Tag Archives: books about being different

Multicultural Children’s Day Book Reviews

I’m so excited to be able to review three diverse children’s books as part of the Multicultural Children’s Book Review!
You know I love sharing book resources and couldn’t wait to share some of the more recent books I’ve been sent by some contemporary authors. 

This book is called “Being You” by Alexs Pate. I love the pictures in this book and the poetic style Pate uses throughout.

Written for 6-12 year olds and illustrated by Soud, ‘Being You’ captures the sentiment every parent wants to teach their child. Be yourself, remember who you are. When other children whisper about you and question the things that you do and how you behave, answer them with confidence.

Being You Book Review

It’s a well-written book about letting your child shine and helping them to face on the world- even with all its bad parts- and without fear.

I read this to my three daughters, ages 7, 5 and 3 years old. My 3 year old lost interest but my 7 year old was reading it aloud, intrigued by the messages that mirror much of what she experiences day to day.

Even better, there were images of children that look like my children. Brown skinned, black skinned, light skinned and dark skinned. It’s a book for both boys and girls and gives a powerful message.

Being You Book Review

Highly recommended!

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 My Dad's JobThe second book “My Dad’s Job” by Deirdre Pecchioni Cummings, illustrated by Erika Busse took me on a little journey. 

A picture book with cute illustrations all about a black father and son and his so-called ‘job’ to teach his son to be a man.

A sweet story showing the child growing, eager to learn but not realising until he turns 18, that he has been learning all this time.


“I Want to be a Bennett Belle” is also by Deirdre Book Review of I want to be a Bennett BelleCummings and illustrated by Erika Busse and was slighly less relatable as I’m not based in the US and don’t have any knowledge of Bennett College nor the American Black Historical Colleges.

It’s a picture book set in the US, Louisiana  but is meant to resonate with the millions of others who have attended and benefitted from other Black Historical Colleges in the US. 

It was touching and clearly the author was appealing to others who had attended Bennett College. The way in which the Grandmother refers to her days there and relates to her grand daughter is sweet.  However, it wasn’t a book that I could read to my daughters with any meaning. We are based in the UK and I’m not sure they would understand it at this age.

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Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019 (1/25/19) is in its 6th 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 homes and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators. 

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board!

*View our 2019 Medallion Sponsors here: https://wp.me/P5tVud-
*View our 2019 MCBD Author Sponsors here: https://wp.me/P5tVud-2eN

Medallion Level Sponsors

Honorary: Children’s Book CouncilThe Junior Library GuildTheConsciousKid.org.

Super Platinum: Make A Way Media

GOLD: Bharat BabiesCandlewick PressChickasaw Press, Juan Guerra and The Little Doctor / El doctorcitoKidLitTV,  Lerner Publishing GroupPlum Street Press,

SILVER: Capstone PublishingCarole P. RomanAuthor Charlotte RiggleHuda EssaThe Pack-n-Go Girls,

BRONZE: Charlesbridge PublishingJudy Dodge CummingsAuthor Gwen JacksonKitaab WorldLanguage Lizard – Bilingual & Multicultural Resources in 50+ LanguagesLee & Low BooksMiranda Paul and Baptiste Paul, RedfinAuthor Gayle H. Swift,  T.A. Debonis-Monkey King’s DaughterTimTimTom BooksLin ThomasSleeping Bear Press/Dow PhumirukVivian Kirkfield,

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Author Sponsors on board

Honorary: Julie FlettMehrdokht Amini,

Author Janet BallettaAuthor Kathleen BurkinshawAuthor Josh FunkChitra SoundarOne Globe Kids – Friendship StoriesSociosights Press and Almost a MinyanKaren LeggettAuthor Eugenia ChuCultureGroove BooksPhelicia Lang and Me On The PageL.L. WaltersAuthor Sarah StevensonAuthor Kimberly Gordon BiddleHayley BarrettSonia PanigrahAuthor Carolyn Wilhelm, Alva Sachs and Dancing DreidelsAuthor Susan BernardoMilind Makwana andA Day in the Life of a Hindu KidTara WilliamsVeronica AppletonAuthor Crystal BoweDr. Claudia MayAuthor/Illustrator Aram KimAuthor Sandra L. RichardsErin DealeyAuthor Sanya Whittaker GraggAuthor Elsa TakaokaEvelyn Sanchez-ToledoAnita BadhwarAuthor Sylvia LiuFeyi Fay AdventuresAuthor Ann MorrisAuthor Jacqueline JulesCeCe & Roxy BooksSandra Neil Wallace and Rich WallaceLEUYEN PHAMPadma VenkatramanPatricia Newman and Lightswitch LearningShoumi SenValerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Traci SorellShereen RahmingBlythe StanfelChristina MatulaJulie RubiniPaula ChaseErin TwamleyAfsaneh MoradianLori DeMonia, Claudia Schwam, Terri Birnbaum/ RealGirls RevolutionSoulful SydneyQueen Girls Publications, LLC

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.

Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts

A Crafty ArabAgatha Rodi BooksAll Done MonkeyBarefoot MommyBiracial Bookworms,Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms ShareColours of UsDiscovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, Descendant of Poseidon ReadsEducators Spin on it Growing Book by BookHere Wee Read, Joy Sun Bear/ Shearin LeeJump Into a BookImagination Soup, Jenny Ward’s ClassKid World CitizenKristi’s Book NookThe LogonautsMama SmilesMiss Panda ChineseMulticultural Kid BlogsRaising Race Conscious ChildrenShoumi SenSpanish Playground

TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Make A Way Media: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/25/19 at 9:00pm.E.S.T. TONS of prizes and book bundles will be given away during the party. GO HERE for more details.

FREE RESOURCES From MCBD

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/

Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

Mixed Race Book Review: The Name Jar

The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi

I grew up in mostly-white Edmonton, Alberta, Canada right smack in the middle of the Iran-Iraq war. Awareness of difference was low and I remember fantasizing about having a name just like everyone else.

The name calling and the teasing was too much at times.  “Arriba, Arriba, Undalé, Undalé!” was called after me every time I was around. Adults too would struggle. And although they tried, I eventually shortened my name from Fariba to Fari. It didn’t help.  “Fairy? No. Fiery? No. Ferrari?”

My chosen name? Jessica. In all of my fantasies, I was Jessica. Because Jessica was like everyone else, Jessica’s parents weren’t from somewhere else and best of all, Jessica didn’t stand out because of her name.

In Yangsook Choi’s book, “The Name Jar”, Unhei (pronounced Yoon-Hye) moves from South Korea to America. She starts her first day of school having to explain her new name to all of the other kids and, inevitably, they laugh and tease her about how it’s pronounced. “You-hye, bye bye!”, they tease her.

The story develops with Unhei wanting to choose a typical American name like Laura or Amanda. But she’s reminded soon enough about what her Grandmother taught her about her name. Unhei means grace. And her name’s meaning is far more important than fitting in.

Through a boy she becomes friendly with, he discovers her real name and it shows her she can be proud of her name- even in America.

the name jarWith beautiful illustrations throughout, The Name Jar has inspired conversations with my children about how and why we’re different as a family. How we might ‘stick out’ and why it’s important to embrace those differences because they make up who we are.

I wouldn’t change my name for the world. But I only discovered that as an adult. I wish I’d been able to stand tall and correct the teasers and conformists who desperately tried to make my name sound english.

This book is about immigrants, about fitting in, peer pressure, multiculturalism and third culture kids. Definitely one for your bookshelves if you’d like to inspire conversations about diversity.


More Book Reviews…

Mixed Race Book Review: I Don’t Want Curly Hair!

Mixed Race Book Review I Don’t Want Curly Hair

With such lovely illustrations, it doesn’t get more easily relatable than Laura Ellen Anderson’s book, “I Don’t Want Curly Hair”.

For my middle daughter who is going through her own love-hate relationship with her coily locks, this has been an especially poignant book.

Written in delightful rhyme, a girl with curly red locks describes how she is exhausted with her curly hair, how she can never tame it, and spends hours and hours brushing, pulling and stretching it.

She happens upon another little girl with straight black hair in her journey and whose woe is the fact that her hair is “boring and straight and why won’t it curl?!”

“OH?!”, says the curly girl. How could she, with straight, smooth hair want curly hair??

The two girls laugh at how silly they’ve been realising that both their hair is special and that both can do amazing things with their hair.

After multiple readings, my daughter now knows enough of the words to read it her own way, getting into character, “I DON’T LIKE MY CURLY HAIR!! It’s MESSY AND SILLY AND JUST PLAIN UNFAIR!”

She loves the ways the girl tries desperately to straighten her hair, even managing to wet it completely so that it turns straight (a secret most curly girls are delighted about).

With delightful humour throughout, it’s a great book for getting the conversation going about loving the skin we’re in and showing our curly girls that they should love their hair no matter what.

For more mixed race book reviews, click here

book review i don't want curly hair

Mixed Race Book Review: Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match

Marisol McDonald Mixed Race Book Review

Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match by Monica Brown is the second in our mixed race book review series by Mixed.Up.Mama.

This is one my daughters’ favourites (and mine). Inspired by her Peruvian-American heritage, Monica Brown has won numerous awards and starred reviews for her Marisol series which, incidentally is also written in Spanish.

