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.
Last April I had the great honor of being on a panel with author Lois Sepahban at the Southern Kentucky Festival of Books. We were discussing authenticity in middle grade fiction. I was enthralled with the concept of her debut children's historical fiction novel Paper Wishes. I bought it from her that day so I could get it signed and add it to my collection. When I read it, I knew it would be the book I reviewed for Multicultural Children's Book Day.
Paper Wishes is the story of 10-year-old Manami, a young Japanese American girl put in an internment camp with her family during WWII. They are taken suddenly from their homes in Bainbridge Island in Washington and forced to live in barracks built in the desert in California. They are allowed to bring some things with them but not a lot. For example, they can bring some dishes, clothes, and her mother is able to bring some seeds and roots to plant. However, they are not allowed to bring their dog Yujiin. Manami tries to sneak her precious pet in with them, but he's taken away from her. A lot of the book is about her worries about what happened to Yujiin and blaming herself for him not being in a good home. She hopes ceaselessly that Yujiin will somehow find her again, and she thinks if she writes letters to him and sends them out on the breeze that constantly blows, he will see them and come to her.
The writing style is succinct, with short paragraphs. It reads quickly and easily. Manami is the most innocent of characters. She can't fully comprehend why her dog has been taken from her and won't come back or why they have been taken to this place. She is so distraught that the dirt of the California desert chokes up her neck and she can't speak the entire time they are in the camp. It is touching how the family becomes closer throughout the years of their internment. She has a wonderful teacher who inspires her to draw and paint - this is my favorite part of the book.
Being that the story is told from Manami's point of view, the scope of this tragic event comes across much smaller and maybe even kinder than it really was, but I liked how the tough topic was handled so delicately. The loss of Manami's pet is something all children can relate to, and I think that commonality helps young readers get pulled into understanding what it is like to have your life and home taken away unfairly.
I highly recommend it for 3rd-5th grade classrooms as a starting point for a unit on this sad and often overlooked piece of American history.
Lois Sepahban has a wonderful classroom guide on her website for teachers interested in teaching their students more about the Japanese Internment Camps of WWII. http://www.loissepahban.com/pdf/PaperWishes-Classroom-Guide.pdf
More about Multicultural Children's Book Day 2018
Current Sponsors: 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 Bowe, Gokul! 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 MysticPrincesses.com, 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! http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/twitter-party-great-conversations-fun-prizes-chance-readyourworld-1-27-18/
Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta
Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teacher-classroom-empathy-kit/
Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.
I am also an author sponsor for MCBD2018. It is my 3rd year participating. There should be several new reviews of books from my Juniper Sawfeather Trilogy in the linky today. Juniper is a teen environmental activist who discovers mythical creatures tied to her American Indian heritage while trying to protect the natural world. You can learn more about the whole series on my home page www.dgdriver.com. Book one, Cry of the Sea, is currently only 99 cents at all ebook vendors. There is also a box set of all three ebooks for only $6.99 (which is like getting one book free). In addition, there is a prequel story to the series called "Beneath the Wildflowers" in the free anthology Kick Ass Girls of Fire and Ice YA Books. I hope you'll take a moment to check them out.
D. G. Driver
Author of books for teens and tweens featuring diverse characters dealing with social or environmental issues, such as her ecofiction fantasy series The Juniper Sawfeather Trilogy and her award-winning novel about autism awareness No One Needed to Know.
Write and Rewrite Blog
“There are no bad stories, just ones that haven’t found their right words yet.” – D. G. Driver, award-winning author of Cry of the Sea, Whisper of the Woods, Echo of the Cliffs and No One Needed to Know.
A blog mostly about the process of revision with occasional guest posts, book reviews, and posts related to my books.