Folktales are an important part of any culture. Traditionally, this is how children learned the most important lessons of ethics and morals, intricacies of how a culture approached life. There are not a ton of folktales being written these days, but Jacqueline Jules has taken two traditional Jewish tales and created the absolutely wonderful story of The Generous Fish.
In this tale, young Reuven’s father told him to “cast his bread upon the waters…and always be good to others.” A fish comes and eats from him daily until one day the fish actually thanks him. The two become friends and one day Reuven accidentally breaks one of the fish’s scales. He is horrified, but the fish doesn’t mind as he knows that it will grow back. The scale is solid gold and he gives it to Reuven who uses it to help his struggling village. As one might assume, the villagers get greedy. While the fish’s scales naturally grow back, they ask for too much too quickly, hurting the fish. When the fish is struggling to survive, they realize their misdeeds and come to the fish’s rescue.
There are so many little gems in this book. First is that the fish is named Nissim. In Hebrew, this means miracles. Nissim provided the miracle of gold, but we should never take miracles for granted. We also need to be aware of the needs of others and not take advantage of anyone to suit our own needs.
Then there is the relationship between Reuven and Nissim. Theirs is one of true friendship and of looking out for each other. While they have each given to each other, they do that out of trust and friendship. When Reuven is given one scale, he used it for good AND it did not harm the balance. When the villagers abused the gift, taking from Nissim and giving nothing, including time, it hurt both Nissim and Reuven.
The story is a parable for how we treat others as well as how we treat the earth. One sided relationships don’t work, with other people and with our natural resources. We can use nature, but we must always allow nature to replenish itself. In Jewish traditions, we are actually told to give agricultural land a sabbatical every 7 years. This is a year for nature to get back to its natural state and trees are considered a year old based on the 15th of Shevat, or Tu B’shvat (Jan 28 this year).
The Generous Fish is a beautiful story with wonderful lessons. I really loved this book and I might not have heard about it had it not been for Multicultural Children’s Book Day! I was gifted this book from long-time supporter, Wisdom Tales Press.
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.
MCBD 2021 is honored to be Supported by these Medallion Sponsors!
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,
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!
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!
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.