Picture it in Books – Our Multicultural World

  • Published on March 19, 2021

Picture it in Books – Our Multicultural World

One of the things that brings most joy to our world, that inspires imagination and sparks creativity, is variety. The richness of our multicultural world is to be celebrated and the current recognition of the need for diverse picture books in which children from every culture and family background can find themselves is long overdue. The collection, though still small, is growing.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCBD) is an organisation that has been promoting multicultural children’s books for the past nine years. Founded by Valarie Budayr from Audrey Press Books and Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom in 2012, MCBD has a mission ‘To raise awareness for children’s books that celebrate diversity by getting more of these books into classrooms and libraries. This non-profit also strives to shine the spotlight on the diverse books and authors that often get overlooked by mainstream publishing and media.’

On the last Friday of January each year, Multicultural Children’s Book Day is celebrated with reviews, promotions and other events. I have been delighted to join in the celebration of multicultural books by sharing reviews for the past three MCBDays.

A review of I am Farmer for Multicultural Book Day

I participated for the first time in 2019 with a review of I am Farmer by Baptiste and Miranda Paul with illustrations by Elizabeth Zunon.

I Am Farmer is the story of Tantoh Nforba, an environmental hero in the central African nation of Cameroon. Tantoh was bullied as a child and nicknamed ‘Farmer’ for his interest in plants, the earth and nature. He now bears the name ‘Farmer’ proudly as he improves the lives of people in his own community, and others, by improving access to clean water and establishing productive gardening practices.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2020

In 2020, I reviewed two books: The Secrets Hidden Beneath the Palm Tree written by Angeliki Stamatopoulou-Pederson and illustrated by Tety Swlou, and Ribbon’s Traveling Castle by Elizabeth Godley with illustrations by Paige M. Leyh.

The Secrets Hidden Beneath the Palm Tree is about Jacob who hears with the assistance of hearing aids. Jacob tells his friends how the aids help him hear better, just as glasses help people see better. He explains what they (the children) can do to help him hear and understand them better. As children’s understanding grows, so does their friendship.

Ribbon’s Traveling Castle is the story of a girl called Ribbon whose father was uncomfortable with the constantly changing world. He hitched their castle to a truck to take her somewhere happier. On their travels, Ribbon meets a cast of characters, all of whom are scared of changed. She invites them into her castle where they learn to accept change and find that life can still be fun.

This year, I once again had the pleasure of reviewing two books:

Learning about Gender Pronouns on Multicultural Children’s Book Day #ReadYourWorld Today, the last Friday in January, is Multicultural Children’s Book Day. I am delighted to participate once again by spreading the word about Multicultural children’s books. In this post I review the picture book Jamie and Bubbie, recently published by Free Spirit Publishing and gifted to me to review. About Jamie and Bubbie Jamie and Bubbie, A Book about People’s Pronouns was written by Afsaneh Moradian and illustrated by Maria Bogade. In a gentle way, it introduces children and adults to the appropriate use of pronouns when another’s gender is unknown. Jamie loves his great grandmother Bubbie and, when she comes for a visit they go for a walk around the neighbourhood. On the way, they meet some friends and strangers. In her references to or about the people, Bubbie often uses an inappropriate pronoun. Jamie gently explains why the pronoun is inappropriate and what she could use instead. What I like about this book Jamie and Bubbie is a book for our times, and a necessary one. It not only educates us adults about the appropriate use of people’s pronouns, it helps us explain them to children in simple language and easy-to-understand ways. I like Jamie’s gentle and tactful approach, and also that it is the child who is do the explaining to great grandma in the book. However, even more than that, I like the notes for teachers, parents and caregivers in the back of the book. The notes explain the importance of using the names and pronouns that individuals choose to use about themselves. They include suggestions for finding out those pronouns and what to use if you don’t know them. Advice for discussing pronouns with children is also provided as are suggested sources of further information. I think the information provided in this book is important for all of us to know. About Multicultural Children’s Book Day Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2021 (1/29/21) is in its 8th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those book into the hands of young readers and educators. Eight years in, MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves continues. Read about our Mission & History HERE. [join the MCBD celebration] MCBD 2021 is honored to be Supported by these Medallion Sponsors! FOUNDER’S CIRCLE: Mia Wenjen (Pragamaticmom) and Valarie Budayr’s (Audreypress.com) Platinum Sponsors: Language Lizard Bilingual Books in 50+ Languages, Author Deedee Cummings and Make A Way Media Gold Sponsors: Barefoot Books, Candlewick Press, Capstone, Hoopoe Books, KidLitTV, Peachtree Publishing Company Inc. Silver Sponsors: Charlotte Riggle, Connecticut Association of School Librarians, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Pack-N-Go Girls Bronze Sponsors: Agatha Rodi and AMELIE is IMPRESSED!, Barnes Brothers Books, Create and Educate Solutions, LLC, Dreambuilt Books, Dyesha and Triesha McCants/McCants Squared, Redfin Real Estate, Snowflake Stories, Star Bright Books, TimTimTom Bilingual Personalized Books, Author Vivian Kirkfield, Wisdom Tales Press, My Well Read Child MCBD 2021 is honored to be Supported by these Author Sponsors! Poster Artist: Nat Iwata Authors: Author Afsaneh Moradian, Author Alva Sachs & Three Wishes Publishing Company, Author Angeliki Stamatopoulou-Pedersen, Author Anna Olswanger, Author Casey Bell , Author Claudine Norden, Author Debbie Dadey, Author Diana Huang & Intrepids, Author Eugenia Chu & Brandon goes to Beijing, Green Kids Club, Author Gwen Jackson, Author Janet Balletta, Author Josh Funk, Author Julia Inserro, Karter Johnson & Popcorn and Books, Author Kathleen Burkinshaw & The Last Cherry Blossom, Author Keila Dawson, Maya/Neel Adventures with Culture Groove, Author Mia Wenjen, Michael Genhart, Nancy Tupper Ling, Author Natalie Murray, Natalie McDonald-Perkins, Author Natasha Yim, Author Phe Lang and Me On The Page Publishing, Sandra Elaine Scott, Author Shoumi Sen & From The Toddler Diaries, SISSY GOES TINY by Rebecca Flansburg and B.A. Norrgard, Susan Schaefer Bernardo & Illustrator Courtenay Fletcher, Tales of the Five Enchanted Mermaids, Author Theresa Mackiewicz, Tonya Duncan and the Sophie Washington Book Series, Author Toshia Stelivan, Valerie Williams-Sanchez & The Cocoa Kids Collection Books©, Author Vanessa Womack, MBA, Author Veronica Appleton & the Journey to Appleville book series MCBD 2021 is Honored to be Supported by our CoHosts and Global CoHosts! MCBD 2021 is Honored to be Supported by these Media Partners! Check out MCBD's Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board! [Multicultural Children's Book Day poster] FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day Diversity Book Lists & Activities for Teachers and Parents Homeschool Diverse Kidlit Booklist & Activity Kit FREE Teacher Classroom Activism and Activists Kit FREE Teacher Classroom Empathy Kit FREE Teacher Classroom Kindness Kit FREE Teacher Classroom Physical and Developmental Challenges Kit FREE Teacher Classroom Poverty Kit Gallery of Our Free Posters FREE Diversity Book for Classrooms Program TWITTER PARTY! Register here! [Multicultural Children's Book Day twitter party] Join us on Friday, Jan 29, 2021, at 9 pm EST for the 8th annual Multicultural Children's Book Day Twitter Party! This epically fun and fast-paced hour includes multicultural book discussions, addressing timely issues, diverse book recommendations, & reading ideas. We will be giving away an 8-Book Bundle every 5 minutes plus Bonus Prizes as well! *** US and Global participants welcome. ** Follow the hashtag #ReadYourWorld to join the conversation, connect with like-minded parts, authors, publishers, educators, organizations, and librarians. See you all very soon on Twitter! Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

