Multicultural Children's Book Day 2021

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Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2021 ~ 7th Year!
This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen, two diverse-book-loving moms, who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors out there while also working to get those book into the hands of young readers and educators. Seven years in, MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves continues. I have been a proud MCBD Reviewer since 2015.

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Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away

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Shlemiel Crooks, by Anna Olswanger, illustrated by Paula Goodman Koz, Junebug/NewSouth Books, 2005, 9781588382368 (SC), $11.95

Ages: 7-10, Grades: 2 - 4, picture book for older readers

Genre: Historical fiction based on a true story, Jewish history, HUMOR!!

Based on a true story of the author's great-great grandparents and how long ago their saloon was nearly robbed of its precious Passover wine by two crooks--potatoes should sprout from their ears and onions should grow in their navels!

With its many colorful asides, I can almost hear the tale being told by a Yiddish grandmother narrator. Throughout its creative telling, readers discover reasons behind some important Jewish traditions like Passover, by a truly witty, quite funny narrator--who shares how the ghost of Pharaoh returns to "pull one over on the Jews" with the help of the two crooks. Though of course, plans do not go as expected. 

Backmatter contains newspaper articles from 1919, and the entire book provides an annotated lesson in Jewish culture, tradition, and language, in an utterly unforgettable fashion. I was left wanting more from this witty narrator--I mean, author and illustrator team. The content lends itself to classroom studies in multiple areas, and the humor will entertain adults who are asked to read this book again and again and again. Highly recommend!  

  • 2006 Sydney Taylor Honor Book
  • 2005-2006 Koret International Jewish Book Award Finalist
Deedee Cummings & Make A Way Media

MCBD 2021 SPONSORS ~ Thank you!



Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away/
By Meg Medina
Illustrated by Sonia Sanchez

Picture Book

Simultaneous English & Spanish Release
Hardcover : 32 pages
ISBN-13 : 978-1536207040 (English ed.)
ISBN-13 : 978-1536207040 (Spanish ed.)
Reading age : 5 - 7 years
Grade level : Kindergarten - 2

One of the things that makes a picture book memorable is its ability to capture a moment and show a simple moment of every day life that connects and resonates with children, and with elegance and grace Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away relays the deep friendship shared between Daniela and her mejor amiga Evelyn Del Rey, as they go out and play. "Just like any other day." Except today is moving day.

Simple sentences read like poetry, each page depicting a relatable day in the life of Every Child, "Our apartments are almost twins, just like us. That's why I already knew all the good places for hide-and-seek, and the spot behind the heater where we keep our special finds." I saw my own children in these pages, building airplanes out of boxes, secret handshakes and face painting. 

Words and illustrations together perfectly capture the moment of sadness shared when Evenly drives away, but readers are reassured at the final illustration of an older, teen Daniela, reading a letter, sitting next  to a box filled to overflowing with letters and memorabilia, indicating clearly the power of friendship to remain and be sustained, despite separation by time or miles. A beautifully crafted book, especially for children who have to move or be separated from friends, with excellence in diversity shown not in word but through simple illustrations, which also perfectly convey the many emotions share by two friends who are about to be separated by a situation outside of their control. Highly recommended!