Sunday, January 25, 2015

Multicultural Children's Book Day

Introduction to Multicultural Children's Day-January 27. 2015 
The mission of this event is to not only raise awareness for children's books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these books into classrooms and libraries. Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. The co-creators of this unique event are Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom and Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book/Audrey Press. You can find a bio for Mia and Valarie here.  Look under ABOUT MCCBD C0-Founders. They teamed up in late 2013 to create an ambitious (and much needed) national event as a way to celebrate diversity in children’s books. Another goal of this exciting event is create a compilation of books and favorite reads that will provide not only a new reading list but also a way to expose brilliant books to families, teachers, and libraries.

The Multicultural Children’s Book Day team hopes to spread the word and raise awareness about the importance of diversity in children’s literature. Our young readers need to see themselves within the pages of a book and experience other cultures, languages, traditions and religions within the pages of a book. We encourage readers, parents, teachers, caregivers and librarians to follow along via book reviews, author visits, multicultural book lists and visit the huge multicultural book review link-up that will occur on the MCCBD website 1/27/15.

Whether the featured books are newly released or have publication dates from years past, the event is about identifying and expanding awareness and access to quality books about people of color, as well as about the cultures, languages, traditions, and religions of the world.

January 27 th is Multicultural Children’s Book Day: Celebrating Diversity in Children’s Literature. I am honored to be part of this event as a book reviewer of “Goldy Luck and The Three Pandas” by Natasha Yim. Becky Flansburg, event coordinator, supplied me with the book. It will be donated to my daughter's school library after the January 27 th event. 

Here are some ways you can help celebrate Multicultural Children’s Book Day
  • Visit The Multicultural Children’s Book Day website and view our book lists, reading resources and other useful multicultural information. 
  • Visit our Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board for more reading ideas.
  • Have children bring in their favorite multicultural book to school on this day and share it with the class.
  • Watch for the #ReadYourWorld hashtag on social media and share.
  • Visit our Diversity Book Lists and Resources for Educators and Parents on our website. 
  • Visit MCCBD sponsors (you can find them HERE)
  • Create a Multicultural Children’s Book Day display around the classroom or library.
  • Visit The Multicultural Children’s Book Day website on January 27th to view and participate in our huge blogger link-up, multicultural book reviews, giveaways and more!
Other interesting details include:
Children's Author-Natasha Yim "Goldy Luck and The Three Pandas"
Bio: I'm a Northern California children's book author, freelance writer, and playwright. My first picture book, "Otto's Rainy Day", a Kids' Pick of the Lists selection, was published by Charlesbridge Publishing, and my picture book biography, "Cixi, The Dragon Empress" was released by Goosebottom Books in October 2011. "Sacajawea of the Shoshone", the amazing story of the Native American teenager who traveled the west with Lewis and Clark, was published in October 2012. I have also published non-fiction articles in the children's magazines Highlights for Children, Appleseeds, and Faces, and for adults in local and regional publications such as Mendocino Arts, Vibrant Life, and Uncharted magazines. My ten-minute plays have been produced and performed in venues around Northern California--Ukiah, Santa Rosa, Guerneville--as well as in Los Angeles, Sydney and Brisbane, Australia.

BOOKS: "Otto's Rainy Day", "Cixi, The Dragon Empress", "Sacajawea of the Shoshone", "Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas"

Important News: Natasha will be celebrating the Chinese New Year at the Book Passage in Corte Madera, CA., on Feb. 8 at 1:00 pm. with a reading of "Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas" and a Chinese New Year craft. 
Here’s the link to the event:

Book Reviewer
Sue Ready is a writer, poet and former middle school teacher. She is the poetry chair for Northwoods Arts Council in Hackensack, MN. She writes a twice monthly food column for a local newspaper and publishes monthly dog stories called The World According to Bella at Sue's blogsite is , which includes photography, quotes, book recommends, recipes, musings on life Up North, city adventures, travels and The World According to Bella stories. 

"Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas" is written by Natasha Yim and illustrated by Grace Zong 
It is a multicultural retelling of the Goldilocks and the Three Bears tale and a lively picture book that is a wonderful introduction to Chinese New Year traditions.
A young girl named Goldy Luck is sent by her mother on the Chinese New Year to wish their panda neighbors, the Chans, Happy New Year and bring them a plate of yummy turnip cakes. But Goldy’s neighbors, the Chans aren’t home and what follows is a familiar set of events, but with a wonderful new cultural twist. There are lovely messages in the book about love, friendship and forgiveness, and doing the right thing even when it is hard to admit mistakes. The humor in the story—derived from the fact that while Goldy was supposed to share food, she ends up eating the panda's food instead—is gentle and amusing, and the moral of the story is satisfying. The importance of food is one of the themes of this book with food-based similes and metaphors that are sprinkled throughout.

The illustrations by Grace Zong are bright, detailed, fun, full of life and spirited. The illustrations are clever with subtle messages that add depth of meaning to the Chinese New Year rituals and preparations. Lots of red for good luck is found throughout the story. The illustrations are the perfect companion to Yim’s story.

This fractured tale is also a delightful way to teach children about the Chinese New Year traditions. Cultural education is presented throughout the story in a very age appropriate, interesting way. The author has included in the back of the book a great teaching tool with kid-friendly information on Chinese New Year rituals and the Chinese Zodiac to expand the story’s lesson beyond simply reading the book for teachers and home school curriculum. It was a nice touch including an authentic recipe for turnip cakes on the back page.

“Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas” is a versatile multicultural teaching tool that offers opportunities to:
  • Make text to text connections and comparisons. Analyzing this story in comparison to other fractured Goldilocks tales will help students create a deeper understanding of the story elements 
  • Learn about different cultures
  • Teach about the importance of friendship and taking responsibility for one’s actions 
  • Inspire students to write their own version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears
  • Promote discussion on how this adapted story incorporated Chinese traditions/rituals 
Some other ideas to extend the book for home or school use include:
1. Find Chinese New Year’s items in the illustrations
peach or plum blossoms, Oranges, red and gold decorations, a dancing lion, lanterns, Chinese animal zodiac (not the one in the back of the book)

2. Make Congee, a type of porridge mentioned in the book. It is made of rice that has been boiled until soft. Often chicken broth or stock is added for a savory dish, but it can also be made using water and adding fruit or some type of sweeteners when served.
A child-friendly congee can be made overnight in a slow-cooker.

Ingredients: 1 cup jasmine rice and 8 cups water
Directions:Have the child measure rice and water into a slow-cooker (crock pot). Cook on low setting overnight, or eight to ten hours.
Allow to cool slightly, add ingredients that you might add to a bowl of cooked oatmeal such as brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, or agave syrup, to taste, fruit such as sliced apples, peaches, apricots, bananas, etc., small amounts of milk, soy milk or rice milk

3. Obtain chopsticks and demonstrate how to use them. It is a wonderful way for children to develop fine motor skills.
4. Make paper cut-outs. The Chinese have been making paper cut outs or paper carvings called Jianzhi for many centuries.
5. 2015 is the year of the Sheep. Use the Internet to find worksheets related to the Year of the Sheep and art activities. Some links to get you started spv=2&biw=1264&bih=615&tbm=isch&tbo=u

I was fortunate to have an opportunity to share "Goldy Luck and The Three Pandas with my daughter's kindergarten class. 
Since red is considered a lucky color in Chinese culture 
I made individual red envelopes (symbol of good luck) for each student, and wrote Happy New Year and underneath Kung Hei Fat Choi (Cantonese for Happy New Year). A gold chocolate coin was inserted in the envelope and sealed with a gold foil sticker. 
Oranges are part of the Chinese New Year feast to symbolize  great wealth. Each student wrapped a clementine in red tissue. It was tied with a tag with the words Kung Hei Fat Choi written on it. Students drew another classmate's name to give the clementine to wishing he/she good luck for the New Year.
This student enjoyed some quiet time looking over the book. 
Our last part of an early Chinese New Year celebration was enjoying fortune cookies. My daughter was able to find fortune cookie erasers which were a big hit with the class.  
    Reader Alert: Twitter Party! Join us for Multicultural Children's Book Day Twitter Party on Jan 27th 9:00 pm EST. Use hashtag: #ReadYour World to win 10 book packages


    1. Thank you for sharing my book with your daughter's class. What great activities! I love wrapping clementines in red tissue.and tagging it with Kung Hei Fat Choi. I haven't tried that one yet so will have to try it. And I love the fortune cookie erasers!

    2. I love the picture of you reading to the Kindergarteners! LOVE.IT! Awesome job, Sue!