Posts tagged ‘multicultural’

HIGH EXPECTATIONS

Not Just a Princess! (The Mia Collection)

Written by Mary Lee

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Trilogy of books combined into one edition that will empower young girls. Targeted for ages infancy to age six, the stylized, colorful, multicultural illustrations and large simple vocabulary text can grow with a child. Youngest readers will enjoy looking at the pictures and enjoying the read aloud. Children in kindergarten and first grade might use the book as an early reader.

The first book features Mia who generally loves playing princess, but wakes up one morning feeling like anything but a princess. She imagines herself a lioness, a pirate, a starfish and a cowgirl among other things. Mia decides there are many more options a lot more exciting than being a princess. The second books features Mia on her first day of ballet school. Again, Mia discovers a lot more than ballet steps and learns a lot in the process. In the final book of this set, Mia explains that she enjoys eating cookies a lot more than the process of baking them. She uses her imagination to think of other alternatives. The next morning Mia comes up with a surprise for her mom that does not turn out as she expected. But, in the end, Mia learns a much more important lesson about herself and her life.

Parents and teachers who want to delight and inspire their little princesses and instill a strong female role model should check out this collection available in kindle and paperback.

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YOU CAN’T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER

Multicultural Children’s Book Day: Read Your World

January 27, 2015

Our mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these of books into classrooms and libraries.

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Children’s reading and play advocates Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book and Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom teamed up in late 2013 to create an ambitious (and much needed) national event. On January 27th, 2015 this dynamic duo will be hosting yet another Multicultural Children’s Book Day as a way of celebrating diversity in children’s books.

The Multicultural Children’s Book Day team hopes 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 via book reviews, author visits, multicultural booklists and visit the huge multicultural book review link-up that will occur on the MCCBD website 1/27/15.

Here are some ways you can help us celebrate Multicultural Children’s Book Day

  • Visit The Multicultural Children’s Book Day website and view our booklists, reading resources and other useful multicultural information.
  • Visit our Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board for more reading ideas.
  • Have children bring in their favorite multicultural book to school on this day and share it with the class.
  • Watch for the #ReadYourWorld hashtag on social media and share.
  • Visit our Diversity Book Lists and Resources for Educators and Parents on our website.
  • Visit MCCBD sponsors (you can find them HERE)
  • Create a Multicultural Children’s Book Day display around the classroom or library.
  • Visit The Multicultural Children’s Book Day website on January 27th to view and participate in our huge blogger link-up, multicultural book reviews, giveaways and more!

Other Fun Details:

Our Sponsor Line-up Platinum Sponsors: Wisdom Tales Press, Daybreak Press Global Bookshop, Gold SponsorsSatya House,  MulticulturalKids.com,   Author Stephen Hodges and the Magic Poof, Silver Sponsors: Junior Library GuildCapstone Publishing, Lee and Low Books,  The Omnibus Publishing. Bronze Sponsors: Double Dutch Dolls, Bliss Group Books, Snuggle with Picture Books Publishing,  Rainbow Books,   Author   FeliciaCapers,   Chronicle Books   Muslim Writers Publishing ,East West Discovery Press.

Our CoHosts: We have NINE amazing Co-Host. You can view them here.

-MCCBD now has its own Paper.li! A Paper.li is a free online newspaper that aggregates information on the topic of multicultural books for kids from all over the Internet. Please feel free subscribe and stay up-to-date with this topic.

-Connect with us on our new Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/MulticulturalChildrensBookDay

-Connect with us on our new Twitter https://twitter.com/MCChildsBookDay

We are hosting a Twitter party! Join us for Multicultural Children’s Book Day Twitter Party on Jan 27th 9:00pm EST. Use hashtag: #ReadYourWorld to win 10 book packages. Use this info to share with your readers and to tweet it out!

