I am so excited to be one of the bloggers and book reviewers for the upcoming Multicultural Children's Book Day #ReadYourWorld on Jan. 27th! This week I will be reviewing and sharing several incredible multicultural books from participating publisher Lee & Low. (Please click on the image above or scroll down to the bottom of the post for more information about Multicultural Children's Book Day, including sponsors and hosts.)
Review: King for a Day
Set in the city of Lahore, Pakistan, King for a Day chronicles the spring festival of Basant by focusing on the kite-flying battles. The main character, Malik, has designed a special kite, nicknamed Falcon, that he is certain will be the champion of the kites.
There are so many things to love about this book! First of all, it is a positive and engaging story set in Pakistan, which gives children context for a city and country that might not be very familiar. The author's note at the end about Basant explains more about the history and activities of this festival and the reintroduction of competitive kite fighting.
Second, Malik is an incredible young man, thoughtful, brave, and kind (although he does also delight in seeking out and conquering the kite flown by the neighborhood bully). It is only from the illustrations that the reader realizes that Malik is in a wheelchair. The reason for his disability is not explained, nor does it hamper his ability to enjoy, participate, and triumph in this day. The generalities of his condition makes him an easy character for children to relate to.
The artwork in this book also deserves special mention, as the mixed-media style allows for an impressionistic style that works so well to add dimensionality and color to the kites in particular. The sketches provide for strong emotion in the character's faces as well. I particularly like how Christiane Krömer plays with perspective and point-of-view in her images, whether it is the wide-angle look that encompasses the whole city and sky or the distortion of looking down from above on the roof. Children will find new details each time they examine the pictures.
- Download a peruse the in-depth Teachers' Guide created the accompany the book.
- Read a wonderful interview with Christiane Krömer here, including a fabulous step-by-step of the creation of one of the layouts.
- Visit Rukhsana Khan's web site here and Christiane Krömer's web site here for more information about this book and other books by each of them.
Activity: Kite Building and FlyingChildren love building and flying kites, regardless of whether they are used for flying or fighting. Last year we had a guest speaker come and talk to my third graders about Trinidad, including their traditions of kite flying and kite fighting. Afterwards, the kids spent a breathless and thrilling hour outside working in groups to launch and fly the kites. I was a bit amazed how few of them had flown a kite before.
There are many easy-to-follow directions online for building your own kites. The web site My Best Kite offers straight-forward directions for three basic kites, including the diamond, the delta, and the sled. They also have a scaled-back version for younger kids that makes a super-quick kite without the need for glue. PBS.org offers up kite-building directions based on those used by Benjamin Franklin, for a US history tie-in.
For an in-depth look at how the kites are built and flown during Basant, watch the following videos: (Part 1 is a bit longer and provides perhaps a bit too much information for younger children, but older children will find a lot of interesting information and visuals.)
About Multicultural Children's Book DayOur mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these of books into classrooms and libraries.
Mission: 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, co-founders Mia (Pragmatic Mom) and Valarie (Jump into a Book) are on a mission to change all of that. Their mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these types of books into classrooms and libraries. Another goal of this exciting event is create a compilation of books and favorite reads that will provide not only a new reading list for the winter, but also a way to expose brilliant books to families, teachers, and libraries.
In their words: "MCCBD 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 the fun book reviews, author visits, event details, a multicultural children’s book linky, and via our hashtag (#ReadYourWorld) on Twitter and other social media."
You can get involved! MCCBD is partnering with First Book to offer a Virtual Book Drive that will help donate multicultural children’s books through their channels during the week of the event. Help get diversity books into the hands of kids who most need them! The Virtual Book Drive is LIVE and can be found HERE.
Finally, a huge thank you to all the sponsors of this wonderful event: Platinum Sponsors: Wisdom Tales Press, Daybreak Press Global Bookshop, Gold Sponsors: Satya House, MulticulturalKids.com, Author Stephen Hodges and the Magic Poof, Silver Sponsors: Junior Library Guild, Capstone Publishing, Lee and Low Books, The Omnibus Publishing, Bronze Sponsors: Double Dutch Dolls, Bliss Group Books, Snuggle with Picture Books Publishing, Rainbow Books, Author Felicia Capers, Chronicle Books, Muslim Writers Publishing, East West Discovery Press.
There are also nine co-hosts: Africa to America, All Done Monkey, The Educators’ Spin on It, Growing Book by Book, InCultural Parent, Kid World Citizen, Mama Smiles, Multicultural Kid Blogs, and Sprout’s Bookshelf along with the two founders: Mia (Pragmatic Mom) and Valarie (Jump into a Book).
MCCBD is collaborating with Children’s Book Council to highlight wonderful diversity books and authors on an ongoing basis all year. Thank you all for your contributions and support!