Today we celebrate second Multicultural Children’s Book Day. The goal of this event is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these of books into classrooms and libraries. I am delighted to participate in this event for the second year in the row as a reviewer.
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Capstone Young Readers generously sent me their new book Juneteenth For Mazie by Floyd Cooper. This book will be available on February 1, 2015, and it will be a perfect read for Black History Month. The timing of the book is significant, because this year we celebrate 150th anniversary of Juneteenth - the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. I admit that I have never heard about this holiday until I received this book for review – perhaps because I always lived either in the Northern states of New York and New Jersey or in the Western State of California. As it turns out, the holiday originated in Texas where on June 19th, 1865 the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Now Juneteenth is officially recognized as a state or ceremonial holiday in 43 out of 50 states. You can read more about the holiday on the official Juneteenth site.
Let’s return to the book itself. Mazie is a modern girl, and this story starts with her sulking, because she is too little and can’t go where she wants, have what she wants or do what she wants. Her father comforts her and tells her a story of her ancestors who “heard “no” a lot more", even as adults. Floyd Cooper brilliantly captured in his color palette a solemn, but positive mood of this holiday while explaining the history behind it in the way that young readers (the book is recommended for children age 6-9) can connect to. My only gripe is that the Juneteenth celebration in the book features exclusively African American characters, which in my mind defeats the purpose of making others relate to the holiday and ignores many biracial families out there.
Activities to Enjoy With This Book
- Watch What is Juneteenth? on YouTube
- Read African Folktales
- Try this Juneteenth Word Search puzzle
- Try one of these Black History Art Projects
- Cook one of "Soul Food" recipes
Your Turn?What is your children’s current favorite book that features multicultural characters?
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Celebrating Multicultural Children’s Book Day
- The Multicultural Children's Books Day (MCCBD) website that will have book reviews from noted bloggers all over the world, giveaways and book-related activities for young readers of all ages.
- The MCCBD team is also partnering with First Book to offer a Virtual Book Drive that will help donate multicultural children’s books during the week of the event. We want to help get diversity books into the hands of kids who most need it.
- MCCBD is collaborating with Children’s Book Council to highlight wonderful diversity books and authors on an ongoing basis all year. Thank you to the Children's Book Council for their support and contribution!
- Schools 'N More is proud to participate with over 100 established bloggers reviewing multicultural children’s books.
2015 SponsorsMCCBD’s 2015 Sponsors include Platinum Sponsors: Wisdom Tales Press, Daybreak Press Global Bookshop; Gold Sponsors: Satya House, MulticulturalKids.com, Author Stephen Hodges and the Magic Poof; Silver Sponsors: Junior Library Guild, Capstone Publishing, Lee and Low Books, The Omnibus Publishing; Bronze Sponsors: Double Dutch Dolls, Bliss Group Books, Snuggle with Picture Books Publishing, Rainbow Books, Author Felicia Capers, Chronicle Books, Muslim Writers Publishing, East West Discovery Press.
Multicultural Children’s Book Day also now has its own Paper.li! A Paper.li is a free online newspaper that aggregates information on the topic of multicultural books for kids from all over the Internet. You can subscribeto stay up-to-date with this topic. Also watch for the hashtag: #ReadYourWorld and get updates via Twitter and Facebook!
Nine cohosts will help use their sites, readerships and reach to pass the word about MCCBD:
Africa to America, All Done Monkey, The Educators’ Spin On It, Growing Book by Book, InCultureParent, Kid World Citizen, Mama Smiles, Multicultural Kid Blogs, Sprout’s Bookshelf
There is also a great line-up of Author Sponsors. You can find out more about them and their multicultural books on the Author Blogroll Page!