The Importance of Diversity in Children\’s Literature | MCBD2022

Our mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity but to get more of these books into classrooms and libraries.

That was the Mission Statement of a fledgling non-profit over NINE years ago. To date,  Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCBD) has donated over 11K diverse books for kids and this grassroots initiative has expanded to include worldwide readers, book reviewers, authors, organizations, and publishers exploded into a well-known national (and even global) event.

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Diversity in Children\’s Literature | MCBD2022

Children\’s books are like a portal to a new world of adventure that invites young readers into the world of imagination and exploration. Books are also a way to allow for world travel without ever leaving your zip code.

Books are a way for kids to \”see themselves\” in the pages of the stories they read. The term \”windows and mirrors\” in regards to diverse kids\’ literature has been used quite a bit these days by everyone from children\’s book curator Scholastic to groups like IBBY.

Make A Way CEO, Deedee Cummings stumbled upon Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCBD) a few years ago and it was like a breath of fresh air to her frustrated soul.

“Being a part of Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCBD) is a constant reminder that books and people are still good at heart,” she shared. “There are people on the planet who are different from me but love some of the same things and care about some of the same messages. Like the importance of diverse books. And they care about this because diverse books send messages to all of us about the beauty of being a human being and getting to know someone else’s story. It teaches us and reminds us that we can work together and be more compassionate, kinder, and more engaged with one another if only by hearing their story. Diverse books do for kids what Multicultural Children’s Book Day has done for me: shows us all that the world is not so scary and we are not alone in our beliefs. There are more people like me out there. I just have not met them all yet.”

Why Diverse Picture Books are so Needed

It was the discovery that, despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published contained diverse content that inspired two book-loving moms to step up and create a global celebration in 2012. It’s no secret that books play a huge part in all children’s lives but just as important as having books available to kids is the ability for them to “see themselves” in the pages of the books they read.

Budayr, the daughter of parents who emigrated from Sweden and wife to an American/Lebanese man, along with Wenjen, a Korean/Japanese American, were both keenly aware that there simply weren’t enough representation of kids of color in children’s literature. And the books that did exist did not get the exposure they needed and deserved. Both Budayr and Wenjen put their collective heads together to find a creative (and effective) way to not only get multicultural books into the hands of readers, parents, teachers, and librarians, but to also shine the spotlight on the exceptional authors that created these diverse YA and children’s books. The result was the ambitious (and much needed) online event known as Multicultural Children’s Book Day that occurs every January 27th.

“Our young readers need to see themselves within the pages of a book,” Wenjen shared. “They need to experience other cultures, languages, traditions, and religions and they can do that within the pages of diverse picture books and chapter books. As our ninth Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday approaches on January 28, 2022, we are thrilled to have a very well-established community of supporters. The support and excitement surrounding this event is so special and continues to grow every year.”

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During the months and weeks leading up to the online celebration, diverse YA and children\’s books pour into MCBD headquarters; donations from publishers and authors whose books and companies embrace the celebration of these multicultural books and support the mission of getting those books into the hands of young readers.

“Now more than ever, a message of hope, compassion, empathy, and understanding is needed,” Budayr noted. “Now more than ever, children need to see themselves reflected in the pages of the books they read. Readers of all ages need to be able to “read their world” to both see themselves, and those are who different, whether by culture, religion, sexual orientation, special needs or ethnicity. Now more than ever, we need to come together as a nation of beautifully diverse people.”

\”Multicultural Children\’s Book Day (MCBD) is an online and offline celebration that attracts thousands of supporters, educators, parents, caregivers, book reviewers, and quality authors and publishers who join forces to shine the spotlight on diversity in children and YA literature,\” Cofounder Mia Wenjen confirmed. \”Celebrated annually on the last Friday in January, this global non-profit offers a plethora of free resources, teaching tools, booklists, downloads, and a year-round initiative to get multicultural and diverse books into the hands of young readers. To date, we have donated over 11,000 books to underserved kids, classrooms, and organizations, and that number continues to climb. We continue to be blown away by the positive feedback and support of this non-profit literacy initiative.\”

This online celebration includes the sharing of book reviews, offline parties, and displays that are dedicated to multicultural books, fun giveaways, important discussions, collaborations, connections, a crazy-fun Twitter Party on 1/28/22, and the creation of The Big Giant Linky that lives on the MCBD site forever as a resource (go here and scroll down to see 2021\’s Linky).

 

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SUMMARY OF MULTICULTURAL CHILDREN’S BOOK DAY EVENT

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FIRST, a unique opportunity to shine the spotlight on diverse/multicultural books, authors, and publishers.

SECOND, a giant online book reviewing event —
Book appreciators, readers, parents, teachers, librarians, and caregivers have the opportunity to explore lots of children’s and YA books with diverse content via online marketing that provides robust visibility for authors and publishers, book reviews, classroom kits, classroom book bundles, contests, giveaways, book lists, activity suggestions, and links.

THIRD, a giant networking event —
An ongoing mission to connect organizers, sponsors, co-hosts, bloggers, and others interested in expanding awareness of, and promotion of multicultural children’s books via our Twitter Party and very active MCBD Facebook Group.

FOURTH, an offline classroom, library, or gathering place celebration —
A chance for students, educators, and parents to celebrate diversity and multicultural books in the months leading up to, and during, the Multicultural Children’s Book Day celebration that occurs on the last Friday in January.

FIFTH, a year-long literacy-based initiative-That works tirelessly to provide books to classrooms, organizations, and under-served kids all year long via book donations.

Use hashtag # ReadYourWorld for social media.

MCBD does not review books, so to speak. BUT we do have different opportunities available for authors to shine the spotlight on their diverse books and even unique ways to collaborate with them.  Some are paid options, some are not. Pop over to their main site to learn more.

We also encourage everyone to join their private MCBD Facebook Group. This group is a nice mix of parents, book reviewers, teachers, and authors, so you will be able to connect with like-minded people.

Do you have a love of diversity in children’s literature? Are you willing to share a diverse children’s book review online in honor of the 1/28/22 celebration? If yes, MCBD would love it if you added your name to the list to be an MCBD2022 Book Reviewer!

CLICK THIS LINK Diverse Children and YA Book Reviewers -We need you for MCBD2022! (1/28/22)

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Other Ways to Support This Non-Profit

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Donate Books

Are you a publisher or an author of multicultural books for children? Would you like to donate a book for Multicultural Children’s Book Day? These books will ultimately end up in the hands of deserving teachers, librarians, parents, and young readers!

These donated books will be gifted to young readers, parents, and educators. There is no guarantee your donated book will be reviewed during the event but we always acknowledge our book donators and support them as much as possible.

Go HERE to Learn More.

Visit our Blog

Follow the #ReadYourWorld hashtag on social media

**Direct all questions and inquiries to admin@multiculturalchildrensbookday.com**

 

Keep Calm and Read On!

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