This year, I was fortunate to participate in Multicultural Children’s Book Day and receive two books to review! First, a bit of information about the day from the organizers:
“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. ”
I love the idea of making books written by people from around the world available to a wider audience, because they give children a chance to see themselves and others in books, which will hopefully lead to a better acceptance of different people, lifestyles, and opinions. Who better to tell the story of being Hindu, than a Hindu? Or being a Latinx kid in the US than an author who had that very experience? So, without further ado, the books!
Maya and Annie on Saturdays and Sundays/Los sábados y domingos de Maya y Annie by Gwendolyn Zepeda
Disclaimer: This book was provided to me by Arte Publico Press. The review and opinions are my own.
Maya and Annie are the best of friends that only get to see each other on weekends. Each girl alternates talking about activities they do with their friend’s family and the differences between them. Annie lives in a large house with a father who serves food like dumplings and gai lan broccoli. And she’s Vietnamese. Maya lives in a smaller house with two dogs, a mother that prepares tamales and pozole soup, and is Latina. The girls share their own traditions with one another, as well as normal activities, and can’t wait for the weekend when they can be together, even when they sometimes fight.
Then comes a change in the story: Maya’s mother and Annie’s father are getting married. This doesn’t mean much to the girls, until they realize that instead of only seeing each other on the weekend, they get to see each other every day!
The story is told in a straightforward manner, with each girl listing activities, foods, and short asides about how much the friendship means to them. Illustrations are colorful and characters have expressive faces. Best of all, to me at least, the story is in Spanish and English (a translation into Vietnamese would have also been a nice touch, to honor all cultures in the book). This isn’t a book I would share in a storytime, as it’s a little long for group readalouds, and the story is more subtle, but I do think there is a lot to like about this book: friends who like each other more for their differences, who don’t necessarily understand the bigger picture but revel in the small moments, less traditional family structures…
While I didn’t see much similarity between these titles initially (see my review of A Day in the Life here), the process of writing these reviews has highlighted their similarities. Besides both being about people of color living in the United States, both focus on daily activities and routines, with an eye to what makes their day a little different from other children. Almost all children will see something they recognize from their own experience, and something new in Maya and Annie. I’m imagining how these books can lead to extension activities, serving the food mentioned within (dosa, gai lan, pozole), followed by crafts and celebrations of holidays like Las Posadas and Lunar New Year.
If you are interested in Multicultural Children’s Book Day, and want to learn about other titles, check out some of the links below. Their website will also link to reviews and provides a lot of other useful information.
MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board!
Medallion Level Sponsors
Super Platinum: Make A Way Media
BRONZE: Charlesbridge Publishing, Judy Dodge Cummings, Author Gwen Jackson, Kitaab World, Language Lizard – Bilingual & Multicultural Resources in 50+ Languages, Lee & Low Books, Miranda Paul and Baptiste Paul, Redfin, Author Gayle H. Swift, T.A. Debonis-Monkey King’s Daughter, TimTimTom Books, Lin Thomas, Sleeping Bear Press/Dow Phumiruk, Vivian Kirkfield,
MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Author Sponsors on board
Honorary: Julie Flett, Mehrdokht Amini, Author Janet Balletta, Author Kathleen Burkinshaw, Author Josh Funk, Chitra Soundar, One Globe Kids – Friendship Stories, Sociosights Press and Almost a Minyan, Karen Leggett, Author Eugenia Chu, CultureGroove Books, Phelicia Lang and Me On The Page, L.L. Walters, Author Sarah Stevenson, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Hayley Barrett, Sonia Panigrah, Author Carolyn Wilhelm, Alva Sachs and Dancing Dreidels, Author Susan Bernardo, Milind Makwana and A Day in the Life of a Hindu Kid, Tara Williams, Veronica Appleton, Author Crystal Bowe, Dr. Claudia May, Author/Illustrator Aram Kim, Author Sandra L. Richards, Erin Dealey, Author Sanya Whittaker Gragg, Author Elsa Takaoka, Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo, Anita Badhwar, Author Sylvia Liu, Feyi Fay Adventures, Author Ann Morris, Author Jacqueline Jules, CeCe & Roxy Books, Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace, LEUYEN PHAM, Padma Venkatraman, Patricia Newman and Lightswitch Learning, Shoumi Sen, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Traci Sorell, Shereen Rahming, Blythe Stanfel, Christina Matula, Julie Rubini, Paula Chase, Erin Twamley, Afsaneh Moradian, Lori DeMonia, Claudia Schwam, Terri Birnbaum/ RealGirls Revolution, Soulful Sydney, Queen Girls Publications, LLC
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 works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.
Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts
A Crafty Arab, Agatha Rodi Books, All Done Monkey, Barefoot Mommy, Biracial Bookworms, Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms Share, Colours of Us, Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, Descendant of Poseidon Reads, Educators Spin on it, Growing Book by Book, Here Wee Read, Joy Sun Bear/ Shearin Lee, Jump Into a Book, Imagination Soup,Jenny Ward’s Class, Kid World Citizen, Kristi’s Book Nook, The Logonauts, Mama Smiles, Miss Panda Chinese, Multicultural Kid Blogs, Raising Race Conscious Children, Shoumi Sen, Spanish Playground
TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Make A Way Media: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual @McChildsBookDay 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 ( a prize every 5 minutes!). GO HERE for more details.
FREE RESOURCES From MCBD
Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta
Free 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.