Multicultural Children's Book Day 2021 is Jan. 29!
MCBD, a celebration of the diversity of kidlit, was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen and is back for its eighth year.
GROG supports the MCBD mission: to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include children's books celebrating diversity in homes and on school and library bookshelves.
Read more about MCBD's features and history here and check out the Twitter Party information and other resources listed at the end of this post.
To celebrate MCBD, bloggers post their reviews of newly published diverse books for kids. This year I'm excited to be reviewing two picture books published last year by Barefoot Books: From My Window, by Otavio Junior, illustrated by Vanina Starkoff, and Amazing Places, by Miralda Colombo, illustrated by Beatrice Cerocchi.
In From My Window, author Otavio Junior, using language so lyrical it's a poem, describes a young narrator's view from the window of his home in Rio de Janeiro. The narrator lives in one of the city's favelas, informal ramshackle neighborhoods without government services such as running water and sewer.
A big part of the delight of this book is that it's an #OwnVoices story, about a kind of neighborhood not often seen in kids' books. The author grew up in a favela. As a boy, he discovered a book in the trash. Junior says that book saved him, and that he's been reading ever since. He grew up to establish a children's library in his favela. In this book, he conveys the joys of life in the self-governed favela community, full of friends, music, and games.
I appreciated that From My Window provides background information, including that "while it is known for having problems with violence, there are many other parts of life in a favela." Junior tells us that a favela "is a whole world inside a city, with its language, culture, and traditions."
Vanina Starkoff's illustrations are brilliantly colored with fanciful details, sure to engage young readers. They convey the author's joy in his home, along with feelings of sadness and fear at different points in the story. Starkoff is from Argentina and also lives in Brazil; her art shows her familiarity with the tropical beauty of South America.
Beatrice Cerocchi's art conveys the magic of these places. Cartoon-like features depict what you'd need to pack and things you might see and do in the featured attractions. Overall this is a terrific introduction to natural and cultural wonders around the world.
Barefoot Books is a publisher to follow. They produce beautifully illustrated books with heart and soul. Many of them bring a global perspective to introductory nonfiction for kids. I'm particularly excited about this house because they're set to publish my book (which is all about water) this fall. I've been collaborating intensely with the creative team over these last months, and am finding them a joy to work with.
So, happy Multicultural Children's Book Day! Why not read on for a selection of amazing diverse-books resources. Check out the Twitter Party on Friday, and celebrate MCBD by reading!
Free MCBD Resources:
Twitter Party is Friday, Jan. 29, at 9 p.m. EST
Book discussions, recommendations, ideas and inspiration, plus GIVE-AWAYS!