2020 Multicultural Children’s Book Day: Religious Diversity Book Reviews

multicultural childrens book day, book review, diversity book reviewI’m very excited to be part of the Multicultural Children’s Book Day for the second year in a row! You can read about previous reviews for level one readers, level two readers, and level three readers. This year I was sent two incredibly different religious books focusing on religious diversity, and I’m really excited to share my thoughts on both of these kids book reviews and tell you about Multicultural Children’s Book Day and why it’s so important to our children’s development!

Before I jump in, I want to disclose my religious affiliation. I am Christian and my husband is Muslim, however, we are always excited to introduce our daughter to different religions because we feel it’s very important to understand the world around you, and the differences (and similarities!) in belief systems to make your own educated decision. With that said, let’s jump in!


Children’s Book Review: Catherine’s Pascha by Charlotte Riggle

I received Catherine’s Pascha: A Celebration of Easter in the Orthodox Church in exchange for a review, but all thoughts are my own!

Title: Catherine’s Pascha
Written by: Charlotte Riggle
Illustrated by: R.J. Hughes
Age Range: 4-10
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Phoenix Flair Press (February 23, 2015)
ISBN: 978-0984612444
What to Expect: Orthodox Church, Pascha
Short Description: Introduction to the Orthodox Church and Pascha through the eyes of a child!

Overall Thoughts:

Pascha for those who don’t know is the middle of the night service on Easter in the Orthodox Church. The story centers around Catherine, a multicultural childrens book day, catherines pascha, childrens diversity book reviewyoung girl trying to stay awake for the service. It’s a wonderful perspective of a religious ceremony as told through the eyes of a child. 

Throughout the story, she explains different traditions of the service, including songs, candle lighting, communion, and even mentions differences between her church and her Grandmothers church.

I love learning about the different parts of the holiday, there is a lot of information shared in the story and it even comes with a dictionary and an FAQ section in the back, along with a website for even more information. This is perfect for children and adults, as it allows parents to potentially learn along with the kids, and kids to explore the topic on their own! 

Admittedly it is a little difficult to read with the format; there are three different fonts on each page, one for the main text, another for an odd border text related to the main graphic or calling out a piece of scripture, and a third which acts as an informational caption for the background graphic. In fact, most of the background graphics are churches around the world which adds an interesting discussion element. That said, the abundance of graphics and text on each page makes it interesting to read over (and over…and over!) again as you notice something new each time!

Overall, I think the book is a great introduction to Pascha for any child in the Orthodox Church, or any family wishing to introduce their child to different religions or holidays! Celebrating religious diversity is a beautiful way to build a strong community by not only co-existing but respecting each other’s beliefs! 

Children’s Book Review: When God Made the World by Matthew Paul Turner

I received an advanced copy of When God Made the World by Matthew Paul Turner in exchange for a review, but all thoughts are my own!

Title: When God Made the World
Written by: Matthew Paul Turner
Illustrated by: Gillian Gamble
Age Range: 3-7
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Convergent Books (January 28, 2020)
ISBN: 978-0525650669
What to Expect: Christianity, Story of Creation
Short Description: A whimsical journey through the story of creation.

Overall Thoughts:

First of all, WHOA. The art is incredible. I want to hang each page up on the wall, it truly is a gorgeous book! My daughter is obsessed with multicultural childrens book day, when god made the world, childrens diversity book revieweach page, pausing to say “purty” and “soo cuutte!” each time (a ringing endorsement from a 2-year old, if I ever heard one)!

Art aside, the story is equally beautiful. The author does an incredible job with the rhymes and the rhythm flows with the images perfectly. The story takes on a whimsical presence and becomes less of a religious symbol and more of a journey into our beautiful world. The readers get to meet a variety of diverse people, cultures, along with nature and animals. It felt like a humbling experience, less story of creation and more story of our world.

I love the use of vocabulary, there are so many words in here you don’t find in most picture books. Things like ‘plateaus’ and ‘geysers’, ‘tundras’, and ‘crepes’, and ‘krill’ and ‘bogs’! Simple words, exotic to toddlers that will be fun to explore as they get older. I also highly appreciate the way they are written into the story, they sync well with the images to be able to point out as you go, and many offer definitions right in the rhyme: “Then, the oceans God filled with fish, sharks, and krill, creatures God made with fins and with gills.”.

Overall, I’m excited to see how this book becomes more of a discussion piece as my daughter gets older. I believe the story will grow with her, as she begins to understand what it means, allowing her to find appreciation in the little things that we as human beings take advantage of each day. I believe this book is a great choice for any kids’ bookshelf, regardless of your belief in the story. It focuses on the diversity in our world, our planet, and even the solar system and finding love in our hearts for all things big and small, regardless of its difference to you as an individual. I think that’s a message ALL humans (big or small) can benefit from!

