learn from them.
It's okay not to know the answer. Look for it together.
What was your favorite illustration or favorite part of the book?
How do you think the girl in the story felt when everyone asked "Where are you from?" After she told them that she was from here, how do you think she felt when they still asked "Where are you really from?"
The girl in the story shared her feelings with her abuelo. Who would you talk to if you were trying to figure something out?
What do you know about where your family is from? Ask the grown-ups in your family questions to find out more.
Think about your friends--the ones that look like you and the ones that don't. Can you think about what things you have in common--do you like the same flavor of ice cream, have the same number of siblings, love to sing the same song or do you both play soccer? What things are different--does your family look different or do you like different vegetables? Are you good at art and they are better at music?
After talking with her abuelo, how do you think the girl feels?
How could you get to know a new friend without asking questions that might make them feel uncomfortable or like they don't belong?
Older Children (3rd Grade & Older)
Do you have a favorite character, image or moment in the story?
The girl in the story shared her feelings with her abuelo. Who do you trust to give you advice or help you figure things out?
Has someone ever asked you "Where are you from?" or have you ever asked someone that question? If you were asked the question, can you share how it made you feel? If you ever asked the question, can you imagine how it made the person you asked feel?
Questions like "Where are you from?" can make people feel like they don't belong. The question says there is something about you that's different. If you heard someone being asked that question, what would you do?
Using the book's text as a model, can you write about where your family is from? (If you don't know or only have a few details, ask one of the adults in your family for more information.) Please share what you wrote with each other.
Learning about your family is a privilege. Listen to or read this story from Wisconsin Public Radio. Why do you think that some people in America have trouble tracing their family tree?
How do you think you can get to know someone without asking questions that might make them feel uncomfortable or like they don't belong?
Want to continue the conversation? Need more resources about race?