Sunday, January 26, 2014

Multicultural Children’s Book Day: Celebrating Diversity in Children's Literature #MCKlitDay

I  am proud to be a member of Multicultural Children's Book Day. Multicultural Children's Book day is a day to celebrate diversity in Children's Literature.  You can visit various blogs who have reviewed multicultural books; please read mine below :)

The co-creators of this unique event are Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom and Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book/Audrey Press. You can find a bio for Mia here and Valarie here.

As, I looked through my children's library, yes- they have a mini library filled with wonderful literature- I was bewildered at my own lack of multicultural influence. Here I am in my home teaching diversity, yet, I don't have that influence in the books my children read.  
We often head to the public library to find books to help us immerse ourselves in other cultures and ideologies.  
My family, has been known to celebrate holidays and traditions from other cultures... because I feel it's important for my children to know what surrounds them.  Opening their mind to the world. 

One Hanukkah, my husband and I checked-out books for the kids,  purchased a menorah, and introduced them to Jewish foods.  This went over well with our children, however not so much with others who knew us.  
We were questioned for our decision:
"Why are you doing this?"
"Are you not celebrating Christmas anymore?" 
"Won't this confuse the children?"

This sent me on my own barrage of questions: 
"Why do you care?" 
"Are these your children?" 
"And, if we did choose to do so does it matter to you?"  
However, I found myself explaining ourselves... we want our children to be mindful of the world around them and respect that people have their own traditions.  You know.. we don't want them to be self-centered and ignorant to the world.  {By the way the kids still like to put up the menorah and indulge in Jewish foods}

We haven't stopped or nor did we start with Hanukkah we've done this for years, celebrating other cultures and religions. Books serve as life-lessons, as parents, caregivers, and teachers we can provide more insight into the world through a book.

And that's why I'm happy to be a part of a group who is asking, "Can we please have more diversity?"  
Celebrate Diversity! 

The Mission: Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day, Mia and Valarie are on a mission to change all of that. Their mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these types of books into classrooms and libraries. Another goal of this exciting event is create a compilation of books and favorite reads that will provide not only a new reading list for the winter, but also a way to expose brilliant books to families, teachers, and libraries.

Below you can visit a list of bloggers who are celebrating multicultural books.
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 · Kid Lit Reviews-Kid World Citizen · Kristi’s Book Nook · Mama Lady Books · Mama Smiles · Mission Read · Mother Daughter Book Reviews  · 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 

My family is multicultural.  My children are a mix of many cultures, because this is so-- it's tough to find books with characters who represent them.  

I want to introduce you to a book, that represents my extended family.  This book reminds me of the Holidays back home in Texas.  
Last year, I was able to make it back to Texas for the holidays; my children were happy to play with their cousins and be a part of the tamale-making at my Mom's house.

By Gary Soto, illustrated by Ed Martinez

First off I'm not sure you can ever have too many tamales but after the tamale-ring-search Maria and her cousins have, perhaps you can.  
In this book, Maria, feels grown-up making tamales with her mother; she's wearing her mother's apron, a little perfume, and when her mother steps away leaving her ring on the kitchen counter, Maria slips that on too.  Maria forgets about her mother's ring and begins working on the masa for the tamales. 
Maria and her parents finish making the tamales with no ring in sight.  
Maria's family comes over to visit and eat; while playing with her cousins she is reminded of the ring and begins to panic.  Maria and her cousins begin eating the 24 tamales in search of Maria's mother's ring.  This cute story, has a happy ending and a familar sense of family.  

I encourage you to read this book and try making your own tamales with your children.  Create a tradition. 

Chinese New Year is coming up, {January 31, 2014} I love reading books to get my kiddos ready, What We Do All Day, has a great list to get your children ready for the Chinese New Year.  Learn more about Chinese culture and explore new foods. 

Would you like to learn more about Multicultural Children's Book Day?  Click Here

Would you also like to win a full set of Wisdom Tales books? Giveaway Here

We are thankful to have these awesome sponsors for this event Wisdom Tales Press, Lee & Low Books Chronicle Books, and Susan Daniel Fayad: Author of  My Grandfather’s Masbaha.

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