New Children’s Book by MSAP Leader Encourages Self-discovery and Fosters Appreciation for Diversity
Posted on 09/19/2023
Dr. Etter in class with students

Dr Etter reading in class with early learning students

When you are given rainbow crayons and asked to color in a self-portrait, which color do you choose? Are you blue, green, or pink?

At our Early Learning Centers, students were asked to do just that. They colored an illustration of their classmates using the rainbow colors. The next day, students colored a new sheet using multicultural crayons that matched their skin tones.

Here’s what we heard when Pre-K students were asked afterwards, “What do you see?”

“I see a family!”

“I see me!”

“This looks like my friend Lucas!” Illustrated cutout of the book character Nuri

The activity was inspired by a new book, “Nuri, Nuri, What Do You See?”written by Dr. ReGina Etter and illustrated by Idowu Abayomi. Etter is the director of nine grant-funded magnet schools at MNPS and writes books that support the mission of the Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP): to support desegregation by bringing innovative, hands-on, career-focused themes to the curriculum. 

Her newest literary work serves as a mirror to the district’s diverse population, affirming every student's visibility and significance in school and the world.

Celebrating Differences that Make Us Beautiful

In the book, the character Nuri sees a crayon that looks like her, but so do her classmates from all places across the globe.

MNPS students speak more than 167 languages across 130 schools - so the book speaks to our diverse population and adds a book to students’ home libraries with characters that reflect themselves.

The book launch took place September 15 at the district’s Early Learning Centers to celebrate the start of Hispanic Heritage Month. The month honors the achievements, contributions, culture and history of Hispanic and Latin American people. The 15th of September commemorates the anniversary of the independence of five Latin American countries.

The goal of “Nuri, Nuri” is to celebrate various cultures and differences that make us beautiful - not for one month, but year-round. Nuri will be translated into the five most commonly spoken languages at MNPS so that families and students can use this resource. English, Arabic and Spanish versions of the book are available through this request form, as well as a printout of the coloring activity to complete at home.

After introducing the newest children’s book to Casa Azafrán Early Learning Center, Principal Lily Leffler pointed out a large map in the school’s hallway, noting the dozens of countries her students are from.

“Isn’t this amazing,” Leffler said. “And this is what ‘Nuri, Nuri, what do you see?’ is about too.”

More Books to Learn from and Schools to Explore

Check out Etter’s other books, “Techie Tiger","Meet Carter Lawrence the Little Engineer,” and “Alex Green has a Dream Team.” “Alex Green has a Dream Team” focuses on female “firsts,” and all the books introduce students to career paths and new vocabulary.

And learn more about MSAP Magnet Schools, open to all students in Davidson County. As part of the MSAP initiative, we extend an invitation to families to explore their local schools and embrace the value of promoting diversity and equity within our classrooms.

Nuri Nuri book illustration of two students

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