Multicultural Children's Book Day Suggestions
January 27 is Multicultural Children's Book Day! It's a mouthful, but a good cause. Why do we have a need for such a day? To spread the word and recognize that now more than ever WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS. It's so important to see reflections of ourselves in the books we read, even if it's only a piece of your heritage.
So to kick off that week, I'm going to review Sidewalk Flowers by Jon Arno Lawson and Sydney Smith (published 2015).
I'm not sure if Sidewalk Flowers is meant to be a multicultural book, but to me it is. A picture book told in illustration alone, we follow a young girl as she walks through the city with her father. The little girl spreads joy symbolically and literally in every place she visits. The initial pictures are shades of black and white with her red hoodie the only splash of color....until she spots her first sidewalk flowers. As the story progresses, the streets and places she visits become more colorful, not really because of the flowers, but because the little girl has made her presence known.
I love this girl's heart--how she sees so much in her every day, even as her father walks next to her, his ear glued to his phone at times. Does he see what she sees? Likely not. But that's the beauty of it too--that she is so aware of her world around her.
The best part of this book? I'm not sure what ethnicity the little girl is. To me, she could look Asian in some pictures, or white, or a mixture of a number of things? And the people she connects with, the people she watches and draws knowledge from are a diverse group as well. In fact, when I read the book with Little Lion, she thought the little girl was a boy at first--and I guess the main character could be a boy as well.
This book reminds us to truly see the world around us. And that one child can bring so much joy and wonder to so many people.
Sidenote: My bookworm girls love to pick flowers during our walks too.
Rating: As I've said before, all wordless picture books belong on the floor. I've not heard of Sidewalk Flowers before, but snatched it up from my bookworm girls' school library. As I once told our awesome librarian, Mrs M, we had plans to build our own dream library at home. And then we found this amazing school that the bookworm girls attend and all our second-floor-library-money is currently going toward tuition. Money well spent, of course, but I still have dreams. Of course, Mrs M replied that "This could be your library then." And it is.
Ages: Mature 3 year old on up.