It is once again time for the Multicultural Children’s Book Day. I was honored to participate in this event last year and am thrilled to be a part this year.
When I go through the books that we read, we actually read a ton of books that fall into the multicultural category, but I know that we are not the norm. The founders of the Multicultural Children’s Book Day actually say the following as their mission statement:
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 and Valarie 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.
The amazing MCCBD team has the following message: ” We hope to spread the word and raise awareness about the importance of diversity in children’s literature. Our young readers need to see themselves within the pages of a book and experience other cultures, languages, traditions and religions within the pages of a book. We encourage readers, parents, teachers, caregivers and librarians to follow along the fun book reviews, author visits, event details, a multicultural children’s book linky and via our hashtag #ReadYourWorld) on Twitter and other social media.”
I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of The Olive Tree by Elsa Marston from Wisdom Tales Press. We have read a number of books from this publishing company and I am always impressed. This one was one of their better ones with stunning artwork.
The story is about two children who have to learn how to share together and work together. It also is about understanding what a family goes through after they have to leave their home due to being “different.”
The house next door to Sameer’s had been empty for as long as he could remember. The family had gone away when the war began. But now they were back, and he was ready to have fun with his new playmate. Together they could climb the big olive tree that overlooked both their gardens, and eat the delicious olives it produced. The only problem was that Muna, the little girl next door, didn’t want to play and she didn’t want to share the olives. She said they belonged to her family alone—that is, until one fateful night when lightning struck the tree.
Both of my girls enjoyed reading this book. When I talked to J about it, she definitely got the message about sharing. She had a harder time comprehending the fact that Muna probably felt bitter at having to have left her home and being considered “different.” The olive tree had been shared for years, but now she feels overly possessive because she lost it. J did understand that when the lightening struck it was a symbolic message to wake them up and get them to work it out.
I actually love the fact that this book allows you to open a conversation about what other people might be feeling. One of the other MCCBD bloggers posted this wonderful worksheet that I want to start using with J. You can see her great reviews and get a PDF of this page by visiting her site.
Opening our kids’ eyes to the world around them is incredibly important. We struggle with being “different” when big Christian holidays come up, so I know that my girls understand on some levels. But there is more to it then religion. Our children should understand the bigger picture of different races and struggles that people face. We should always be reading texts that broaden their understanding of the world and I am incredibly grateful for Multicultural Children’s Book Day.
Please check out the full link-up of all of the amazing books featured this year. You can find that HERE.
Sponsors of Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2015
Platinum Sponsors: Wisdom Tales Press,Daybreak Press Global Bookshop, Gold Sponsors: Satya House, MulticulturalKids.com, Author Stephen Hodges and the Magic Poof, Silver Sponsors: Junior Library Guild, Capstone Publishing, Lee and Low Books, The Omnibus Publishing. Bronze Sponsors:Double Dutch Dolls, Bliss Group Books, Snuggle with Picture Books Publishing, Rainbow Books, Author Felicia Capers, Chronicle Books Muslim Writers Publishing ,East West Discovery Press.
Meet the Co-Founders behind Multicultural Children’s Book Day
Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom and Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book/Audrey Press are the co-founders of Multicultural Children’s Book Day. Read more about their passion for putting great books in kids’ hands here.
The 2015 Multicultural Children’s Book Day Co-Hosts:
Collaborations and Partnerships
Multicultural Children’s Book Day is partnering with First Book to offer a Virtual Book Drive that will help donate multicultural children’s books through their channels during the week of the event. We want to help get diversity books into the hands of kids who most need it and now we have a way to do it! The Virtual Book Drive is LIVE and can be found HERE.
MCCBD is also collaborating with Children’s Book Council to highlight wonderful diversity books and authors on an ongoing basis all year.
Disclosure: * I was given this book free-of-charge by the author in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions expressed are my own.