Monthly Archives: January 2023

58 Minutes in Driftland for Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2023 #ReadYourWorld

This Thursday 26 January 2023 is Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCBD), a day for celebrating diversity in children’s books. I am pleased to be a MCBD reviewer for the fifth time this year; and was delighted to receive a copy of 58 Minutes in Driftland, Journey to Another Realm from indie author I.S.A. Crisostomo-Lopez to review.

About the book

A coming-of-age story about a young Filipino immigrant in the US, Alunsinag Bayani, who despite being bullied in school, was able to discover his strengths and potential when he accidentally stepped in Driftland, an alternate realm where he could switch places with his more efficient self for 58 minutes. Together with his friends, Ju-long from Hong Kong and Tej from Bangalore, he must battle to overcome his fears and nightmares, win the heart of his crush Ziya, win the basketball tournament alongside class bully Lucas, and save Driftland as among (sic) the Warriors of Light.

About the author

I.S.A. Crisostomo-Lopez is a writer based in Binan City, Philippines. She earned her B.A. Communication Arts degree from the University of the Philippines Los Baños in 1996 and her M.F.A. in Creative Writing degree from De La Salle University Manila in 2003. She is married with four children. She has published several works of fiction including “Passage,” which was anthologized in “Hoard of Thunder 2: Philippine Short Stories in English” by UP Press. She has also written storybooks for children, “Si Lola Apura at si Lolo Un Momento” by Adarna House and “Ang Bisikleta ni Kyla,” by Philam Foundation. She has also published a science fiction trilogy, the “Driftland” series for young adult readers. Her latest novel, “The Waters of Manila Bay are Never Silent” is published by Penguin Random House Southeast Asia.

What I like about 58 Minutes in Driftland

While not my usual choice of genre, I found this novel enjoyable and easy to read. Its cast of culturally diverse teenage characters has interests similar to those of its target teenage audience, including basketball and anime. Problems with family, friends and classmates, including discrimination and bullies, are relatable, as are the questions often pondered – Who am I? Where do I belong? How do I fit in? What is my purpose in life?

The book has a positive and optimistic outlook and recognises that we all, including bullies, have fears to overcome. While the science fiction/fantasy elements are used in solving problems, it is simply a tool for helping the characters tap into their more ‘efficient’, more confident and capable selves. It empowers readers by helping them recognise and release their own unlimited potential, knowing that nothing will happen if they don’t have a go for “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” (Suzy Kassem)

One of the things I particularly like about the book is that each chapter is introduced by a motivational quote, such as the one by Kassem above. In addition, woven throughout the text, without being didactic, are words of wisdom for pondering and reflection.

While a number of situations arise and problems are solved in this book, it ends with a cliff-hanger which will encourage readers to dive into the second and third books in the series.

In 58 Minutes in Driftland science fiction meets the real world in an interesting blend of relatable characters with recognisable emotions facing familiar situations with elements of fantasy. It’s a story that will encourage readers to follow their dreams and believe in themselves. It tells us that “You never win any games you don’t play” (Mark Cuban) and that “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” (Dale Carnegie) I think these are pretty good reminders.

About Multicultural Children’s Book Day

(Information supplied by MCBD)

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2023 (1/26/22) is in its 10th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those books into the hands of young readers and educators.

Ten years in, MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves continues. Read about our Mission & History HERE.

MCBD 2023 is honored to be Supported by these Medallion Sponsors!

FOUNDER’S CIRCLE: Mia Wenjen (Pragmaticmom) and Valarie Budayr’s (Audreypress.com)

🏅 Super Platinum Sponsor: Author Deedee Cummings and Make A Way Media

🏅 Platinum Sponsors: Language Lizard Bilingual Books in 50+ Languages 

🏅 Gold Sponsors: Interlink Books, Publisher Spotlight 

🏅 Silver Sponsors: Cardinal Rule Press,  Lee & Low, Barefoot Books, Kimberly Gordon Biddle

🏅 Bronze Sponsors: Vivian Kirkfield, Patrice McLaurin , Quarto Group, Carole P. Roman, Star Bright Books, Redfin.com, Redfin Canada, Bay Equity Home Loans, Rent.com, Title Forward

Poster Artist:  Lisa Wee

Classroom Kit Poster: Led Bradshaw

MCBD 2023 is honored to be Supported by these Author Sponsors!

