Open a Book, Open a Mind

posted on January 25, 2017 by Eve Panzer
If You We Me and Lived in...Ancient China

Friday is Multicultural Children’s Book Day so once again I would like to focus on diversity in children’s books. It was the main impetus for me to start my Barefoot Librarian business. My goal has always been to put quality multicultural books into the hands of as many children, parents and educators as possible. Diversity is an element I look for in every book I consider including in my inventory.

Diversity in children’s books became a hot topic of discussion among children lit bloggers, educators, librarians, authors and illustrators several years back. The organization We Need Diverse Books was established in 2014. WNDB  is “…is a grassroots organization of children’s book lovers that advocates essential changes in the publishing industry to produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people.”  WNDB gives a very clear definition of diversity: “We recognize all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, Native, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities*, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities.”

Also in 2014, another organization and useful resource was created called Mirrors Windows Doors.  Mirrors Windows Doors (MWD) is an online magazine whose aim is to draw attention to the riches of children’s and YA books from across the world that highlight cultural and multi-cultural diversity. ‘Mirrors, windows and doors’ is a metaphor that can be used to refer to the need for children to find themselves reflected in books; for books to provide an opening onto worlds beyond their own experience (worlds real or imagined) – because children need to see children that look different in the books they read; and for reading to provide a conduit for children to journey into the world and experience all it has to offer.”

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. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team is on a mission to change all of that.”

The MCBD program has created some resources to promote the day and their mission, which you can find listed below. As a children’s lit blogger, school librarian and educational consultant, I was honored to be selected to review two books. My reviews will be posted simultaneously with my blog.  In addition, reviews of hundreds of diverse children’s books have been  posted on all platforms of social media by educators, bloggers, librarians, parents and children’s book lovers.. I urge you to take advantage of the opportunity this celebration of children’s literature offers – browse recommendations for a myriad of diverse books. Find some you love and share them with the children in your life!

The conversation on diversity continues in the world of children’s lit so I will be posting more about this topic in the future.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day Information

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/17) is in its fourth 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.

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. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team is on a mission to change all of that.

MCBD Links to Remember:

See the MBCD Current Sponsors and Co-Hosts below.

Current Sponsors: MCBD 2017 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. Platinum Sponsors include Scholastic, Barefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. Roman, Audrey Press, Candlewick Press,  Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTV, Capstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa, Author Gayle Swift, Wisdom Tales Press, Lee& Low Books, The Pack-n-Go Girls, Live Oak Media, Author Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books

Author Sponsors include: Karen Leggett Abouraya, Veronica Appleton, Susan Bernardo, Kathleen Burkinshaw, Delores Connors, Maria Dismondy, D.G. Driver, Geoff Griffin,  Savannah Hendricks, Stephen Hodges, Carmen Bernier-Grand,Vahid Imani, Gwen Jackson,  Hena, Kahn, David Kelly, Mariana Llanos, Natasha Moulton-Levy, Teddy O’Malley, Stacy McAnulty,  Cerece Murphy, Miranda Paul, Annette Pimentel, Greg Ransom, Sandra Richards, Elsa Takaoka, Graciela Tiscareño-Sato,  Sarah Stevenson, Monica Mathis-Stowe SmartChoiceNation, Andrea Y. Wang

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive Co-Host 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 Co-Hosts.

Raves & Praise from educators and readers about Eve Panzer, the Barefoot Librarian:

Eve, the Barefoot Librarian has done a wonderful job at hand-selecting books for my three children, ages 3.5, 4.5 and 7. She considered their interests and reading levels in her selection of 23 titles. Some are bi-lingual, which is ideal since they are learning Spanish and English at the same time. All of the books are beautiful and some come with audio CDs, which they love listening to while having the book on their lap as we commute to school. What a wonderful way to get new books!

-Sharon M., Parent