Diversity in Children’s Literature: Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019

Pinterest pin showing Multicultural Children's Book Day 2019.  5 children reading books, 3 boys and 2 girls

I can’t believe that another year is upon us! What a blessing to be alive and to be able to have the many wonderful opportunities and experiences that we are able to have. I am so honored and delighted to be a Book Reviewer for the annual Multicultural Children’s Book Day again this year. This day is set aside to celebrate and spotlight children’s books that make it a point to show diverse characters. They also show these diverse characters participating in diverse and day-to-day activities. Diversity in children’s literature is vital for everyone!

Mirrors and Windows

If you are wondering why we are making such a to-do about the importance of diversity in children’s literature. The content of diverse children’s literature is often described as having “windows and mirrors”. Our class libraries should provide books that allow students to see themselves in the text, as well as, in the illustrations. These are the mirrors that reflect what children physically see when they look at themselves in the mirror.

The books that we provide to our children and students should also provide many opportunities for them to see other cultures and life experiences. They should also be able to see them from different perspectives. These are the windows that allow children to see a world beyond just the four walls that they are too often limited to.

The Reviews Are In

Without further ado, here are the two books that I reviewed this year.

ABC Adoption and Me: A Multicultural Picture Book for Adoptive Families

The first book that I received was from the author, Gayle H. Swift with her daughter, Casey A. Swift. Her book, ABC Adoption and Me: A Multicultural Picture Book for Adoptive Families, is a sweet text that shares an array of occurrences that a child and their family might experience during and after the process of adoption. Each potential event is shared in a child-friendly manner via the use of a different letter of the alphabet.

The letters represent a possible experience that a child might have through the course of adoption. For instance, for the letter M, “M is for miss. Sometimes I miss my birth parents. I wonder if they miss me too.” That page tugged on my heartstrings immensely. If I were adopted, I believe that I would carry this question in my heart, too.

The text is lovely, but the illustrations are created in a cartoon-ish style with over-sized eyes or features. The style is probably very favorable to some. Personally, I wasn’t drawn to it, but I can see how it might create a more light-hearted feeling for a topic that could be very heavy and overwhelming for children.

I am not certain if this is a pro or a con, but it does the make the book more memorable to a certain extent (so to speak). However, I do wonder if the book might have been enhanced more by having a more traditional style of art. It may have been sweeter or even more endearing. What are your thoughts on this illustrative style?

My Recommendation

This book would be a great addition to your personal or classroom library. First, you never know what the students in your class are experiencing. Not all families are forthcoming with information about such a personal topic. There are even times when children haven’t been told that they have been adopted.

On the contrary, there may be a student in your room that is adopted but chooses not to share this information with classmates at this time. Having access to a text like this may bring them a sense of peace and belonging. Additionally, children in your class that live with their birth parents should have “window” opportunities to see how other children and families might be feeling.

Square book cover showing green grass and trees, with a mom and dad swinging a small child in the center.  The book's title is ABC Adoption and Me.

You can click here to purchase the book for your library or home via my Amazon Affiliate link.

Mommy Eats Fried Grasshoppers

Mommy Eats Fried Grasshoppers by Vilayvanh Bender is the second book that I reviewed. The title, in and of itself, caught my attention immediately! Though I have never tried fried grasshoppers, it is something that I would be willing to do. Plus, I’m that mom that is usually game to try something at least once!

I can’t shout loudly enough about how much I loved this book! It is fun and easy to read, and the illustrations match the words delightfully! Absolutely a two thumbs up recommendation from me. I cannot wait to read this story to my students. It is short and simple but sends a positive message about holding on to cultural traditions.

It is so important for us to share our heritage with our children and others. There are students in our classrooms that are often ashamed of their families’ heritage and culture. They need positive messages and reassurance about their value and place in this world. This is why diversity in children’s literature is so significant. We need to be intentional and purposeful about ensuring this for all of our children and students.

I remember a little boy in my class whose family was from Turkey. It saddened me to see that he wanted no part in his Turkish ancestry. He did not want to learn about it and he didn’t want his peers to know about his heritage. Providing more diversity and multiculturalism to our classrooms authentically, seamlessly, and daily will help to alleviate many of the negative feelings that children take on when they perceive themselves as different. Different is great!

My Recommendation

You know how much I love diversity in children’s literature. Mommy Eats Fried Grasshoppers delivers beautifully in this area. I highly recommend you add this book to your classroom or home library. This story exposed me to a culture that I have not had much personal experience with. The author shares Laos culture with us via the experiences that the main character, Mommy, has with her daughter in America.

