Battling the Diversity Gap in Kids\’ Books | Multicultural Children\’s Book Day

Books play a huge part in all children’s lives. Numerous studies have also shown that reading to a child as little as twenty minutes per week will not only result in stronger readers but ones who carry a love of literature into adulthood. But just as important as having quality books available for young readers is the ability for them to be able to “see themselves” within the pages of the books they read.

In 2013, children’s book publishing powerhouse, Lee and Low, pin-pointed a very startling statistic that had parents and teachers puzzled and authors of children’s books buzzing with dismay. Lee and Low’s study showed that, although 37% of the nation’s population consisted of people of color, only ten percent of the children’s books published over that last two decades have contained multicultural content. In a nutshell; children’s literature has largely been very white up until the last few years.

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Multicultural children’s books typically are books that contain characters of color as well as characters that represent a minority point of view. These books share ideas, stories, and information about cultures, race, religion, language, and traditions that provide a portal for children to be able to connect to a diverse and richer world. This categorization also extends to supporting and showcasing authors of color and books that encourage dialogue around unique circumstances like special needs, adoption, and LGBTQ.

So why is this lack of diversity in children’s books an issue? Children’s literacy advocate, First Book, revealed a huge reason within their 2015 survey. Their study reported that 90 percent of the educators that First Book serves all agreed that the children in their programs were more enthusiastic readers when they had access to books with characters, stories, and images that reflect their lives and their neighborhoods.

Though great strides have been made to correct the deficiency of diverse picture books and chapter books, authors, publishers, parents, and educators all agree there still is a long way to go. Thanks to heightened awareness and powerful conversations about this topic, more diverse titles are making their way into classrooms and home bookcases and the past whimper of protest has grown to a loud outcry for change. But misconceptions still linger and one big one is that “multicultural books” are only for so-called minorities. The reality is that these stories of cultures, religions, traditions, countries, and ethnicities are suitable for all children. Luckily, that outcry has also spawned a plethora of new and robust resources for parents, teachers, and librarians to utilize. One of which is Multicultural Children\’s Book Day; an online celebration committed to shining the spotlight on diverse books and their authors while also working to get multicultural books into the hands of young readers.

Battling the Diversity Gap in Kids\’ Books | About Multicultural Children\’s Book Day

As you may know, there is a special connect between Multicultural Children\’s Book Day and Audrey Press CEO, Valarie Budayr. She is, in fact, one of the cofounders of this epic online celebration. Here\’s the scoop on this long-standing non-profit.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCBD) Online Event: A non-profit created by two book-loving moms, this yearly online event occurs the last Friday in January is currently in its 6th year. This online celebration consists of book-loving reviewers, readers, educators, authors, and publishers sharing of hundreds of book reviews of multicultural children’s books. These reviews, with accompanying activities, are cataloged and displayed on MCCBD’s website as an ongoing resource. MCBD also offers a plethora of multicultural book/reading resources, links and booklist ideas on their free Diversity Book Lists & Activities for Teachers and Parents page.

Their FREE Downloadable Class Kit project has been wildly successful as well:

Free Classroom Empathy Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians, and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/mcbd2018s-free-classroom-empathy-kit-is-here-empathy-immigration/

Free Kindness Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians, and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teachers-classroom-kindness-kit/

Free Classroom Kit–Poverty Doesn’t Discriminate | Understanding Poverty in America: 

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Free Classroom Physical and Developmental Challenges Kit:

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How You Can Get Involved In Multicultural Children\’s Book Day

The online event/holiday takes the last Friday of every January so this year it will fall on 1/31/20 and this will be their SEVENTH Multicultural Children’s Book Day celebration! If you would like to participate in their upcoming event and here are a few ways you can do so:

  1. Donate Books: For the next MCBD online event,  hundreds of book reviewers will be signing up to review diverse children’s books on their blogs or on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. Authors and publishers have the option of offering copies of their multicultural children\’s books to book reviewers to review and write a social media review about.

Go here to sign up as a book donator and send a copy diverse book to the below address. The book you send will then be donated to a classroom.

**NOTE: MCBD does not limit book reviewers to just bloggers. There are so many book-loving moms who have vibrant social media channels we have opened up review options to include social media to give those who are not bloggers a chance to share books with their followers.

  1. Multiple options for Sponsorship: Sponsorship is not only a great way to support this event; it is an excellent way to get your name (and your books) in front of thousands of readers. All MCBD Sponsors get a name mention within the hundreds of reviews that get posted from December through to the end of January and also on the sites of our 20+ CoHosts sites. Go HERE to learn more about Sponsorships; http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/sponsorship/sponsorship-info/
  1. Connect with them on social media and share, share, share! The official hashtag is #ReadYourWorld

– Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/MulticulturalChildrensBookDay

– Twitter https://twitter.com/MCChildsBookDay

-Instagram https://www.instagram.com/readyourworldmcbd/

-Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/pragmaticmom/multicultural-books-for-kids/

-Reminder: The hashtag for this event is #ReadYourWorld

  1. Guest post: The MCBD team is always looking for quality guest posts from authors and publishers on the MCBD blog. If you\’d like to share the details of your writing journey and details of how your book came to be, we\’d love to have you. I\’ve attached some guidelines for your review.
  1. Join our private Facebook Group:This group has grown and evolved into something very special. Feel free to join!

Connect with Multicultural Children\’s Book Day

– Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/MulticulturalChildrensBookDay

– Twitter https://twitter.com/MCChildsBookDay

-Instagram https://www.instagram.com/readyourworldmcbd/

-Reminder: The hashtag for this event is #ReadYourWorld

6-Be one of their book reviewers: If you love diverse books for kids and have a social media platform to share a review on, the MCBD team wants to give you a FREE diversity book to review! In a nutshell; you don’t have to be a blogger to review multicultural children’s books for the MCBD 2020 online event. You just need to have a love of diversity in children’s literature and be willing to share on your social media platforms such as Facebook (Pages only-no Facebook profiles), Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or YouTube.

Get all the details and sign up info HERE. Reviewer sign up closes 12/15/19.

MCBD Links to remember:

MCBD site: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta

Free Classroom Empathy Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians, and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/mcbd2018s-free-classroom-empathy-kit-is-here-empathy-immigration/

Free Kindness Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians, and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teachers-classroom-kindness-kit/

Free Diversity Book Lists and Activities for Teachers and Parents: http://bit.ly/1sZ5s8i

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