Jamie and Bubbie, A Book about People’s Pronouns was written by Afsaneh Moradian and illustrated by Maria Bogade.

Jamie and Bubbie is a book for our times. In a gentle way, it introduces children and adults to the appropriate use of pronouns when another’s gender is unknown. It is explained in simple language and easy-to-understand ways. I like Jamie’s gentle and tactful approach, and also that it is the child who does the explaining to great grandma in the story.

Plan to Follow Your Dreams on Multicultural Children’s Book Day with Kayla a Modern-Day Princess

Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess was written by Deedee Cummings and illustrated by Charlene Mosley.

Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess  was inspired by the life of Deedee’s own daughter, Broadway actress Kayla Pecchioni. Kayla’s mum tells Kayla that plans give you hope and hope gives you dreams. When Kayla’s mum earns a promotion for which she worked hard, Kayla realises that the world is a magical place and that, with a plan, she too can make her dreams come true.

Multicultural picture books - a selection from my bookshelf

In 2019, I also interrogated my own bookshelves for multicultural picture books and was surprised at how few I found. I am pleased to say that more have been added since then.

Multicultural Children's Book Day logo

Fortunately, if you are looking for multicultural books, you don’t have to rely on my few reviews or wait for Multicultural Children’s Book Day. The MCBD website is a treasure trove all year long.

If you follow this link to the Multicultural Children’s Book Day website, you will find a list of hundreds of diverse children’s books (picture books, middle grade and YA) that were reviewed as part of MCBD this year. Scroll through the sixteen pages of 381 reviews that are mostly listed by cover and linked to the review to easily find a book about a topic you are looking for.

If that is not enough books to choose from, listed below the 2021 reviews, are reviews from previous years.

As stated above, the MCBD website is a treasure trove for teachers and parents. I suggest you set aside some time to explore it fully. There is a lot of interesting information and many free resources are available under the tab Reading Resources. There is also information about receiving free diverse books for your school or to review. I’m sure you will find the suggestions and resources of enormous benefit as you strive to include more diverse books in your classrooms and schools.

readilearn teaching resources for the first three years of school

Remember to check out the complete readilearn collection of

over 450 teaching resources for the first three years of school
Resources beyond worksheets – lessons for teachers made by teachers.
Let readilearn lighten your workload.

 

Browse resources now

If you haven’t already, follow @readilearn on Twitter and readilearnteachingresources on Instagram and like the readilearnteachingresources Facebook page.

I appreciate your feedback and comments. Please share your thoughts below.

Follow Blog By Email

Enter your email address to receive notifications of new readilearn posts by email and stay up to date with new resources.

 


Comments

    I am Farmer is an inspirational story. I was pleased to receive it to review. MCBD is a wonderful endeavour and I am very happy to be part of it.

    It is great, Jim. What’s even better is that the resources are available all year long. 🙂

Please share your thoughts. I love it when you do.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: