Friday, January 27, 2017

Multicultural Children's Book Day

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/17) is its fourth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness on the ongoing need to include kid’s books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.  
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 holiday, the MCBD Team are on a mission to change all of that.
Happily, I am a part of this celebration. I received a huge box of books from Capstone +Capstone Publishers with sixteen wonderfully diverse children's stories. 
I'm a primary school librarian and all of these books could happily find a home in my school library. I have had the Katie Woo chapter book series, in both English and Spanish, in my library for several years, and we just acquired some of the Sofia Martinez and the Pedro series. I got the chance to read Do Not Bring Your Dragon to the Library during the first round of the Cybils this year. The other books are new-to-me.
For Multicultural Children's Book Day, I decided to read and review all the books as if for the first time.

Sofia Martinez written by Jacqueline Jules
and illustrated by Kim Smith

I'm crazy about Sofia Martinez. These books are the perfect blend of Hispanic culture and the broad American culture. The first girl who checked out one of my Sofia books from my primary school library brought it back to me a little while after she had a chance to look at it more closely. "It's in Spanish," she told me sadly. "No," I told her, "it's mostly in English, with a few Spanish words." I showed her the glossary of Spanish words and their meanings and she brightened. "I know a lot of these words anyway," she told me happily. She returned it a few days later and asked for another Sofia. The reading level is ideal for our early chapter book readers in first and second grade.

Katie Woo written by Fran Manushkin
and illustrated by Tammie Lyon

Who is Katie Woo? Katie is a little girl who is Asian-American but is also an integral part of the wide American culture. She spends her time with her friends and family, at home and at school, and her problems are the small problems of children everywhere: she deals with finding her place among her friends and the loss of a beloved pet and waiting and waiting for her tooth to fall out and going on a first camping trip. All the stories are just at the right reading level for children ready to try their first chapter books.

Pedro written by Fran Manushkin 
and illustrated by Tammie Lyon

Pedro is actually a buddy of Katie Woo, and his book series evolved from hers. Like Katie Woo, Pedro lives a middle-class American sort of life that centers around school and his family and friends. Like Katie Woo, his mishaps are the gentle sort that involve having your brother turn loose the bugs Pedro had captured for a school project. Like Katie Woo, it is refreshing to see a child who from a culture different from the one the typical American children's book portrays, and to not only see him, but to see him front and center.

Do Not Bring Your Dragon to the Library by Julie Gassman and illustrated by Andy Elkerton

You probably can imagine from the title where this little tale is going. Yes, lots of problems ensue if you bring a dragon to the library. But it's the delightful rhyme and hilarious pictures that gives this story its zing. Imagine an American subculture and you can be pretty sure it will be represented among the library patrons pictured here. And, of course, the book will have a happy ending. You don't want anyone, not even fire-breathing dragons, to be left out.

For the Right to Learn: Malala Yousafzai's Story
by Rebecca Langston-George

It's wonderful, of course, to read stories about ordinary children from diverse cultures. But it's amazing to read stories about extraordinary children from diverse cultures. And who has come to stand out as a hero in our world today more than the young girl, Malala Yousafzai? This is her story, the story of a bright girl in Pakistan who was told she could not attend school. The story has been rendered as a colorful and inviting picture book, and the text and pictures are a beautiful introduction to this amazing girl's life.

Ellie Ultra by Gina Bellisario
The Case of the Missing Museum Archives by Steve Brezenoff
Molly Meets Trouble by Megan Atwood

Ellie Ultra, Museum Mysteries: The Case of the Missing Museum Archives, and Dear Molly, Dear Olive: Molly Meets Trouble are all 125 pages or less, short chapter books aimed at third to fifth grade readers, all published by divisions of Capstone. Ellie Ultra is the first in a series of short chapter books about a third-grade girl who has super powers, but finds she has to suppress them in order to fit into an ordinary school. In The Case of the Missing Museum Archives, Amal and her friends must try to find the missing plans for a prototype of a failed flying machine before Amal's father is blamed for the loss. Molly Meets Trouble is the story of Molly who just can't seem to get along with someone at school. It really makes Molly miss her friend Olive. All three stories feature diverse characters.

We could all use a little more kindness in this world. Why not have your children take the Great Kindness Challenge? #GreatKindnessChallenge

Current Sponsors:  MCBD 2017 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. Platinum Sponsors include ScholasticBarefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. RomanAudrey Press, Candlewick Press,  Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTVCapstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa, Author Gayle SwiftWisdom Tales PressLee& Low BooksThe Pack-n-Go GirlsLive Oak MediaAuthor Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also work tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.
MCBD Links to remember:
MCBD site:
Free Multicultural Books for Teachers:
Free Kindness Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators:
Free Diversity Book Lists and Activities for Teachers and Parents:
Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use the official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.


  1. What a great collection of books from Capstone. I love Katie Woo, Sophia Martinez, and Pedro series. Aren't they fun ? Thanks for celebrating with us. #readyourworld

  2. That's quite an extensive group of diverse books! I'm especially interested in the PB about Malala. Thank you!

  3. Wow, you got some great books, I loved reading all the reviews.

  4. Wow, what a great collection. I love that the little girl took the time and got excited about learning some Spanish words. While all these books seem really interesting.. I'm interested in checking out the Malala book. My husband and I watched a documentary about her before and it would be nice to read it with my kids and have a conversation with my daughter about her strengths and accomplishments! Thanks for the review! Hope you loved being a part of #MCBD2017 as much as I did.



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