Authors: Sivan Hong, Amanda Hsiung-Blodgett, Josh Funk , Stephanie M. Wildman, Gwen Jackson, Diana Huang, Afsaneh Moradian, Kathleen Burkinshaw, Eugenia Chu, Jacqueline Jules, Alejandra Domenzain, Gaia Cornwall, Ruth Spiro, Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo, Tonya Duncan Ellis, Kiyanda and Benjamin Young/Twin Powers Books, Kimberly Lee , Tameka Fryer Brown, Talia Aikens-Nuñez, Marcia Argueta Mickelson, Kerry O’Malley Cerra, Jennie Liu, Heather Murphy Capps, Diane Wilson, Sun Yung Shin, Shannon Gibney, John Coy, Irene Latham and Charles Waters, Maritza M Mejia, Lois Petren, J.C. Kato and J.C.², CultureGroove, Lindsey Rowe Parker, Red Comet Press, Shifa Saltagi Safadi, Nancy Tupper Ling, Deborah Acio, Asha Hagood, Priya Kumari, Chris Singleton, Padma Venkatraman, Teresa Robeson, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Martha Seif Simpson, Rochelle Melander, Alva Sachs, Moni Ritchie Hadley, Gea Meijering, Frances Díaz Evans, Michael Genhart, Angela H. Dale, Courtney Kelly, Queenbe Monyei, Jamia Wilson, Charnaie Gordon, Debbie Ridpath Ohi, Debbie Zapata, Jacquetta Nammar Feldman, Natasha Yim, Tracy T. Agnelli, Kitty Feld, Anna Maria DiDio, Ko Kim, Shachi Kaushik 

MCBD 2023 is Honored to be Supported by our CoHosts and Global CoHosts!

MCBD 2023 is Honored to be Supported by theseMedia Partners!

Check out MCBD’s Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board!

📌 FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day

📌 Register for the MCBD Read Your World Virtual Party

Join us on Thursday, January 26, 2023, at 9 pm EST for the 10th annual Multicultural Children’s Book Day Read Your World Virtual Party!

This epically fun and fast-paced hour includes multicultural book discussions, addressing timely issues, diverse book recommendations, & reading ideas.

We will be giving away a 10-Book Bundle during the virtual party plus Bonus Prizes as well! *** US and Global participants welcome. **

Follow the hashtag #ReadYourWorld to join the conversation, and connect with like-minded parts, authors, publishers, educators, organizations, and librarians. We look forward to seeing you all on January 26, 2023, at our virtual party!

123 Who Comes Next? for Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2023 #ReadYourWorld #123WhoComesNext?

This Thursday 26 January 2023 is Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCBD), a day for celebrating diversity in children’s books. I am pleased to be a MCBD reviewer for the fifth time this year; and was delighted to receive a copy of 123 Who Comes Next? from Star Bright Books.

About the Book

Here comes a boy, that is 1. Next comes a girl, that together makes 2. A lady joins the two, which makes them 3. Then comes a dog! How many will they make?

Creatures great and small—and even a vegetable— all come together to help children learn to count 1 to 10 and to recognize numbers. Young readers will be eager to see who comes next, and what number they are. The last page, of course, is the most surprising and fun to all. Artist Amy Matsushita-Beal presents a simple and delightful counting book of diverse characters. The whimsical details on each character add another layer of playfulness for young children.

  • Board Book / Recommended Ages 2-4 years
  • Also available in Haitian Creole/English and Spanish/English bilingual editions.

This delightful counting board book of diverse characters will be available in May 2023. It was created for a Haitian Creole book project at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California. School Library Journal (Starred Review) calls it “remarkably clever count book” and “an essential purchase for all collections.”


About the Author/Illustrator

Amy Matsushita-Beal is a freelance illustrator, designer, and hand-lettering artist based in Tokyo. Amy was born and raised in Los Angeles and graduated from the Art Center College of Design. While presented in a variety of styles, Amy’s work tends to focus on people, their intentions, and vibrancy in color and character. 123 Who Comes Next? is Amy’s first book with Star Bright Books. Visit: amymatsushitabeal.com

What I like about 123 Who Comes Next?

This counting book 123 Who Comes Next? is surprisingly delightful. By that, I mean it delights with a surprise at every page turn.

