Today is Multicultural Children's Book Day! We invite you to invest in a mighty future by celebrating and advocating for inclusive representation and cultural insights found among the pages of diverse children's books. Co-founded by Mia Wenjen of Pragmatic Mom and Author/Publisher Valarie Budayr, Multicultural Children's Book Day's mission is simple: "Our mission 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."
Listening is learning. Join or observe the social media conversation around Multicultural Children's Book Day, donate to the cause, and find great book recommendations HERE. Follow the hashtags #ReadYourWorld and #WeNeedDiverseBooks today (and everyday!).
We are always looking to publish diverse authors! As well as books that are diverse, multicultural, and inclusive by nature. So, are you a multicultural author or an author of color? Have you written a children's book with diverse/multicultural/inclusive themes and characters? Submit a book to us for consideration HERE.
Read The Good Stuff.
We are so excited to be publishing two new titles in 2016 that emphasize a diverse casts of characters, multicultural representation, and inclusive storylines.
The Ugly Dumpling
April 7th, 2016
It’s not easy being the ugliest dumpling in a dim sum restaurant. Uneaten and ignored, the ugly dumpling is down in the dumps. But when an encouraging cockroach sees the dumpling’s inner beauty, this unlikely duo embarks on an eye-opening adventure, leading the ugly dumpling to discover its true identity and realize that being different is beautiful after all.
A modern fairytale retelling with a timeless moral: There’s a little ugly dumpling in all of us.
Author Stephanie Campisi sees food and mealtime as a perfect way to learn about other cultures:
"Dumplings are a food that you can find in so many cultures, and they're representative of the social and cultural importance of food," writes Campisi. "Mealtimes are such a key way of bringing people together – people you already know and love, and those you're just starting to welcome into the fold. Trying new food isn't just about the food – although that's always a bonus – it's about actively opening yourself up to a new culture or situation, and the opportunities for growth that come from that."
And when it comes to The Ugly Dumpling: "My dumpling is a dumpling out of place and out of time - or so it thinks," she explains. "The truth is that for all the harshness of the world and the difficulties it throws at us, there's a lot of kindness out there [...] Very, very rarely will you regret extending a moment of kindness."
Trying new food isn't just about the food ... it's about actively opening yourself up to a new culture or situation and the opportunities for growth that come from that.
Her advice to kids: "If ever you have a chance to try something new or unfamiliar, leap at it - you just might find out something new about yourself and the world." And don't forget: "It's absolutely okay to not fit in."
What she's reading: National Book Award Winner How to Be Drawn by Terrance Hayes
Some of her favorites: "I studied Russian at university, so I've always had a soft spot for the Russian classics. I can never get enough of the whimsy and weirdness of Gogol and Bulgakov."
Learn more about Stephanie HERE.
The Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee
September 6th, 2016
In this fantastical adventure-mystery, where science and magic intertwine, eleven-year-old Thelma Bee is never bored. In fact, she has curiosity and adventure in her blood. She spends her time running science experiments, practicing Spanish, and daydreaming about far-away landscapes. But Thelma gets more than she bargained for when a strange woman sells a jewelry box at her father’s antique shop. That night, a ghost kidnaps her father, and the only clues are the jewelry box and a word the ghost whispered in her ear: “Return.” Now it’s up to Thelma to get her dad back, and it might be harder than she thought—there’s someone wielding dark magic, and they’re coming after her next.
Author Erin Petti creates diverse character ensembles to reflect diversity in the world:
"Stories that feature cultures different than the reader's own can serve to inform, create roads to discussion, and nurture empathy," she explains. "I wanted to write the story that I had imagined. The fact that Thelma Bee features a diverse cast of characters is, I think, a reflection of the my experience and a desire to reflect the world in an authentic way - even though it's a fantasy adventure!"
How can we increase diversity and multicultural representation in children's literature? Erin offers some strategies, "It's normal to have a protagonist who is not white. White shouldn't be the default. Every child deserves to see themselves reflected in literature. This is a sentiment so crazily obvious and true. So, we need more books to tell those stories. The more that we support non-white authors (with our dollars and our reviews and everything else) the more books by POC authors will be published. The more kids who read books that feature characters like them, the more likely they'll be to grow up and write their own books."
White shouldn't be the default. Every child deserves to see themselves reflected in literature.
Her advice to kids: "The more pairs of eyes through which you view the world, the better!"
What she's reading: National Book Award Winner The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Some of her favorites: "My favorite Latina author is probably Sandra Cisneros. The House on Mango Street changed the way I thought about language when I read it for the first time. I love the way she writes!"
Learn more about Erin HERE.