I had the honor of presenting at the 34th annual Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for children this past year. This is the longest running event of its kind…focusing solely on multicultural literature for young readers.
The conference was established by professors at Kent State University while the beloved and most honored author of children’s literature, Virginia Hamilton, was alive.
Sixteen years after her death, Virginia would be thrilled that this conference is not only alive and well, but other initiatives are taking place across the country to celebrate and champion multicultural works.
One such event is Multicultural Children’s Book Day, (MCBD) celebrated on January 25, 2019.
The celebration was born out of frustration by two women in not being able to find diverse or multicultural children’s books for their families. Bloggers Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book and Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom took matters into their own hands by creating the event in January 2012.
The mission from the beginning has been to not only raise awareness around children’s books that celebrate diversity, but to also get more of these types of books into classrooms and libraries.
“Kids need to ‘see themselves’ in the pages of the books they read,” noted Budayr. “We are determined to not only shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books available but also offer visibility for the amazing authors and publishers who create them.”
Now in its sixth year, the MCBD online celebration attracts thousands of supporters, over 700 book reviewers and dozens of quality authors and publishers.
There are many ways that educators, media specialists, authors and families can become involved in the initiative and celebrate diverse works with young readers.
Some actionable ideas include encouraging students to bring a multicultural book to share with students in class, creating a MCBD book display in the classroom or library, or focusing on books that address social topics such as poverty, or civil rights.
Children’s book authors (including yours truly!) are supporting the initiative by becoming sponsors, intending to create awareness about our works and to support the cause.
The upcoming January 25, 2019 event promises to be the MCBD’s biggest yet!
To learn more, visit http://www.MulticulturalChildrensBookDay.com