Sunday, January 24, 2016

Children's Multicultural Book Day





January 27th, 2016 is the third annual Children's Multicultural Book Day. I'm a school librarian, and finding diverse books has always been a challenge for me. 

When I became a librarian twelve years ago, I was in Houston ISD. The school had a huge Spanish-speaking population. The principal showed me the library when I was first hired. "This will be one of your challenges," he told me, as he showed me a tiny shelf of books in Spanish. I searched and searched for books for our children at the school, but there just wasn't much available in Spanish. Disappointing.

Ten years ago, I was at an elementary school just south of the Texas Medical Center in Houston. A language survey was done at the school while I was librarian there, and we learned that over fifty different languages were spoken in the homes of students. I decided to try to find stories for our school from as many of the different home languages and cultures as I could. I searched and searched and managed to find books in only ten of the fifty languages. Disappointing. 

Now I'm a librarian at a school in my hometown and I still struggle to find good books for children that reflect the many cultures of our world. Disappointing. 

Happily, this year I served as a judge for the Cybils Fiction Picture Book Award. I am proud to say that three of our finalists reflect diverse cultures:


I was delighted to receive two new multicultural books to read for this event: Dev and Ollie: Kite Crazy and La Familia Cool: El tesoro mas valioso/The Most Valuable Treasure. I urge you to seek out diverse books like these and share them with your children, your students, and your friends.




Do you have a hard time finding diverse children's books? I'd love to hear your thoughts!



The Multicultural Children's Book Day team’s mission is 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.
The co-creators of this event are Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom and Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book/Audrey Press. You can find a bio for Mia and Valarie here.

Multicultural Children’s Book day 2016 Medallion Level Sponsors! #ReadYourWorld

Teachers! Earn a FREE #Multicultural Kids Book for Your Classroom! #teachers, #books #teacherlife  http://ow.ly/UUy96




Link Up Your Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2016 Posts Here!




19 comments:

  1. It's surprising that it has taken so long for children's books to "catch up" to the children themselves, and yet it seems that even with the strides that have been made there needs to be more. I wonder why? Thanks for sharing these books! Even though we are a child free home, I love children's books! Maybe it's because I still have that "art school" mentality still and love the wonderful illustrations you can find along with a good story.

    Have a great week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are right about it taking so long. I don't know why either.

      Delete
  2. One would think that the states bordering Mexico would have more....I don't know what the stats are for California, but I'll bet they are better...just guessing, though. Something to research. Thanks for bringing up this issue, and enjoy your books.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You certainly would think that with so many students in our Mexico-bordering states who have ties to Mexico and Central and South America that more books reflecting those cultures would be available. Even the books available in Spanish are often simply translations from English and don't really represent the Spanish-speaking cultures well.

      Delete
  3. We have a new bookstore focusing on books that feature African-American children. The bookstore looks like it will be a helpful resource for finding such books and, hopefully, help drive the market in the direction of more diversity. http://www.eyeseeme.com/

    ReplyDelete
  4. The 3 finalist books look very good. I commend you on your efforts to find diverse books.

    ReplyDelete
  5. We have a large population of students who are South Pacific Islanders and just try to get books, fiction or non, about or set in their countries. So frustrating.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I went to a Deaf School and my teachers told me after i graduated that they had a hell of a time finding books that did not portray deaf people as a population to be pitied.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I haven't looked recently, but did not have luck trying to sell my children's book set in the West Indies to publishers.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I haven't looked recently, but did not have luck trying to sell my children's book set in the West Indies to publishers.

    ReplyDelete
  9. It's been a decade or more since I've kept up with children's book, and am surprised to hear the lack of diversity seems to be lagging behind the world of adult books.

    ReplyDelete
  10. My kids are old enough that they chose their own books now (my house is buried under Magic Tree House and Goosebumps books lol), but yeah, thinking back to when they were in the younger reading range there really wasn't a lot of options for diversity. Kind of weird when you think about it!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I get very excited when I find books on diversity. The one's I have enjoyed the most also have amazing illustration. There are not many though, I agree.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Diversity is a hot topic within fiction as a whole lately, and something that I believe people are trying to work on and branching out, but I agree, there is very little diversity in children's book.

    Last Stop On Market Street is a book we hope to pick up soon.

    Reading With Jade

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks for hosting this great discussion on diversity in children's literature, Nancy! If you'd like come books donated to your school library, just let me know :)

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!