Marisol McDonald is a wonderful book about a Peruvian-American girl named Marisol who loves to be different. She loves to wear green polka dots and purple stripes, eats peanut butter and jelly burritos and tells her cousin off when he tries to tell her her skin colour (brown) does not match her red hair. Simply said, she loves who she is. When everyone, including her teacher, tells her she should match, she decides to change herself and the next day, she wears a matching outfit, plays pirates with her friends how they like it and writes her name in printed letters as her teacher says she should. But soon, she discovers how boring it is and how proud she is to be a mismatched Marisol.

The illustrations, done by Sara Palacios and the fact that it is written in Spanish beside the English are bonuses to the lovely story behind author Brown’s loveable character. For bilingual children as well as kids that come from more than one culture, this is a fantastic choice.

Another recommendation if you want your child to be proud of their mixed heritage!

For more mixed race book reviews, click here…

The Importance of Reading Books To Children

We were recently re-united with our children’s extensive book collection. So what, I can hear you saying.

Well, the last time we moved, I couldn’t carry more than a handful on the plane so sadly we had to leave our extensive collection back in Nigeria.

You know the feeling, when you’re looking for things and you know you have it but can’t bring yourself to buy it again, it can drive you nuts. Well, it drove me nuts anyway.

So finally, almost 2 years later after we moved to London, a friend was able to bring the lot. So that’s where I am… reunited with my vast collection of books. And there you are, wondering why this matters…

When I got these back, it was like going through years of memories, moments and experiences my daughters and I had shared reading endless stories every night.

You see, books are not just books to us. They are a way of communicating with my children. With books, we’ve introduced the concept of bullying, sharing, loneliness, and skin colour. With books, we’ve been able to talk about difficult subjects without making it about them.

My daughter’s concept of a bully was defined in a book called “Me and My Dragon” because it featured a bully who was incidentally a chubby boy with a baseball cap on. I remember reading it once and it sparked a conversation about what is a bully. To this day, when we’ve spoken about someone bullying, my daughter protests, “but he isn’t wearing a baseball cap”!

The day identity and my daughter’s skin colour came up after school, I swiftly went online and ordered about 20 books that featured mixed race or brown skinned characters. Some of these included girls who bucked the mould and didn’t conform to ‘princessy’ ways or girls who were just different but were nonetheless proud of who they are.

I was not about to raise a child who is confused or ashamed about who she is.  And with media and the majority of people she encounters donning white skin, we knew we needed to be proactive in discussing this important topic with her. After ordering our first haul that first time, within three weeks we could see a change in how our daughter talked about and discussed her own identity. She’s proud of her curly hair now and recognises the value in being unique and not following the crowd.

Other topics we’ve broached through the use of our books include curly hair, puberty and the changes our bodies go through, anger, gender stereotypes and following the crowd. Every time a topic comes up, it sparks a conversation about their lives and how one girl in their class for example, told her that her red hat was a “boy’s colour”. We discussed why she might say that and how much of what we see and hear might make us think that. Books that challenge our way of thinking are invaluable.

Many of our books now feature brown skin characters- an effort we’ve been intentional about but have sadly realised is way behind. Only 1% of children’s books feature brown skin characters.

But when you do get them and you see your daughter’s eyes light up when she sees the Little Red Riding Hood with brown skin and curly hair, she can’t hide her excitement. “She looks like me!”, she’ll say.

You see, for us, books are instruments. They are windows into important conversations and topics that I know will come up. As our children get older, we’ll inevitably encounter discussions about bodies, sexuality, death, religion, racism, cyber bullying and jealousy, amongst other things.  Without books to turn to, these topics can become abstract. Throw in a protagonist who’s going through it and you have yourself an ‘in’. Then hopefully, the door will be open for further discussion when she actually does go through these things.

Indeed books have already introduced precious memories as our children have grown. We paged through the book “Going on a Bear Hunt” and relived days gone by when our nearly 6 year old was our only child and my hubby and I used to act out the story finishing off with an undercover cave where we’d hide from the bear.

Perhaps it was only through missing them that I realised my missing books’ value. I would encourage every parent, be careful what you’re giving away. I know we can’t keep all the rubbish we collect from our children’s childhoods and by no means am I a hoarder. The day will come when I’ll have to go through their books and give them away but hopefully I’ll know these aren’t just pieces of paper we read every night but memories we’ll want to cherish. I hope they do too.

Visit my Pinterest page for inspiring lists of books for brown skinned or mixed race kids:

Kechi's Hair Goes Every Which Way
Kechi’s Hair Goes Every Which Way

How to Teach girls to love their curly hair

Clothing and accessories for your Mixed Curly Kids are now available! Visit our shop today! Dismiss

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