multicultural children's picture books

Picture it in Books – Our Multicultural World – #readilearn

One of the things that brings most joy to our world, that inspires imagination and sparks creativity, is variety. The richness of our multicultural world is to be celebrated and the current recognition of the need for diverse picture books in which children from every culture and family background can find themselves is long overdue. The collection, though still small, is growing.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCBD) is an organisation that has been promoting multicultural children’s books for the past nine years. Founded by Valarie Budayr from Audrey Press Books and Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom in 2012, MCBD has a mission ‘To raise awareness for children’s books that celebrate diversity by getting more of these books into classrooms and libraries. This non-profit also strives to shine the spotlight on the diverse books and authors that often get overlooked by mainstream publishing and media.’

On the last Friday of January each year, Multicultural Children’s Book Day is celebrated with reviews, promotions and other events. I have been delighted to join in the celebration of multicultural books by sharing reviews for the past three MCBDays.

I participated for the first time in 2019 with a review of I am Farmer by Baptiste and Miranda Paul with illustrations by Elizabeth Zunon.

I Am Farmer is the story of Tantoh Nforba, an environmental hero in the central African nation of Cameroon. Tantoh was bullied as a child and nicknamed ‘Farmer’ for his interest in plants, the earth and nature. He now bears the name ‘Farmer’ proudly as he improves the lives of people in his own community, and others, by improving access to clean water and establishing productive gardening practices.

In 2020, I reviewed two books: The Secrets Hidden Beneath the Palm Tree written by Angeliki Stamatopoulou-Pederson and illustrated by Tety Swlou, and Ribbon’s Traveling Castle by Elizabeth Godley with illustrations by Paige M. Leyh.

The Secrets Hidden Beneath the Palm Tree is about Jacob who hears with the assistance of hearing aids. Jacob tells his friends how the aids help him hear better, just as glasses help people see better. He explains what they (the children) can do to help him hear and understand them better. As children’s understanding grows, so does their friendship.

Ribbon’s Traveling Castle is the story of a girl called Ribbon whose father was uncomfortable with the constantly changing world. He hitched their castle to a truck to take her somewhere happier. On their travels, Ribbon meets a cast of characters, all of whom are scared of changed. She invites them into her castle where they learn to accept change and find that life can still be fun.

This year, I once again had the pleasure of reviewing two books:

Continue reading: Picture it in Books – Our Multicultural World – readilearn

17 thoughts on “Picture it in Books – Our Multicultural World – #readilearn

  1. Patricia Tilton

    I love MCBD! Somehow I didn’t see your entry last year, The Secrets Hidden Beneath the Palm Tree. There are SO few books about children with hearing impairments, have cochlear implants or are deaf! Am always on the outlook. My daughter has worn hearing aids since age 4 (now 37). Her audiologist always visited her elementary classroom at the beginning of each new school year to talk about hearing aids. It was helpful. But she still got teased, especially because she had speech therapy at school, along with another hearing impaired boy. Will check out the book.

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    1. Norah Post author

      I think I probably heard about MCBD from you, Patricia.
      I’ll be interested to know what you think of The Secrets Hidden Behind the Palm Tree. It is wonderful to see so many more diverse books being published. We need them – on all sorts of topics.
      I’m sorry that your daughter got teased for wearing hearing aids. I’m not sure why the teasing seems to start at school age. Prior to that children seem to be very accepting of difference. As long as they have someone to play with (or alongside) it’s okay.

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  2. Miriam Hurdle

    What a great idea, Nora, to celebrate our multicultural world. My daughter gave a presentation about Hong Kong after we came back from our trip.

    I’m almost ready to publish my first children’s book. I just sent the file to do the formatting. I’ll upload it on Amazon beginning of April, and check a few thing before pressing the button “publish.”

    After reading your post, I’ll write the next book to do with multiculture.

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    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for your lovely comment, Miriam. I’m pleased the post has inspired you to write a multicultural book of your own.
      I look forward to seeing your first children’s book when it becomes available next month.

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  3. petespringerauthor

    What a fabulous idea to have a Multicultural Day promoting diversity. We used to do something similar at our school. Each one of us would represent a country, and the kids would travel from country to country (classroom to classroom) carrying a passport and participate in some activities while they were visiting.

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    1. Norah Post author

      I agree that Multicultural Children’s Book Day is a great organisation and event. It is good to see an increase in the number of diverse books being published.
      Your passport to around the world sounds fun. I’m sure children would have enjoyed it.

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