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MCCBD mission: raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, and get more of these books into classrooms and libraries.

Horse Raid: The Making of a Warrior

Written and Illustrated by Paul Goble

Wisdom Tales; Revised ed., June 2014, $16.95

Age Range: 6 - 9 years
Genre: Blend of fiction and nonfiction, Native American Life, Battle of Little Bighorn, Custer, Native American and American History, Crazy Horse
ISBN-13: 978-1937786250

January 27, 2016 

Custer's Last Battle: Red Hawk's Account of the Battle of the Little Bighorn

Written and Illustrated by Paul Goble

Wisdom Tales, New edition, August 2013, $16.95

Age Range: 6 - 9 years
Genre: Blend of fiction and nonfiction, Native American Life, Battle of Little Bighorn, Custer, Native American and American History, Crazy Horse
ISBN-13: 978-1937786113

Paul Goble: Custer's Last Battle: Red Hawk's Account of the Battle of the Little Bighorn

I am honored to have been asked to share these titles and give tribute to an author and artist who will be missed in children's publishing. I only just learned of his passing, and even before then, one of the reasons I love the updated edition of Custer's Last Battle is to see the book as the author and artist, Paul Goble, first envisioned. Goble was able to revise his text and completely re-illustrate this edition, as he, the artist, originally envisioned. Goble's passion for the American Indian, traditional, way of life shines through in both the story and art, which resembles drawings similar to found by Native Americans of the time period. His artistic vision, combined with decades of additional experience writing and illustrating, make this a wonderful collection to libraries. This updated edition also includes a foreword by Joe Medicine Crow, whose grandfather was one of Custer's own scouts.


The story of the Battle of Little Bighorn is told by a fictional character, "Red Hawk," a Lakota warrior, who relays the events of that infamous day from the point of view of a young, Native American about to become a "warrior". Throughout the fictional narrative, sidebars relay factual information about what happened that day, including actual battle details (which I found fascinating). Early chapter book readers and young middle grade readers will appreciate this retelling, with high appeal for reluctant readers and boys! Older readers will appreciate learning how the old battle formations failed against the ways of the Native Americans--which were later adopted by the Colonial Army. 


While exploring, be sure to check out other books by Paul Goble and published by Wisdom Tales, like Horse Raid: The Making of a Warrior and Caldecott winner, The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses. 

Kiki and Jacques
By Susan Ross
Holiday House, 2015, $16.95
Age: 9-12
Genre: Contemporary Realistic Fiction, Refugees, Maine, Friendship,

Somali Americans, Prejudice, Alcoholism, Bullying, Family, Faith, Death

ISBN: 9780823434275

Debut author Susan Ross has a lot going on in her first novel for middle-graders, Kiki and Jacques, but it shows the reality of what many children face in the world we live in. While its diversity theme was the main reason this book was selected for review, and that is the story revolves around a family of Somalian refugees who come to live in  small-town Maine, this book also touches on tough issues with language that will appeal to boys and girls ages 8-11, and some advanced younger readers. The age of the main character and its simplistic style may put-off kids ages 12 and up. 


Eleven-year-old Jacques is handling the death of his mother, and since then, his father has returned to drinking. They live with Jacques' grandmother in a small, Franco-American town, where Jacques must now abandon homeschooling and help maintain the family's bridal shop. The bills are piling, and life isn't the same since Mom died. The reality is many children are aware of and understand concepts of budgeting--or at least when Mom and Dad argue over bills. And many children have experienced the death of a parent. Jacques' homeschooling is a key component to the book and helps make the plot more believable.  


Jacques is targeted by a neighbor boy, who wants Jacques to first sell pot at school, and later to help with a robbery. Each time Jacques refuses, but things change with the arrival of refugees from Somalia. First Jacques' position as soccer captain is jeopardized by Mohamed, one of the refugees and brother to Kiki, a girl with a scar along her face, who Jacques eventually befriends. Between the rivaly over soccer and the prejudice taking place against the refugees,, Jacques juggles pressures from school and home, friends and father, and Duane, who eventually threatens to hurt Kiki if Jacques doesn't agree to the plan. Though Jacques still refuses, disaster ensues. 


At first I was nonplussed at the idea of an 11-year-old knowing about pot, but in talking with my 12-year-old daughter and friends, the fact is middle-graders in this age group are handling intense pressures on many different levels at much earlier ages, drugs, alcohol, family dysfunction, the reality of budgeting, and the intense pressure to feel liked by their peers--in a world that continues the evolve as fast as the latest technology. Jacques deals with a lot, and his thoughts and actions are realistic for a child in his position. He must find his way and take a stand. He has no idea how to deal with reporting a crime, especially when he doesn't have guiding parents, and when he feels his friends and family are threatened. The ending is satisfying, perhaps a bit too tidy for older readers given all that's happening, but this is an aspect that makes this book perfect for readers ages 9-11, who need a satisfying ending. Kiki and Jacques will provide valuable starting points of conversation for readers and shows how difficult it can be for kids this age as they are establishing their independence and values. It also is realistic in that Jacques messes up, even though he wants to do the right thing. Although the cover suggests otherwise, there is no romance in this book, other than the first realizations of the opposite sex, and Jacques thoughts about Kiki and another girl. 


Finally, I was also impressed by the book's subtle theme of faith. In a realistic way, organic to the story, Jacques prays to God for wisdom, while at the same time thinking about the prayers of those of a different religion. This is handled realistically. Early on, we read "he has always been taught to do the right thing." When events reach a peak, Jacques prays for direction. The reader knows he's gone to church with his family. And most homeschoolers tend to be Christian in faith. Having worked for HarperCollins Christian Publishing, I look for books by secular publishers that address issues of faith. This book has crossover appeal to Christian Bookseller Association (CBA) retailers, it may also appeal to certain reluctant readers ages 9-10, and it has much to offer for classroom use.  

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017

#ReadYourWorld 

The MCCBD team’s mission?

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 via hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

Spread the word people!

MCBD 2017 sponsors

Platinum Sponsor: Scholastic

Medallion Level Sponsors: Author Carole P. Roman, Audrey Press, KidLitTV, Capstone Young Readers, Author Gayle Swift, Wisdom Tales Press, Lee & Low Books, The Pack-n-Go Girls, Live Oak Media, Author Charlotte Riggle, and Chronicle Books. 

Paul Goble, beloved author and artist of award-winning children's literature, passed this January 5, 2017

Multicultural Children’s Book day 2016 Medallion Level Sponsors!

#ReadYourWorld