If you have not done so, check out the MCCBD blog! Thanks to support from the Children’s Book Council we are posting author interviews like crazy and are thrilled with the response. You can find the MCCBD blog here: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/blog/

Platinum Sponsor Wisdom Tales Press is hosting a book giveaway on their website that anyone can enter. Winner will receive 6 Wisdom Tales Books of their choice. Here’s a tweet: Book #giveaway at Wisdom Tales Press! Winner will receive 6 Wisdom Tales Books of their choice. #ReadYourWorld http://ow.ly/Hr0MC

If you would like more information, or have questions regarding Multicultural Children’s Book Day, please contact Valarie Budayr at Valarie@AudreyPress.com or Mia Wenjen at pragmaticmomblog@gmail.com

PLEASE READ THE REVIEW OF MY MULTICULTURAL SELECTION

The Unboy Boy

Written by Richa Jha

Illustrated by Gautam Benegal

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I am reviewing this book as a guest blogger for Multicultural Children’s Book Day. This forty page hard-cover picture book is interesting on many levels.

Gagan is a happy boy who loves nature and looks at the world with optimism. His brother, Pavan, is mean-spirited and self-centered. When Gagan plays with ants, Pavan calls him Mousey. Gagan’s classmates taunt him with the name Sissy the day he brings his stuffed toy Bingo to Show and Tell. So Gagan asks his mother if he is a boy; she assures him that she loves him dearly and that he is a soft and gentle boy. In his dreams Gagan imagines himself a superhero, but Pavan and his friends continue to try to make Gagan into their own boy image by chasing him with worms, destroying plants, and playing with water guns. Gagan ignores them as he reads and works on his stamp collection. Even his grandfather urges Gagan “to be a man” by playing with toy guns. Gagan feels sad, lonely and isolated.

Things come to a climax when the children at school attend summer camp. At night, Pavan and his friends begin to tell stories of ghosts, goblins, murderers and zombies. They warn Gagan that the trolls will rip his stuffed Bingo apart. When a cat named Scuttie disappears and other mysterious events occur, the children become frightened. Gagan disappears from the story….Will he survive? If he escapes the danger, will the children continue to bully him?

This story reminds me a lot of Charlotte Zolotow’s 1972 book, William’s Doll, which related the tale of a boy who wanted a doll for Christmas because he wanted to practice being a father one day. At the time it was controversial and received mixed reviews because it presented a male character who did not act in accordance with the stereotypical image of an American boy. On the other hand, it was acceptable for boys to play with G.I. Joe soldier dolls.

Illustrations in this book remind me a bit of Mo Willems. The cover gives a hint of scary creatures who are drawn in dark silhouettes. Mischievous children are portrayed with mean faces, while Gagan is happy and smiling. There are some rather scary images, even though they are displayed in a cartoon-like format. Parents of young children might think twice about making this a bedtime story for sensitive children. The lessons of being true to yourself and disregarding gender based stereotypes are valuable. Teachers and parents can use the book as a basis for discussion on many levels. I would recommend the book for children older than age six.

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LOST BETWEEN TWO WORLDS

Hope Defined (Dinah Dynamo)

Written by Shannon Humphrey

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This book is a tale of two heroines; Hope, a thirteen year old wannabe astrophysicist, struggling to make a difference in the “hood” on Earth, and Dinah, one of the scions who travel space creating planets and chasing the stars. Hope must overcome bullies and racism; Dinah must figure out how to control the forces struggling to tear her being apart.

Humphrey succeeds in writing a book that addresses problems many middle grade students face, bullying and racism, while at the same time facing how to “come of age.” The parallel science fiction story of Dinah, who is being tested in her world, lends an appealing element to the middle grade reader. Hope is truly a creative genius, but she is faced with opposition from her black friends who want her to give up her “nerdiness” and just fit in, while at the same time fighting to compete with the white kids who are jealous of her and scheme to get her in trouble. Her mother does not understand her devotion to her studies, but a neighbor named Mr. Lewis is willing to help. Hope has strange dreams about a girl who looks like her and gives her confidence; Dinah struggles with a strange feeling that she is needed to help someone, but does not understand how or where this impulse originates.

The plot details the kind of experiences middle school students face everyday and portrays situations with which they can empathize. I highly recommend this book to parents and teachers as a starting point of discussions on bullying and racism. It raises many situations that should be raised before these issues arise. Children age nine and up will find this a compelling read and a useful resource for answering may of their questions in a nonjudgmental fashion. This story teaches and does not preach; a most effective way to reach the minds of tweens and young teens.