For more books on religious diversity, check out my book review on Noor Books!

2020 Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2020 (1/31/20) is in its 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 on the market 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.

MCBD 2020 is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board

Super Platinum

Make A Way Media/ Deirdre “DeeDee” Cummings,

Platinum

Language Lizard, Pack-N-Go Girls,

Gold

Audrey Press, Lerner Publishing Group, KidLit TV, ABDO BOOKS: A Family of Educational Publishers, PragmaticMom & Sumo Jo, Candlewick Press,

Silver

Author Charlotte Riggle, Capstone Publishing, Guba Publishing, Melissa Munro Boyd & B is for Breathe,

Bronze

Author Carole P. Roman, Snowflake Stories/Jill Barletti, Vivian Kirkfield & Making Their Voices Heard. Barnes Brothers Books, TimTimTom, Wisdom Tales Press, Lee & Low Books, Charlesbridge Publishing, Barefoot Books Talegari Tales

Author Sponsor Link Cloudhttps://www.barefootbooks.com/l

Jerry Craft, A.R. Bey and Adventures in Boogieland, Eugina Chu & Brandon goes to Beijing, Kenneth Braswell & Fathers Incorporated, Maritza M. Mejia & Luz del mes_Mejia, Kathleen Burkinshaw & The Last Cherry Blossom, SISSY GOES TINY by Rebecca Flansburg and B.A. Norrgard, Josh Funk and HOW TO CODE A ROLLERCOASTER, Maya/Neel Adventures with Culture Groove, Lauren Ranalli, The Little Green Monster: Cancer Magic! By Dr. Sharon Chappell, Phe Lang and Me On The Page, Afsaneh Moradian and Jamie is Jamie, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, TUMBLE CREEK PRESS, Nancy Tupper Ling, Author Gwen Jackson, Angeliki Pedersen & The Secrets Hidden Beneath the Palm Tree, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 by Mia Wenjen, Susan Schaefer Bernardo & Illustrator Courtenay Fletcher (Founders of Inner Flower Child Books), Ann Morris & Do It Again!/¡Otra Vez!, Janet Balletta and Mermaids on a Mission to Save the Ocean, Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo & Bruna Bailando por el Mundo\ Dancing Around the World, Shoumi Sen & From The Toddler Diaries, Sarah Jamila Stevenson, Tonya Duncan and the Sophie Washington Book Series, Teresa Robeson & The Queen of Physics, Nadishka Aloysius and Roo The Little Red TukTuk, Girlfriends Book Club Baltimore & Stories by the Girlfriends Book Club, Finding My Way Books, Diana Huang & Intrepids, Five Enchanted Mermaids, Elizabeth Godley and Ribbon’s Traveling Castle, Anna Olswanger and Greenhorn, Danielle Wallace & My Big Brother Troy, Jocelyn Francisco and Little Yellow Jeepney, Mariana Llanos & Kutu, the Tiny Inca Princess/La Ñusta Diminuta, Sara Arnold & The Big Buna Bash, Roddie Simmons & Race 2 Rio, DuEwa Frazier & Alice’s Musical Debut, Veronica Appleton & the Journey to Appleville book series Green Kids Club, Inc.

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 works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts

A Crafty Arab, Afsaneh Moradian, Agatha Rodi Books, All Done Monkey, Barefoot Mommy, Bethany Edward & Biracial Bookworms, Michelle Goetzl & Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms Share, Colours of Us, Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, Educators Spin on it, Shauna Hibbitts-creator of eNannylink, Growing Book by Book, Here Wee Read, Joel Leonidas & Descendant of Poseidon Reads {Philippines}, Imagination Soup, Kid World Citizen, Kristi’s Book Nook, The Logonauts, Mama Smiles, Miss Panda Chinese, Multicultural Kid Blogs, Serge Smagarinsky {Australia}, Shoumi Sen, Jennifer Brunk & Spanish Playground, Katie Meadows and Youth Lit Reviews

FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day

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About Ariana Dagan

Welcome! I live in Northern California with my husband, our toddler, and two dogs. I'm a writer, illustrator, and personal development consultant. I'm on a mission to create a culture of happier, thriving mamas! I help calm the chaos so they can reclaim their happiness, rediscover their identity, and reach new levels of success in their endeavors. This site is a place to find value in your voice and strength to become the best version of yourself so you can go from simply existing day-to-day to LIVING ON PURPOSE.

2 Comments

  1. Every child must learn about his / her culture and religion. I am trying to introduce my child to such books now

  2. These are very fascinating books! The illustration of the cover from When God Made the World look does make it look like the art will be amazing! I love reading books that I have to read over and over again that I like to look at.

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