I’m extremely excited to be a part of Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017! I believe very strongly that diversity makes the world a better place for all of us, and I love books that reinforce that idea. The book I was sent to review was Dragons Are Real by Valarie Budayr, published by Audrey Press.
This picture book makes a bold assertion: dragons are real, but they’re also nothing like you think. Instead of being portrayed as scary creatures, dragons are show to be fun creatures who love reading, dancing, and funny jokes. This adorable story dishes all the dirty on what dragons are really like.
The first thing I noticed about this book was the gorgeous illustrations by Michael Welply. Every inch of the page is used to set the scene, and the text is incorporated into the artwork in a way that draws readers in. The story is equally as compelling; I read this book with my Kindergartener and he loved seeing all the unexpected ways dragons love to have fun.
How does a book about dragons embrace diversity? I see two key ways. The first is in the intentional inclusion of all types of children in the illustrations. As kids turns these pages, they will see kids that look like them. Representation matters!
I think the key concept of the book also teaches an important lesson about diversity. What you’ve always accepted as true may not be fact. We all make assumptions about other people, and often we find when we get to know those people, our assumptions about them were wrong. Often, the people that we think are very different from us are more like us than we realize.
Recommended activity: After reading this story with your kids, come up with your own ideas about other things that dragons like to do. Draw a picture showing a dragon enjoying that activity!
Resources for Parents and Teachers
Read Your World: A Guide to Multicultural Children’s Books for Parents and Educators edited by Mia Wenjen
For more diverse children’s book recommendations, follow our Multicultural Children’s Books board on Pinterest.
What is Multicultural Children’s Book Day?
Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/17) is its fourth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness on the ongoing need to include kid’s 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.
Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team are on a mission to change all of that.
Current Sponsors: MCBD 2017 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. Platinum Sponsors include Scholastic, Barefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. Roman, Audrey Press, Candlewick Press, Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTV, Capstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa, Author Gayle Swift, Wisdom Tales Press, Lee& Low Books, The Pack-n-Go Girls, Live Oak Media, Author Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books
Author Sponsor include: Karen Leggett Abouraya, Veronica Appleton, Susan Bernardo, Kathleen Burkinshaw, Delores Connors, Maria Dismondy, D.G. Driver, Geoff Griffin, Savannah Hendricks, Stephen Hodges, Carmen Bernier-Grand,Vahid Imani, Gwen Jackson, Hena, Kahn, David Kelly, Mariana Llanos, Natasha Moulton-Levy, Teddy O’Malley, Stacy McAnulty, Cerece Murphy, Miranda Paul, Annette Pimentel, Greg Ransom, Sandra Richards, Elsa Takaoka, Graciela Tiscareño-Sato, Sarah Stevenson, Monica Mathis-Stowe SmartChoiceNation, Andrea Y. Wang
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 work tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.