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A RELUCTANT HEROINE

The Amber Ring (A Novella)

Written by A.L. Walton

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This book of approximately one hundred pages might be described as a dark fantasy. There are many traditional fantasy characters like gryphons, trolls, fairies, unicorns and witches. A few others like the Talking Bear Mayor and the satyr sheriff are a bit of a stretch. Then there is a reluctant heroine and her twin sister who is a magical weaver and heroine.

Allow me to summarize the plot briefly. Maya is a rather morose and cynical twelve year old whose twin sister Sofia has recently drowned. Sofia had magical powers along with a magical ring which now belongs to her sister. Two years prior to her death, Sofia had managed to rid the Fairwoods of the trolls under the power of the Cedar Witch. Their lands became peaceful. One day Camden, her sister’s pet gryphon, reappears at the site where Sofia died. He attempts to convince Maya that the Fairwoods are again in danger, and that she is needed to restore peace. Maya has no interest in being a weaver or leaving her comfortable life in Oregon. But she feels guilty and eventually agrees to spend Labor Day weekend with Camden on a quest to find the Morning Stone and restore the balance of power.

Maya loses her backpack to Duskrats, and then travels on to the home of the Maple Witch who feeds them and attempts to show Maya how to weave magic just as Sofia had done in the past. Maya is unsuccessful and frustrated. She and the gryphon will meet up with a unicorn, goblins, a geographer some cobblers, and trolls in their attempts to find the Morning Stone. When Maya finally reaches her destination, she is shocked to find that her heroine sister’s death was not an accident. Maya must now make a decision whether or not to avenge it. Will Maya ever be able to put the tragedy behind her or will she forever be molded by it?

I like the multiculturalism introduced by using Spanish phrases, particularly Maya’s grandmother’s description of her as Hueca (hollow) . That is a good way to explain the way Maya feels about herself at the beginning of the story. As mentioned previously, there are some fantasy elements included that are a stretch with the plot, but all in all, I feel that the short novel will appeal to children ten and older as well as adults who like a quick fantasy read.

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IN OR OUT?

Clique,Clique Stop!

Written by Cherrye S. Vasquez, P.h.D

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This new book continues the story of thirteen year old Isabella. In the author’s first book, No Tildes on Tuesdays, readers were introduced to Bella and her struggle to accept her biracial status. She had always associated and gone to school with white friends. In fact, she resisted her father and grandmother’s attempts to learn Spanish and the customs of her Mexican heritage. But now her father is being laid off, and the family is moving to a much poorer mixed population neighborhood. Bella feels disappointed and rejected, especially when her neighbor calls her a half breed.

When she goes to register at her new school, Isabella’s white mother is angered to see that there is no place on the registration form to indicate biracial. Though Bella is strong and determined, everyone at the school seems to be in cliques. Whites hang with whites, the Spanish students avoid speaking English, and the Black students have their own cliques as well. Bella meets a Spanish boy named Roberto and a white boy named George, who seem friendly, but the girls continue to make fun of her.

Bella’s mother contacts the school which leads to Bella speaking to Mrs. Rios, the guidance counselor. She hesitantly speaks of her idea to start a Heritage Club in which students of all races would come together not only to discuss likes and dislikes but to share common interests and customs. Many of the teachers realize that the school has been divided into cliques for far too long and jump on board. Bella is gambling that her club will bridge the divide and unite students from different backgrounds in the community. Will it succeed?

Dr. Vasquez concludes the book with a section discussing the story line with students, educators and parents. This short story is a much welcomed edition in a book market that largely neglects our multiracial and multicultural students. It should be available in the classrooms of middle schools, in our libraries, and a topic of discussion in the families of all our children.

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THE POWER OF LOVE

Lou and Jigger:True Love is Inseparable

Written by Geryn Childress
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This short story packs a powerful punch in a kindle book of approximately twenty-five pages. The characters are well developed, the plot carefully laid out, and the historical background deftly woven into the story. Childress skillfully portrays the beautiful love shared by Lou and Jigger as well as the ugly prejudice, family tensions, and hardship of living in a poor family down South in the 1900’s.

