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Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2021 Book Reviews

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. (**Red Hen here- be sure to check out all the resources for educators and parents- it’s a real treasure trove!)
MCBD 2021 is honored to be Supported by these Medallion Sponsors!

Mia Wenjen (Pragamaticmom) and Valarie Budayr’s(
Platinum Sponsors:
Language Lizard Bilingual Books in 50+ Languages,
Author Deedee
Cummings and Make A Way Media
Gold Sponsors:
Barefoot Books, Candlewick Press, Capstone, Hoopoe Books, KidLitTV, Peachtree Publishing Company Inc.
Silver Sponsors:
Charlotte Riggle,
Connecticut Association of School Librarians, Author
Kimberly Gordon Biddle,
Pack-N-Go Girls
Bronze Sponsors:
Agatha Rodi and
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,
My Well Read Child

MCBD 2021 is
honored to be Supported by these Author Sponsors!

Poster Artist:
Nat Iwata
Author Afsaneh Moradian,
Author Alva Sachs & Three Wishes Publishing
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 TINYby 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!

Register here!

Join us on Friday, Jan 29, 2021, at 9 pm EST for the 8th annual Multicultural Children’s Book
Day TwitterParty!
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!

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

And now the reviews!

I was gifted not one, not two, but FOUR books to review this year. Be still my heart.

Folk Tales From Japan written/compiled by Florence Sakade, illustrated by Yoshio Hayashi, publisher Tuttle Publishing.

Indonesian Children’s Favorite Stories written/compiled by Joan Suyenaga, illustrated by Salim Martiwiredjo, publisher Tuttle Publishing

Three Korean Fairy Tales written/compiled by Kim So-un, illustrated by Jeong Kyoung-Sim, publisher Tuttle Publishing

Making Their Voices Heard written by Vivian Kirkfield, illustrated by Alleanna Harris, publisher Simon & Schuster

Can I just say, I love kids books? The illustrations in all four of these books are absolutely STELLAR- huge kudos to the illustrators as well as the authors of these books. Each book has illustrations that uniquely suit them, and I love that. This is one of many places where diversity matters y’all- in the books we read to our children. Diving in!

Folk Tales and fairy tales have a special place in my literary heart. They are some of my first memories (that, and nightly readings of Lord of the Rings- what can I say, the geek runs deep) of books I really enjoyed, from the old worn out anthologies my mother had to Kipling’s Just So Stories (which, while not true folk tales, used the same mechanics), to my all time favorite and inspiration for the store name, The Little Red Hen. Folk tales and fairy tales are part of an oral tradition, used before everyone was literate and standardized education to teach children desired traits (honesty, loyalty, kindness) and safe actions (don’t take food from strangers, don’t go into the woods), about the world around them (why do cats and dogs fight?), and about cultural or religious traditions (tricksters, legendary animals, and more!). In each of the books of folk tales the stories compiled encompass all of these things- in Indonesian Children’s Favorite Stories you can learn about tricky monkeys, brave young men, and smart princesses. In Folk Tales From Japan there are 16 wonderful stories about nature (why is the sea salty?) and animals, and people, and of course food and kindness and getting along. Finally, in Three Korean Fairy Tales we get three longer stories teaching us why cats and dogs fight, why the rooster crows in the morning, and the value of working hard and looking closer, because things are not always as they appear. I absolutely love each one of these (and so do the chicks, for all they are 10 & 12 now) and recommend them for bedtime stories, afternoon stories, or really stories any time. The format and length make them great for reading aloud as well as quietly.

And finally, but not the least (they are all equally amazing) is Making Their Voices Heard, a story about the relationship between Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe, and the unique challenges each woman faced in their lives. Again, this book is wonderfully illustrated (children’s book illustrators are so awesome) and so well written. It tells the story in an age appropriate way (first through fourth grade, depending on child and reading level/comprehension) and doesn’t gloss over the challenges each had to get around due to gender and race. Then, like a historically accurate cherry on top, there are facts and resources at the end of the book, making it perfect for starting discussions about how things were back then, and how they have changed (or not changed) now. Who could ask for more?

I really recommend these, and all the other books being reviewed this year. This is a great place to find wonderful, unique, diverse books for kids, whether for home or in the classroom. Absolutely my favorite way to start the year.