Capstone Young Readers provided me with these books, however, they are my own opinions and honest reviews of the books. Thank you to the Children’s Book Council for their contribution and support to Multicultural Children’s Book Day.
What is Multicultural Children’s Book Day?
This year, Multicultural Children’s Book Day is officially celebrated on January 27. On that day, organizations, authors, and bloggers from around the world are uniting for one mission:
Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day, Mia Wenjen (Pragmatic Mom) and Valerie Budayr (Jump Into a Book/Audrey Press) are on a mission to change all of that. Their mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these types of books into classrooms and libraries. Another goal of this exciting event is create a compilation of books and favorite reads that will provide not only a new reading list for the winter, but also a way to expose brilliant books to families, teachers, and libraries.
Why Do Our Children Need Diverse Books?
If you are considered a minority and a parent, like myself, you can probably relate when I say finding uplifting, fun, and beautiful picture books that include images of children of all ethnicities is not the easiest task. Finding images of children of all ethnicities is important to me because I want my daughters to read beautiful books and be able to see themselves, their family, and their friends in the pictures, with no race excluded. As an elementary student, I first fell in love with reading because I was introduced to books that included characters that looked like me. Their story sounded similar to my life. When I realized these books existed, I wanted to read MORE! Books must be interesting and reflect our world. The hashtag campaign, #READYOURWORLD, is so fitting, because that is exactly what I am encouraging my daughters to do.
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Author: Jacqueline Jules Illustrator: Kim Smith
This book is comprised of three short stories, with Sofia Martinez as the main character, and the importance of family and working together as the theme for all of the stories. Sofia and her family are Hispanic and have big fun and big hearts. Sofia enjoys stirring up just a little trouble with her big ideas and imagination. She is a typical girl who just wants to have fun. What I love most about Jacqueline Jules’ writing in this book is both the english and spanish languages are intertwined and put into its own language, something I like to call “spanglish”. If you do not know much spanish, do not worry, a glossary is included in the book.
Activity: Have your child/student choose an elder in their family that they would like to do kind things for once a week, for one month. Encourage them to make small gestures (i.e. sending a “Thinking of You Card”, sitting with them for an hour, helping them clean their house, etc.).
Author & Illustrator: Floyd Cooper
Mazie is a young African-American girl who does not know much about the history of African-Americans. Her grandfather shares stories with her, passing history down from one generation to another. He tells her of the victory over slavery that African-Americans experienced and the celebration they commemorated to celebrate such an occasion, Juneteenth. Mazie learns that since rising above slavery, African-Americans have continued to rise decade after decade, including in the last decade with America elected its first African-American president and family into the White House. Mazie learns to celebrate who she is but to always remember the struggles and accomplishments of those before her.
Activity: Do you know your history? Create a family tree that goes as far back as you can possibly think. Need some help? Talk to an elder from your family to get the details that you do not know. Remember, your local library can help you in your search of genealogical information too!
Author: Patti Kim Illustrator: Sonia Sánchez
This picture book is just that–a wordless picture book. Initially I thought it would be a challenge to correctly interpret the author’s work, but because of Sonia Sánchez’s illustrations, it was quite easy to allow my mind to open and understand what the story was about.
In Here I Am, a young boy is apprehensive about a move that he and his family are making; the move from Asia to New York City. Once in the states, the young boy is still not thrilled about his new home. Small items, like his little red bouncy ball help him to reminisce about his native land, which comforts him. One day his red ball falls out of a window and he is determined to find out where it goes. This takes him on a journey of discovering his new neighborhood and ultimately making a new friend.
Activity: Ask your child or student what one item they would want to take with them if they were told they had to leave their home. Have them draw their answer and explain why they would choose the item.
Search social media with #ReadYourWorld to find more MCCBD books and activities.
MCCBD 2015 Event Sponsors
Bronze Sponsors:Double Dutch Dolls, Bliss Group Books, Snuggle with Picture Books Publishing, Rainbow Books, Author FeliciaCapers, Chronicle Books Muslim Writers Publishing , East West Discovery Press
Click HERE for List of Event Co-Hosts5