Multicultural Children’s Book Day
Today is Multicultural Children’s Book Day! In the United States, there is sadly a significant lack of diversity in children’s book publishing. Children’s books have just not kept up the pace with the diverse population of our country. LEE and LOW Books are an independent publishing company focusing on multicultural children’s books, and one of the sponsors of today’s event. I found this wonderful post on their blog, http://blog.leeandlow.com/2013/06/17/why-hasnt-the-number-of-multicultural-books-increased-in-eighteen-years/ about why the number of multicultural books being published hasn’t increased in the last eighteen years. This post features thoughts from academics, authors, librarians, educators and book reviewers about why there are not more diverse books. It is a thoughtful post with some wonderful points of view, lots of food for thought, and it is definitely worth a read. One of my take aways from this piece is that it is not always easy to find multicultural and diverse children’s books, but if you actively seek them out, you will find them. If you read them and then talk about them, others can find them. If they are purchased, it helps publishers and book sellers to see the economic value of publishing and stocking even more books. A happy cycle begins!
Valarie Budayr, who writes the blog Jump Into A Book, and Mia Wenjen who writes Pragmatic Mom, have set out to give that happy cycle a big push! They have created Multicultural Children’s Book Day to celebrate and encourage diversity in children’s books by highlighting the wonderful books currently being published, and to help get them onto people’s radars, and into people’s hands.
I am so pleased to be a part of today’s event, as bloggers from around the world are reviewing and reveling in multicultural children’s books. As a mom, educator and passionate book lover, it is really important for me to both expose my children and students to many different people, cultures, and worldviews, and to support the people who are writing and publishing great books. A wise mentor of mine often said that books can hold up a mirror and let us see ourselves, or open a window and let in something new. Everyone wins when the books that we provide for our children feature diverse characters, settings and ideas because books feed our souls and our thinking, open our minds, and break down our barriers. I want all children to be able to see themselves in the books they read, and to have many books open up windows that are new to them.
For my small part, I will be reviewing a book about Metis cultural heritage called Girls Dance, Boys Fiddle, written by Carole Lindstrom and illustrated by Kimberly McKay. It is the story of a little girl named Metisse, who is helping to prepare for her Memere’s (grandma’s) birthday celebration. Metisse is to perform a butterfly dance with a group of other girls at the celebration. The butterfly dance is accompanied by traditional fiddle music, and is an important part of the Metis culture. According to the tradition, the girls dance and the boys fiddle. The problem is, Metisse neither likes dancing nor is very good at it, and she loves and shines when playing the fiddle. She wants to honor her Memere, so she tries her best to learn the dance. Meanwhile, a loving and supportive Pepere (grandfather) also supplies Metisse with fiddle lessons. In the end, the dance does not go well, but Metisse dazzles the party with her fiddling, and the whole family is pleased and encouraging.
Girls Dance, Boys Fiddle features an empathetic and loving family, a little girl who perseveres in discovering her true talents, and warm and vibrant illustrations. A glossary of Metis words used throughout the story is also included. What a wonderful way for all children to experience a piece of Metis culture.
Many thanks to Pemmican Publications Inc. for providing this book for me to review. All opinions expressed here in this post are purely my own.
I encourage everyone to seek out wonderful multicultural titles today and everyday! A great way to do that is to visit the blogs of the many wonderful people writing reviews on their sites today. I am including a list of those blogs below.
2GirlsLostInaBook · 365 Days of Motherhood · A Bilingual Baby · A Simple Life, Really? · Africa to America · After School Smarty Pants · All Done Monkey · Andi’s Kids Books · Anita Brown Bag · Austin Gilkeson · Barbara Ann Mojica · Books My Kids Read · Bottom Shelf Books · Cats Eat Dogs · Chasing The Donkey · Children’s Book-a-Day Almanac · Children’s Books Heal · Church o Books · CitizenBeta · Crafty Moms Share · Discovering The World Through My Son’s Eyes · Early Words · Flowering Minds · Franticmommy · Gathering Books · GEO Librarian · Gladys Barbieri · Going in Circles · Growing Book by Book · iGame Mom · I’m Not The Nanny · InCulture Parent · Itsy Bitsy Mom ·Just Children’s Books- Kid World Citizen · Kristi’s Book Nook · Mama Lady Books · Mama Smiles · Mission Read · Mother Daughter Book Reviews · Mrs AOk · MrsTeeLoveLifeLaughter · Ms. Yingling Reads · Multicultural Kids Blog · One Sweet World · Open Wide The World · P is for Preschooler · Rapenzel Dreams · School4Boys · Sharon the Librarian · Spanish Playground · Sprout’s Bookshelf · Squishable Baby · Stanley and Katrina · Teach Mama · The Art of Home Education · The Brain Lair · The Educators’ Spin On It · The Family-Ship Experience · The Yellow Door Paperie · This Kid Reviews Books · Trishap’s Books · Unconventional Librarian · Vicki Arnold · We3Three · World for Learning · Wrapped in Foil