Love Family – Selected for 2018 Multicultural Children’s Book Day

posted on January 27, 2018 by Eve Panzer
Love Family - a Picture Book

Many thanks to the organizers of Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCBD) who asked me to be a reviewer again this year! As a school librarian, I was very focused on developing my multicultural materials. And when I began Barefoot Librarian, my children’s book consulting business, again my focus was on diversity. Here’s a book that I’d love to share with all of you.

Love Family is a unique and important offering to the world of diverse children’s books. Even as the number of diverse children’s books grows, there is still a dearth of books representing children from a variety of races and ethnicities. In addition to children not being able to see themselves reflected in the literature they read, often they don’t see families whose members reflect their own.  Love Family addresses these issues and in such a beautiful way.

Love Family is a book which can be personalized to fit the race and ethnic makeup of your own family. When ordering the book online you are given the opportunity to choose among four  ethnicities for each of the four main characters of the story – the father, the mother, the daughter, and the grandmother.  So the children in your family will see the exact race/ethnic makeup of your own family. There is no option to choose the other characters in the book, but they all come from diverse backgrounds.

The story focuses on a universal family tradition – a family dinner night. However, the story is completely generic as no holiday is mentioned nor specific food type is portrayed. The pictures instead show pots and pans on the stove top with non-specific foods cooking and basic recipe ingredients including vegetables, fruit, butter, and bottles of various shapes, sizes and colors. In addition, the clothing depicted does not reflect any specific race or ethnicity. The children amuse themselves with a variety of universal activities, including listening to music and dancing, while they are waiting for the meal to be served.

The story is simple – family members arrive and some do the cooking, delicious smells fill the air, and the children play and set the table.  Finally the meal is served and the family eats and visits late into the night.  The underlying message of the book is delivered by the grandmother when she says “Our family is love.” The last page provides a place for a child to put a photo or drawing of their own family in the book.

The only specificity in the book is the race and ethnicity of the four main characters. So this allows each family the opportunity to discuss and insert their own family members and traditions as they read it together.  Discussions of past family gatherings, family holidays, family foods and recipes, family heirlooms, music, dancing, games played, etc. become a natural part of sharing this book with your children.

The text is sparse but descriptive and placed on the pages so as not to distract from the illustrations. The pictures are colorful and warm with a softness that makes them appealing and homey. The book comes in a hardback format and the quality both inside and out is praiseworthy.

Loving Lion Books delivers the full package and fills an important niche in the world of children’s literature.

I highly recommend this book and I am eagerly looking forward to new offerings from this publisher!

EDUCATOR’S Tips, Correlations, Connections, Resources

IB Themes/Units of Inquiry: Who Are We: My Family and Friends; My Home; My Country and Culture; My Beliefs.
IB Attributes/ Emotional Literacy: Responsibility; Cooperation; Enthusiasm;
Social Studies: Family cultures and traditions. Food. Music.
Title: Love family
Author: Norah Barrett Cooper
Illustrator: Joelle Nelson
Publisher: Loving Lion Books
Format: Hardback
Price: $28.00
Ages: 3 – 8 years
Genre: Fiction – picture book
Please note that this book is sold exclusively through the publisher’s website: Loving Lion Books.

About Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2018 (1/27/18) is in its 5th 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 home 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 2018 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board.

2018 MCBD Medallion Sponsors

HONORARY: Children’s Book Council, Junior Library Guild

PLATINUM:Scholastic Book Clubs

GOLD:Audrey Press, Candlewick Press, Loving Lion Books, Second Story Press, Star Bright Books, Worldwide Buddies

SILVER:Capstone Publishing, Author Charlotte Riggle, Child’s Play USA, KidLit TV, Pack-n-Go Girls, Plum Street Press

BRONZE: Barefoot Books, Carole P. Roman, Charlesbridge Publishing, Dr. Crystal BoweGokul! World, Green Kids Club, Gwen Jackson, Jacqueline Woodson, Juan J. Guerra, Language Lizard, Lee & Low Books, RhymeTime Storybooks, Sanya Whittaker Gragg, TimTimTom Books, WaterBrook & Multnomah, Wisdom Tales Press

2018 Author Sponsors

Honorary Author Sponsors: Author/Illustrator Aram Kim and Author/Illustrator Juana Medina

Author Janet Balletta, Author Susan Bernardo,  Author Carmen Bernier-Grand, Author Tasheba Berry-McLaren and Space2Launch, Bollywood Groove Books, Author Anne Broyles,  Author Kathleen Burkinshaw, Author Eugenia Chu, Author Lesa Cline-Ransome, Author Medeia Cohan and Shade 7 Publishing, Desi Babies, Author Dani Dixon and Tumble Creek Press, Author Judy Dodge Cummings, Author D.G. Driver, Author Nicole Fenner and Sister Girl Publishing, Debbi Michiko Florence, Author Josh Funk, Author Maria Gianferrari, Author Daphnie Glenn, Globe Smart Kids, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Author Quentin Holmes, Author Esther Iverem, Jennifer Joseph: Alphabet Oddities, Author Kizzie Jones, Author Faith L Justice , Author P.J. LaRue and, Author Karen Leggett Abouraya, Author Sylvia Liu, Author Sherri Maret, Author Melissa Martin Ph.D., Author Lesli Mitchell, Pinky Mukhi and We Are One, Author Miranda Paul, Author Carlotta Penn, Real Dads Read, Greg Ransom, Author Sandra L. Richards, RealMVPKids Author Andrea Scott, Alva Sachs and Three Wishes Publishing, Shelly Bean the Sports Queen,  Author Sarah Stevenson, Author Gayle H. Swift Author Elsa Takaoka, Author Christine Taylor-Butler, Nicholette Thomas and  MFL Publishing  Author Andrea Y. Wang, Author Jane Whittingham  Author Natasha Yim

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.

TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Scholastic Book Clubs: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/27/18 at 9:00pm.

Join the conversation and win one of 12-5 book bundles and one Grand Prize Book Bundle (12 books) that will be given away at the party!

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers:

Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators:

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


Purchase This Book On Amazon
Raves & Praise from educators and readers about Eve Panzer, the Barefoot Librarian:

Faced with the wealth of incredible books available for children, many educators can feel overwhelmed when it comes to choosing titles for the classroom. If you’re a teacher who doesn’t want to resort to the dartboard method, the Barefoot Librarian is your new best friend!

-Audrey Linter, Blogger, Little Pickle Press