We’re all familiar with books that count from one to ten and know just what to expect. It’s true that this book fulfills those expectations, starting with one friendly boy greeting one friendly girl, adding one more on each page up to ten.

What surprises and delights, both characters and readers, is what is added to each page. The characters’ differing reactions to each newcomer create humour and provide opportunities for discussions of emotions, reactions and reasons for responding so. The minimal text (simply numeral and number word) leaves plenty of room for storytelling.

On the other hand, being able to focus on the numerals and number words helps develop number recognition as well as counting. In addition, having the numerals written on each of the characters in order of their appearance helps to develop one-to-one correspondence, an early number concept just as important as the ability to count.

I won’t give away any more. I’ll just say that this fun book provides many opportunities for language development as well learning beginning number concepts. The inclusion of diverse characters broadens its appeal. It’s a fun one to add to the collection. We can never have too many counting books.

About Multicultural Children’s Book Day

(Information supplied by MCBD)

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2023 (1/26/22) is in its 10th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those books into the hands of young readers and educators.

Ten years in, MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves continues. Read about our Mission & History HERE.

MCBD 2023 is honored to be Supported by these Medallion Sponsors!

FOUNDER’S CIRCLE: Mia Wenjen (Pragmaticmom) and Valarie Budayr’s (Audreypress.com)

🏅 Super Platinum Sponsor: Author Deedee Cummings and Make A Way Media

🏅 Platinum Sponsors: Language Lizard Bilingual Books in 50+ Languages 

🏅 Gold Sponsors: Interlink Books, Publisher Spotlight 

🏅 Silver Sponsors: Cardinal Rule Press,  Lee & Low, Barefoot Books, Kimberly Gordon Biddle

🏅 Bronze Sponsors: Vivian Kirkfield, Patrice McLaurin , Quarto Group, Carole P. Roman, Star Bright Books, Redfin.com, Redfin Canada, Bay Equity Home Loans, Rent.com, Title Forward

Poster Artist:  Lisa Wee

Classroom Kit Poster: Led Bradshaw

MCBD 2023 is honored to be Supported by these Author Sponsors!

Authors: Sivan Hong, Amanda Hsiung-Blodgett, Josh Funk , Stephanie M. Wildman, Gwen Jackson, Diana Huang, Afsaneh Moradian, Kathleen Burkinshaw, Eugenia Chu, Jacqueline Jules, Alejandra Domenzain, Gaia Cornwall, Ruth Spiro, Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo, Tonya Duncan Ellis, Kiyanda and Benjamin Young/Twin Powers Books, Kimberly Lee , Tameka Fryer Brown, Talia Aikens-Nuñez, Marcia Argueta Mickelson, Kerry O’Malley Cerra, Jennie Liu, Heather Murphy Capps, Diane Wilson, Sun Yung Shin, Shannon Gibney, John Coy, Irene Latham and Charles Waters, Maritza M Mejia, Lois Petren, J.C. Kato and J.C.², CultureGroove, Lindsey Rowe Parker, Red Comet Press, Shifa Saltagi Safadi, Nancy Tupper Ling, Deborah Acio, Asha Hagood, Priya Kumari, Chris Singleton, Padma Venkatraman, Teresa Robeson, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Martha Seif Simpson, Rochelle Melander, Alva Sachs, Moni Ritchie Hadley, Gea Meijering, Frances Díaz Evans, Michael Genhart, Angela H. Dale, Courtney Kelly, Queenbe Monyei, Jamia Wilson, Charnaie Gordon, Debbie Ridpath Ohi, Debbie Zapata, Jacquetta Nammar Feldman, Natasha Yim, Tracy T. Agnelli, Kitty Feld, Anna Maria DiDio, Ko Kim, Shachi Kaushik 

MCBD 2023 is Honored to be Supported by our CoHosts and Global CoHosts!

MCBD 2023 is Honored to be Supported by theseMedia Partners!

Check out MCBD’s Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board!

📌 FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day

📌 Register for the MCBD Read Your World Virtual Party

Join us on Thursday, January 26, 2023, at 9 pm EST for the 10th annual Multicultural Children’s Book Day Read Your World Virtual Party!

This epically fun and fast-paced hour includes multicultural book discussions, addressing timely issues, diverse book recommendations, & reading ideas.

