The push from various directions to raise awareness concerning the importance of embracing diversity in children’s books continues with two bloggers, Valarie Budayr of Jump Into a Book and Mia Wenjen of Pragmatic Mom announcing that Multicultural Children’s Book Day will take place on January 27, 2015, with a full schedule of online promotions and activities. Plus, for each of the 25 days leading up to January 27, in collaboration with the Children’s Book Council, authors and illustrators from diverse backgrounds will be interviewed and the interviews will be posted on the MCCBD website.
This is the second year January 27 has been designated as MCCBD; it debuted on January 27, 2014.
The mission of MCCBD, co-founders Wenjen and Budayr explained to PW, 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.”
The two bloggers also want to 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 [the] wonderful diversity [of] books to families, teachers, and libraries.”
Next month, more than 100 bloggers affiliated with parenting, education, and children’s blogs will review a selection of diverse and multicultural books on their respective blogs. The reviews will be promoted and shared by Jump Into a Book and the day’s nine “powerhouse” co-sponsors with more than two million followers total across social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+. The participating bloggers will also share reviews with their respective followers. There will be giveaways and children’s activities as well throughout the day.
A blogger link-up on the MCCBD blog will put in one place all posts, book reviews, and activities celebrating the day and the MCCBD website will feature resources for teachers and librarians, including a classroom kit and a reading resources page.
The day will also include a Twitter Party, with the hashtag #ReadYourWorld, and a Google+ Hangout. A book drive that kicked off the week before Thanksgiving will benefit literacy nonprofit organization First Book’s donations of books to underserved communities.
“We are not targeting an audience to reach; we are simply providing a day to celebrate diversity in children’s books to an already loyal and committed audience across 120+ wonderful blogs, which have been creating unique and useful educational content for years and years,” Wenjen and Budayr told PW.
Wenjen explained that the idea for a day to highlight diversity in children’s books emerged about two years ago.“[Budayr] and I come from multicultural backgrounds ourselves and we noticed how difficult it was to find books reflecting diversity. After reading articles by Jason Low [of Lee & Low Books] about how the diversity of books published hasn’t increased to reflect population, [Budayr] came to me with the idea to start a holiday to put a spotlight on these types of books in order to get them into the hands of kids,” Wenjen said. The two recruited Becky Flansburg to assist them in the venture; she is now the newly minted nonprofit organization’s project manager.
Multicultural Children’s Book Day has 12 co-sponsors, mostly small and medium-size presses around the country committed to publishing diverse books for both adults and children, including, most prominently, Lee & Low Books (New York) and Chronicle Books (San Francisco), as well as Wisdom Tales (Bloomington, Ind.) and Daybreak Press Global Bookshop & Gathering Space (St. Paul, Minn.).