In our home, we’re always looking for diverse books that empower girls. And we’re always looking for stories with women of color as the main character of the story. Books like this allow my girls to see themselves in the pages and understand that they are the star of their show. Megan Astolfi discusses the importance of the mirror effect books have, in a case study conducted at a North Carolina elementary school on personal reflection and read aloud texts. She states that failing to include diverse literature into the classroom curriculum, is a “disservice to our children of color, negatively impacting the development of their self-image and cultural identity” (9). Megan Astolfi points out that “educators need to think critically about the texts they are using during reading instruction”. Parents should take this advice to heart too.
I would like to take this point further. All children should read stories about people who are different than them. In an era of “otherness” and in a time when political leaders lack empathy for others, parents must be vigilant in teaching their children about respecting people, religious practices, and cultural practices that are different. Research on prejudice shows that coming in contact with people who are different – so-called “others” – helps to reduce stereotypes. A book is often the first real experience a child has with someone who is not like them. What message do we send to students from non-marginalized groups when we only use texts that reflect their culture and experiences?
In celebration of Multicultural Book Day 2018, we covered a few books about empowering girls of color, that we hope end up on EVERYONE’s shelves.
I continue to raise my daughters with the belief that women of all colors have a great amount of power and when given (or taking it when necessary) agency can accomplish great things. These books are great ways to reinforce, for girls and boys of all colors, the message that power resides within each of our decisions to stand up for something, to be proud of our culture, to speak out against violence and hatred, and to use each day as an opportunity to explore the world around us. It is our hope that you add these books to your home library or classroom reading list.
Multicultural Book Day is a celebration for everyone, but it’s really important that children of color and children of non-Christian religions hear positive stories about people that look like them. “Students of color become more engaged in texts that are being read when they see reflections of themselves in the characters of the story” (Freeman & Freeman, 2004).
“ARE OUR STUDENTS SEEING REFLECTIONS OF THEMSELVES IN THE TEXTS THAT ARE BEING READ BY THEIR TEACHERS?:
A CASE STUDY OF READ ALOUD TEXTS FROM A NORTH CAROLINA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL” by Megan Astolfi https://cdr.lib.unc.edu/indexablecontent/uuid:6888e32e-3e9b-473d-b2ca-1e1489d973c0
Get involved! More on Multicultural Children’s Book Day
Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2018 (1/27/18) is in its 5th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in 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.
Current Sponsors: MCBD 2018 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board.
2018 MCBD Medallion Sponsors
HONORARY: Children’s Book Council, Junior Library Guild
PLATINUM:Scholastic Book Clubs
GOLD:Audrey Press, Candlewick Press, Loving Lion Books, Second Story Press, Star Bright Books, Worldwide Buddies
SILVER:Capstone Publishing, Author Charlotte Riggle, Child’s Play USA, KidLit TV, Pack-n-Go Girls, Plum Street Press
BRONZE: Barefoot Books, Carole P. Roman, Charlesbridge Publishing, Dr. Crystal Bowe, Gokul! World, Green Kids Club, Gwen Jackson, Jacqueline Woodson, Juan J. Guerra, Language Lizard, Lee & Low Books, RhymeTime Storybooks, Sanya Whittaker Gragg, TimTimTom Books, WaterBrook & Multnomah, Wisdom Tales Press
2018 MCBD Author Sponsors
Honorary Author Sponsors: Author/Illustrator Aram Kim and Author/Illustrator Juana Medina, Author Janet Balletta, Author Susan Bernardo, Author Carmen Bernier-Grand, Author Tasheba Berry-McLaren and Space2Launch, Bollywood Groove Books, Author Anne Broyles, Author Kathleen Burkinshaw, Author Eugenia Chu, Author Lesa Cline-Ransome, Author Medeia Cohan and Shade 7 Publishing, Desi Babies, Author Dani Dixon and Tumble Creek Press, Author Judy Dodge Cummings, Author D.G. Driver, Author Nicole Fenner and Sister Girl Publishing, Debbi Michiko Florence, Author Josh Funk, Author Maria Gianferrari, Author Daphnie Glenn, Globe Smart Kids, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Author Quentin Holmes, Author Esther Iverem, Jennifer Joseph: Alphabet Oddities, Author Kizzie Jones, Author Faith L Justice , Author P.J. LaRue and MysticPrincesses.com, Author Karen Leggett Abouraya, Author Sylvia Liu, Author Sherri Maret, Author Melissa Martin Ph.D., Author Lesli Mitchell, Pinky Mukhi and We Are One, Author Miranda Paul, Author Carlotta Penn, Real Dads Read, Greg Ransom, Author Sandra L. Richards, RealMVPKids Author Andrea Scott, Alva Sachs and Three Wishes Publishing, Shelly Bean the Sports Queen, Author Sarah Stevenson, Author Gayle H. Swift Author Elsa Takaoka, Author Christine Taylor-Butler, Nicholette Thomas and MFL Publishing Author Andrea Y. Wang, Author Jane Whittingham Author Natasha Yim
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 works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.
TWITTER Party Sponsored by Scholastic Book Clubs
MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/27/18 at 9:00pm. Join the conversation and win one of 12-5 book bundles and one Grand Prize Book Bundle (12 books) that will be given away at the party! http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/twitter-party-great-conversations-fun-prizes-chance-readyourworld-1-27-18/
Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta
Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teacher-classroom-empathy-kit/
Join the Discussion on Social Media: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.
I'm a former teacher and former college athlete, currently working in edtech. My mission is to get parents to partner with their child's teacher.