We will be giving away a 10-Book Bundle during the virtual party plus Bonus Prizes as well! *** US and Global participants welcome. **

Follow the hashtag #ReadYourWorld to join the conversation, and connect with like-minded parts, authors, publishers, educators, organizations, and librarians. We look forward to seeing you all on January 26, 2023, at our virtual party!}

A Lady Shadow #99WordStories

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a lady shadow. Who is this person and why do they lurk in the shadows. What is the tone and setting for your story? Go where the prompt leads!

I pondered how I could make a connection between children and a lady shadow without sinister overtones that seemed to crawl out from the dark with every beginning. I finally decided to write about the fun that children have playing chase with their shadows, knowing that they can never catch their own. I hope you enjoy it.

Chasing Shadows

Unable to catch their own shadows that stretched across the sand, they jumped on each other’s then dashed for safety in the tumbling waves. As they dived and splashed, the playful wind captured their laughter and carried it far.

Dragging their shadows up compacted wet sand, they compared footprints that waves would soon erase. Where it met dry, another’s shadow immobilised them as might a barbed-wire fence. They cast their eyes along the lady shadow’s length, then squinted upward at the face, obscure and unreadable, haloed by the setting sun.

“It’s time to go,” said mum.

“Coming,” they chorused.

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

Note: The collection of stories made in response to the previous prompt Rabbits, including mine, can be read at the Carrot Ranch.

Rabbits #99WordStories

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes rabbits. Is it a family? A strange planet? Some crazy bunny person’s pets? Who are they and what are they doing? Go where the prompt leads!

I immediately thought of the rabbit holes that many find themselves in when conducting an internet search. I wondered how the rabbits might feel with all those unwelcome intruders, so that’s where I went with my story. I’m not sure if it works or not.

In the Rabbit Hole

Edward completed every form, followed all protocols, even smiled sweetly at bully boss bunny; but his request for leave was denied.

“When numbers ease,” his supervisor promised.

“If ever,” muttered Edward. The monotony was as overwhelming as the numbers that increased exponentially. Who said rabbits multiplied quickly? If only they’d find another burrow to tumble into.

 “Next!”

Edward recorded the unremarkably similar responses without enthusiasm.

“What brought you here? Where did you begin? Did you find what you wanted? What do you want now?”

“Out of this rabbit hole.”

No more than I. Close all tabs. Start over. Next!”

And while on the subject of rabbits, I was pleased to see the prompt’s relevance to Chinese New Year celebrations which begin on January 22nd. In the Chinese Zodiac, this year is the Year of the Rabbit. My daughter and my granddaughter (son’s daughter) are Rabbits, having been born in previous Years of the Rabbit.

The Chinese Zodiac repeats in a cycle of twelve animal years. Unrelated to her Chinese animal year, when she was little, my daughter loved rabbits and had quite a collection of rabbit ornaments and toys. She would have loved a pet bunny, but they are not permitted in Queensland as rabbits are an imported species that has been quite destructive to native wildlife and agriculture.

When the suggestion was made to replace the Easter Bunny with the Easter Bilby (to raise awareness of the bilby’s vulnerability), my daughter was adamant that it should remain the Bunny. She refused to acknowledge the bilby at all. Fortunately, her heart softened towards bilbies as she got older and became more concerned about the conservation of the species rather than its role at Easter.

Another interesting connection is that, in Chinese culture, rabbits represent the moon and stories are told about the rabbit in the moon rather than the man in the moon as Westerners often tell. Having heard the story, I am always fascinated to see the rabbit in the moon and consider it more recognisable than the man. Have a look next time you’re out on a bright night and let me know what you think.

If you wish to know more about Chinese New Year, please check out a wonderful resource that fellow blogger Mabel Kwong wrote with me a few years ago. It’s on the readilearn website and is free to access. It’s called Let’s read about Chinese New Year.

If you haven’t already met Mabel, then I suggest you pop over to her eponymous blog Mabel Kwong and have a read. Mabel explores her experience of being Asian and living in multicultural Australia. I learn so much from her about how to treat others with respect. Her posts are always a delight to read and incredibly thought-provoking.

Now that’s a little rabbit hole I’ve drawn you into.

As you know, I’ve been having a bit of a break, a sabbatical, from blogging, as I try to get my head into gear for 2023. Last week, Charli’s prompt was to write about a sabbatical. I didn’t join in, but many others did. You can read their stories at the Carrot Ranch here.

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.