Thursday, January 30, 2020

Catherine's Pascha

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2020 (1/31/20) is in its 7th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen, two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those books into the hands of young readers and educators.
Seven years in, MCBD’s mission to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves continues.
“Catherine’s Pascha” is written by award winning Charlotte Riggle

illustrated by R.J. Hughes and published by Phoenix Flair Press.
to Charlotte for gifting me with her book for MCBD.
It's a beautifully written and illustrated story about the Orthodox Church celebration of Pascha, as told through the eyes of 6-year-old Catherine.
Pascha is the Greek word for "Passover" with many unique traditions. Pascha is celebrated in the middle of the night, with processions and candles, bells and singing. Since it marks the end of Lent, it includes a huge feast featuring all of their favorite foods. Catherine is determined to stay awake all night long to enjoy all of the festivities. In the beginning of the story we learn Catherine doesn't like vegetables. She doesn't like naps. She doesn't like it when her mom combs her hair. But she does love hot dogs, chocolate cake, her best friend Elizabeth and Pascha! Catherine insists that she's not a bit sleepy and wants to stay up for the celebration. Upon their arrival to church in the middle of the night, they participate in a lively vigil of traditional liturgy, prayers, and festivities.

Young readers will embrace Catherine’s excitement and her anticipation for the Pascha celebration. Some questions that might be generated while reading are would Catherine fall asleep? Would her brother, Peter, wake up, or would he miss the entire celebration, junk food and all? Did the kids really get to hold a burning candle while at church and stay up all night long?

“Catherine's Pascha” is one of those books where you notice something new each time you read it. R.J Hughes' illustrations seamlessly compliment the text with vibrant, detailed and realistic images. The illustrations are engaging as well as following the text in a variety of places on each page. Riggle and Hughes both share the same vision that picture books are more than just books that have pictures but are a way for the words and images to work together to play off each other. Each page features a different ancient Orthodox church from around the world depicting a real life form and detailed artwork. These illustrations add a whole other new dimension to the book as a springboard for discussion.

This book is a great resource for parents home schooling, Sunday School teachers, and those who are interested in learning more about different faiths and celebrations. The book addresses religious diversity and shows a diverse character Elizabeth, Catherines's best friend, who has special needs. Her wheelchair and crutches nearby are presented in several illustrations. Catherine's friendship with Elizabeth becomes more fully developed in "The Saint  Nicholas Day Snow”, Riggle's second picture book. 

Vocabulary and frequently asked questions section are found at the end of “Catherine’s Pascha,” in addition to the Catherine’s Pascha website. The website answers any additional questions one may have about the celebration of Pascha, but it also includes recipes, activities, and crafts. One could easily use the book and the related links and activities for an entire unit study on the history and celebration of Pascha.

Riggle wears many different hats in her life. She is a wife, mother, picture book author, a technical writer, and a blogger. "Catherine's Pascha” was a finalist in the 2015 Best Book Awards. A technical newsletter she wrote was honored by the Society of Technical Communicators and her poetry has been recognized by the Southern Literary Festival. She is a Silver Sponser for this year's MCBD event.

Since some of her own children faced special needs growing up, Riggle has naturally become an advocate for children with disabilities. Now that her children are grown, she’s sharing what she’s learned on her blog website In addition Riggle posts book reviews and a collection of vegan recipes.

MCBD 2020 is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board
Super Platinum
Make A Way Media/ Deirdre “DeeDee” Cummings,
Language Lizard, Pack-N-Go Girls,
Audrey Press, Lerner Publishing Group, KidLit TV, ABDO BOOKS : A Family of Educational Publishers, PragmaticMom & Sumo Jo, Candlewick Press,
Author Charlotte Riggle, Capstone Publishing, Guba Publishing, Melissa Munro Boyd & B is for Breathe,

Carole P. Roman, Snowflake Stories/Jill Barletti, Vivian Kirkfield & Making Their Voices Heard. Barnes Brothers Books, TimTimTom, Wisdom Tales Press, Lee & Low Books, Charlesbridge Publishing, Barefoot Books Talegari Tales
Author Sponsor Link Cloud
Jerry Craft, A.R. Bey and Adventures in Boogieland, Eugina Chu & Brandon goes to Beijing, Kenneth Braswell & Fathers Incorporated, Maritza M. Mejia & Luz del mes_Mejia, Kathleen Burkinshaw & The Last Cherry Blossom, SISSY GOES TINY by Rebecca Flansburg and B.A. Norrgard, Josh Funk and HOW TO CODE A ROLLERCOASTER, Maya/Neel Adventures with Culture Groove, Lauren Ranalli, The Little Green Monster: Cancer Magic! By Dr. Sharon Chappell, Phe Lang and Me On The Page, Afsaneh Moradian and Jamie is Jamie, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, TUMBLE CREEK PRESS, Nancy Tupper Ling, Author Gwen Jackson, Angeliki Pedersen & The Secrets Hidden Beneath the Palm Tree, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 by Mia Wenjen, Susan Schaefer Bernardo & Illustrator Courtenay Fletcher (Founders of Inner Flower Child Books), Ann Morris & Do It Again!/¡Otra Vez!, Janet Balletta and Mermaids on a Mission to Save the Ocean, Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo & Bruna Bailando por el Mundo\ Dancing Around the World, Shoumi Sen & From The Toddler Diaries, Sarah Jamila Stevenson, Tonya Duncan and the Sophie Washington Book Series, Teresa Robeson & The Queen of Physics, Nadishka Aloysius and Roo The Little Red TukTuk, Girlfriends Book Club Baltimore & Stories by the Girlfriends Book Club, Finding My Way Books, Diana Huang & Intrepids, Five Enchanted Mermaids, Elizabeth Godley and Ribbon’s Traveling Castle, Anna Olswanger and Greenhorn, Danielle Wallace & My Big Brother Troy, Jocelyn Francisco and Little Yellow Jeepney, Mariana Llanos & Kutu, the Tiny Inca Princess/La Ñusta Diminuta, Sara Arnold & The Big Buna Bash, Roddie Simmons & Race 2 Rio, DuEwa Frazier & Alice’s Musical Debut, Veronica Appleton & the Journey to Appleville book series Green Kids Club, Inc.

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 Arab, Afsaneh Moradian, Agatha Rodi Books, All Done Monkey, Barefoot Mommy, Bethany Edward & Biracial Bookworms, Michelle Goetzl & Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms Share, Colours of Us, Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, Educators Spin on it, Shauna Hibbitts-creator of eNannylink, Growing Book by Book, Here Wee Read, Joel Leonidas & Descendant of Poseidon Reads {Philippines}, Imagination Soup, Kid World Citizen, Kristi’s Book Nook, The Logonauts, Mama Smiles, Miss Panda Chinese, Multicultural Kid Blogs, Serge Smagarinsky {Australia}, Shoumi Sen, Jennifer Brunk & Spanish Playground, Katie Meadows and Youth Lit Reviews

FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day
Free Multicultural Books for Teachers
Our New FREE Teacher Classroom Physical and Developmental Challenges Kit
Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians, and Educators
Free Understanding Developmental & Physical Challenges Classroom Kit

Book Reviewer
Sue Ready is a freelance writer, poet and former middle school and elementary teacher. She is the chair for Northwoods Arts Council in Hackensack, MN and chair for the book arts Northwoods Art and Book Festival.  Sue writes a twice monthly food column for a local newspaper and blogs at

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