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Monday, January 30, 2017

Celebrate Diversity in Children's Books #ReadYourWorld

This post sat in the queue of my brain too long and as a result, I'm late posting. Sometimes when that happens I make a decision to skip posting because the timeframe has passed. This time, I decided that just because Multicultural Children's Book Day was on January 17th, just one day of the year that doesn't mean it - and all of the authors and sponsors - shouldn't be recognized. Plus, I committed to it.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 is in its fourth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. The mission of the MCCBD is to raise awareness on the ongoing need to include kid’s books that celebrate diversity on home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents, and educators. Young readers need to see themselves within the pages of books, and other media, they read and they need to be able to experience other cultures, languages, traditions and religions. 

The MCCBD team encourages readers, parents, teachers, caregivers, and librarians to follow along with the event details, author visits, and fun book reviews by following a multicultural children's book linky and via their hashtag #ReadYourWorld on Twitter and other social media.

For the past couple of years I've participated (check out last year's MCCBD post) and this year I received a complimentary copy of Obstacles by Gregory E. Ransom. (Any opinions expressed are my own. Please read my complete disclosure policy for more information.)

From the back of the book: Growing up dwarfed by peers is a common problem, one faced by many and conquered by almost that number. In the grand scheme, it's a small predicament. But when your hometown is Humongopolis, smallness becomes a dilemma of giant proportions.

Meet Obstaclēs, a giant born without the most basic quality of his kind...size. Taking lonely nature walks and delaying bully beatdowns gets old. Even his friendship with Griff, a fugitive from the Land of Men, isn't enough to make things right...even if Griff's hideout does double as an underground library. 

Obstaclēs will have to hack through the Forest of Future Regret, span the Lake of Lost Souls, tangle with the lizard king, mix it up with Wasp Warriors, escape the Wendigo’s claws, and put the clamps on Changelings. Will Obstaclēs overcome? Or will the littlest giant let his deferred dream explode and embrace a fresh start?

Reader's Perspective

Gregory E. Ransom, author of Obstacles
What stands out about this book is the extreme creativity of the story. From the Fo Fum Prep that Obstacles, our antagonist, is determined to attend to the details that make up giants (including their giant-like names) - the book is definitely intriguing. Take, for instance, the name of the town: Humongopolis. Perfect, right? And, as you can see from the excerpt above, the creativity of the names doesn't end there.

I haven't gotten a chance to finish the book, but I'm not ashamed to admit I'm going to keep reading. If you're a parent or teacher you've probably read a children's book or two that you picked up for yourself. I'm going to read it to two of my girls - ages 9 and 12 and I had my 13-year-old son read some of it and he thought it was "cool." Not too descriptive, but if you speak teenager then you know that's pretty good praise. Obstacles isn't a book he'd choose to read, he said, because it's just not "his thing." 

It is my thing though: It's written by a creative author who has a way with words, it's a fantasy I can get into and it's a book I can share with my children and my granddaughter. 

Here are some great links for you to check out:
Free Multicultural Books for Teachers:
Free Kindness Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators:
Free Diversity Book Lists and Activities for Teachers and Parents:

Despite census data that shows 37 percent of the US population consists of people of color, only 10 percent of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team are on a mission to change all of that.

Current Sponsors:  

MCBD 2017 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. Platinum Sponsors include Scholastic, Barefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. Roman, Audrey Press, Candlewick Press,  Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTV, Capstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa, Author Gayle Swift, Wisdom Tales Press, Lee& Low Books, The Pack-n-Go Girls, Live Oak Media, Author Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books.

Author Sponsors include: 
Karen Leggett Abouraya, Veronica AppletonSusan Bernardo, Kathleen Burkinshaw, Maria DismondyD.G. DriverGeoff Griffin Savannah HendricksStephen HodgesCarmen Bernier-Grand,Vahid Imani, Gwen Jackson,  Hena, Kahn, David Kelly, Mariana LlanosNatasha Moulton-LevyTeddy O'Malley, Stacy McAnulty,  Cerece MurphyMiranda Paul, Annette Pimentel, Greg RansomSandra Richards, Elsa TakaokaGraciela Tiscareño-Sato,  Sarah Stevenson, Monica Mathis-Stowe SmartChoiceNation, Andrea Y. Wang 

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 work tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

Next year I'll be on time for my post, but in the meantime let me remind you to make multicultural books a regular part of your and your children's lives. Bringing diversity into your children's lives through the books they read is one way to widen their view of their world.
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