Luella’s parents move the family from Michigan to Shreveport because her mother believes her children will have a better life in the rural South, but Shreveport in the 80’s was still segregated and blacks found it difficult to make a living. Lou’s father made a living by “junkin”, finding garbage and fixing things to sell as useful items. He also built wells. Both parents worked long hours so the children spent most of their time with Mama Rosie on her small farm. Mama was a grandmother figure who had many interesting friends. Jimmy the wino came to buy her moonshine; Squala, a Native American squatter periodically came to sleep in the abandoned Chevelle on the property. Even though he could not speak English; Squala and Lou communicated by hand gestures and became best friends.

Lou falls in love with a boy named Jigger, but her grandfather Ebe hated him. Jigger and Lou eventually run off to Missouri. When they return, Lou’s father continues the feud and has Jigger framed for a crime. The story traces their lives into their nineties when members of the family succeed in placing Lou and Jigger in separate nursing homes. When descendants Ruby and Sonny decide to move to the area and take over Lou and Jigger’s now abandoned house, the story takes a most interesting turn.

Childress provides the reader with wonderful photographs of his characters which adds to the authentic flavor of the historical romance. This book is very different from modern romances. I would recommend it for ages twelve and up. Classroom teachers might find it a useful addition to teaching about the period. This well written short story will appeal to readers interested in history, romance, psychology and memoirs.

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JAMAICAN ADVENTURES

Essie’s Kids and The Rolling Calf -3:Island Style Ghost Story

Written by Dr. & Mrs. Luke Brown

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I came across this e book as a promotion. I had not read the first two books in the planned five book series. This third short story is a strange combination of Jamaican folklore, adventures, and moral lessons that pleasantly surprised me. It makes a good addition to a classroom multicultural library. The book is well written with lots of colorful verbs, analogies and descriptive language though I did find one typo in which the word joint was used for the verb join. A smattering of Jamaican lingo like the word, “mon” also provides an authentic touch.

At the outset, the reader meets Karl who is tossing in his bed because he is haunted by the memory of the dreadful beast known as a rolling calf , a large swift running creature with dragon like eyes who voices terrifying sounds. Karl has met this creature in previous stories and now is anxiously awaiting to confront him once and for all. When he finally succumbs to sleep, he dreams that he is tiptoeing down the ghost-like streets at night. Suddenly, his brother Leonard shakes him; Karl realizes it is all a nightmare.

Karl’s family has journeyed from the city of Montego Bay to their country home in Clear Mont for the summer. His sisters, Myrtle, Geena and Betty play hopscotch and jump rope, while the boys play tag in the front yard. The author contrasts nicely the differences between the “city” and “country” folks. The country children wear plain clothes and no shoes. City kids are teased for being cowardly and not willing to get dirty. In the end, both learn to give and take and respect each others skills and differences.

Junior’s best friend here is named Ben. He encourages Junior to come to the river and fish. Junior realizes his mother will probably say no, so he hesitantly decides to slip away without asking permission. Ben meets up with his friends, Johnny, Dave and Jasper, who he calls “bad company” because they always manage to get him in trouble. The girls, on the other hand, get their mother’s permission to go to the river and enjoy their day without worries.

Karl had not been himself since the nightmare. He sat by himself most of the day. Karl continued to believe that this strange beast had a message for him. Then he decides to go to the river by himself. As night is about to fall, he sees a bolt of lightning flash before him and feels the swaying of the ground beneath him. Will Karl find his way home? Does he succeed in his quest to confront the beast?

The story abruptly shifts back home to the children listening to their mom, Essie, relating one of her nightly stories. She talks of two men locked in a prison cell. The innocent prisoner sees the possibility of being set free someday even though he has no money to defend himself, but the other guilty prisoner is unhappy and mean. Essie’s lesson is that the mean prisoner continued to see only bad things, but the innocent prisoner continued to see promise and beauty outside his window. Before sending the children to bed, they are reminded to look for the good in every situation.

Boys and girls age seven and up will each find elements in the story to their liking. Adults will enjoy the clever interweaving of sound moral lessons intertwined with the charming setting and folklore of Jamaica and the familiar antics of children everywhere.

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