There is a “then/when mommy was in Laos” and “now/what I do in America” approach to the story. This is a delightful way to learn more about culture and traditions. It’s also so nice to see a family remembering, and wanting, to share their culture and heritage with their children. That is not always the case once people begin actively living and experiencing Western culture.

You can click here to purchase the book for your home or school library via my Amazon Affiliate link.

Thank you for allowing me to share my reviews on these two wonderful stories. I hope that you will purchase them (or check them out of the library) for yourself. Remember to look for other amazing books that show diversity in children’s literature to share. There are many book reviewers, blog post, and stories on social media to enjoy. If you have any books that you think that I should read, please share them in the comments. I am always looking for great children’s literature to share!

Join us in our celebration of diversity in children’s literature!

Use the hashtag “#readyourworld” in all of your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts. You can join our Twitter Party on January 25th at 9:00 p.m. EST. More information is listed below. We would love to see how you are embracing this important movement. Do this to provide windows and mirrors for our children! Read more multicultural books to help shape our world! Click here to see my book reviews from last year’s MCBD!

to see my book reviews from last year’s MCBD!

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019 (1/25/19) is in its 6th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators. 

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board!

*View our 2019 Medallion Sponsors here: https://wp.me/P5tVud-
*View our 2019 MCBD Author Sponsors here: https://wp.me/P5tVud-2eN

Medallion Level Sponsors

Honorary: Children’s Book CouncilThe Junior Library GuildTheConsciousKid.org.

Super Platinum: Make A Way Media

GOLD: Bharat BabiesCandlewick PressChickasaw Press, Juan Guerra and The Little Doctor / El doctorcitoKidLitTV,  Lerner Publishing GroupPlum Street Press,

SILVER: Capstone PublishingCarole P. RomanAuthor Charlotte RiggleHuda EssaThe Pack-n-Go Girls,

BRONZE: Charlesbridge PublishingJudy Dodge CummingsAuthor Gwen JacksonKitaab WorldLanguage Lizard – Bilingual & Multicultural Resources in 50+ LanguagesLee & Low BooksMiranda Paul and Baptiste Paul, RedfinAuthor Gayle H. Swift,  T.A. Debonis-Monkey King’s DaughterTimTimTom BooksLin ThomasSleeping Bear Press/Dow PhumirukVivian Kirkfield,

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Author Sponsors on board

Honorary: Julie FlettMehrdokht Amini,

Author Janet BallettaAuthor Kathleen BurkinshawAuthor Josh FunkChitra SoundarOne Globe Kids – Friendship StoriesSociosights Press and Almost a MinyanKaren LeggettAuthor Eugenia ChuCultureGroove BooksPhelicia Lang and Me On The PageL.L. WaltersAuthor Sarah StevensonAuthor Kimberly Gordon BiddleHayley BarrettSonia PanigrahAuthor Carolyn Wilhelm, Alva Sachs and Dancing DreidelsAuthor Susan BernardoMilind Makwana andA Day in the Life of a Hindu KidTara WilliamsVeronica AppletonAuthor Crystal BoweDr. Claudia MayAuthor/Illustrator Aram KimAuthor Sandra L. RichardsErin DealeyAuthor Sanya Whittaker GraggAuthor Elsa TakaokaEvelyn Sanchez-ToledoAnita BadhwarAuthor Sylvia LiuFeyi Fay AdventuresAuthor Ann MorrisAuthor Jacqueline JulesCeCe & Roxy BooksSandra Neil Wallace and Rich WallaceLEUYEN PHAMPadma VenkatramanPatricia Newman and Lightswitch LearningShoumi SenValerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Traci SorellShereen RahmingBlythe StanfelChristina MatulaJulie RubiniPaula ChaseErin TwamleyAfsaneh MoradianLori DeMonia, Claudia Schwam, Terri Birnbaum/ RealGirls RevolutionSoulful SydneyQueen Girls Publications, LLC

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive Co-Host Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our Co-Hosts HERE.

Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts

A Crafty ArabAgatha Rodi BooksAll Done MonkeyBarefoot MommyBiracial Bookworms, Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms ShareColours of UsDiscovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, Descendant of Poseidon ReadsEducators Spin on it Growing Book by BookHere Wee Read, Joy Sun Bear/ Shearin LeeJump Into a BookImagination Soup,Jenny Ward’s ClassKid World CitizenKristi’s Book NookThe LogonautsMama SmilesMiss Panda ChineseMulticultural Kid BlogsRaising Race Conscious ChildrenShoumi SenSpanish Playground

TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Make A Way Media: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/25/19 at 9:00pm.E.S.T. TONS of prizes and book bundles will be given away during the party. GO HERE for more details.

FREE RESOURCES From MCBD:

Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta

Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teacher-classroom-empathy-kit/

Hashtag: 

Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

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