Sunday, January 25, 2015

Multicultural Children's Book Day

Multicultural Children's Book Day is January 27th, 2015!

Children’s reading and play advocates Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book and Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom have teamed up to create an ambitious (and much needed) national event. On January 27th, Jump into a Book and Pragmatic Mom will be presenting yet another Multicultural Children’s Book Day as a way of celebrating diversity in children’s books.

Our mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these of books into classrooms and libraries.

As part of the celebration, I'm reviewing two fun multicultural books today, The Case of the Paranoid Panda: An Irwin Lalune Mystery and The Dragon, the Thief, & the Princess.

Author: Bruce Murphy
Illustrator: Christian Paniagua
Publisher: Bliss Group Books
Pages: 113
Review Copy: Final copy via publisher

Summary: Irwin LaLune is a skunk detective who likes the smell of a good mystery. But he gets more than he bargained for when a squirrel tips him off to the antics of the panda Ling Ming--the local zoo's star attraction. Someone is driving the panda crazy, but no one's saying who—not even the panda himself. Can Irwin solve the mystery before things get really out of hand? Irwin's mission will take him from the anaconda cage to the lion's den—and that's before it gets really dangerous!

Review: A skunk, squirrel, magpie, anaconda, and a few other quirky critters collaborate in an attempt to help a panda before they run out of time. Through a curious set of circumstances, this crew comes together and helps each other. They learn to appreciate the others even though they're different at first glance. Irwin even starts to look for the similarities between skunks and pandas. They're both black and white and are related to raccoons.

The exchange between Irwin and the sloth really delivers the theme of the book. Irwin says the sloth is upside down and gets this reply, "Maybe I'm not upside down. Maybe you are. Ever think of that?" The sloth continues, "Depends on your point of view." Seeing things from someone else's point of view is emphasized throughout the book.

This is a mystery that allows the reader a little guesswork and quite a few laughs. Young readers will enjoy getting to know the sleuthing skunk, hyper squirrel, multi-lingual magpie, an alliterative anaconda, and other friends along the way.

Publisher: Bliss Group Books
Pages: 289
Review Copy: Final copy via publisher

Summary: Award-winning novelist Gillian Bradshaw's classic fantasy-history tale of Egypt and Nubia, now in one volume. Teen fisherman Prahotep is nicknamed "bad-luck" because everything he touches turns to disaster. When his father dies, he sets off to Thebes to improve his fate, but soon winds up on a dangerous work crew, cutting stone for an evil magician. There he befriends a dying tomb-robber who tells him of unimaginable riches-and how to find them. Prahotep escapes the work crew but instead of finding the riches, he finds Lady Hathor, a proud, irritable dragon. Meanwhile, to the south, in Nubia, the princess Kandaki's family is murdered by a usurper. Kandaki refuses the usurper's offer of marriage, and is sent north to be offered as a sacrifice to a "swamp dragon."

Review: Prahotep has the nickname "Bad-luck" and it's seems to be entirely appropriate as he is a fisherman unable to catch fish and his father has just died. Even as he leaves seeking a better life, the bad luck follows him. He falls in with a work crew led by a horrible man and ends up being chased by an evil magician. Prahotep does come into his own though as he races farther and farther from home. The book is filled with adventure, magic and of course the dragon. Prahotep's missteps are often amusing as are his wily solutions to problems. He may have horrific luck, but his brain is agile and helps him to squeak through seemingly impossible situations.

To avoid spoilers, I won't say much about the dragon, but Lady Hathor is quite impressive.

In the second part of the book, we meet the princess. She is a damsel in distress, but she's not crying in a corner waiting for rescue. Kandaki looks fear in the face and determines to save herself or die trying.

This would be an entertaining novel for middle grade fantasy/adventure fans. Though Prahotep is seventeen, the romance was not a big focus and the action scenes were not extremely graphic so it works well for even young readers. I was worried that this would be slow going, but it's a face paced book and I'm glad I found out about Prahotep and his amazing journey.

We appreciate MCCBD’s  2015 Sponsors 

There are Author sponsors too. You can meet them here.
We also have NINE amazing Co-Hosts. You can view them here.

First Book and Stories for All Virtual Book Drive 
 book drive1
MCCBD has partnered with First Book to create a Virtual Book Drive connected to their Stories for All initiative which features books that contain a diverse array of characters and cultures. The money raised through your local Virtual Book Drive will provide new books to kids in need in communities; every $2.50 raised translates into one brand-new book for a child. We have created our own Virtual Book Drive page to raise funds to purchase multicultural books that First Book will work to distribute to under-served children. The MCCBD Virtual Book Drive is now LIVE so please visit the page and do your part on getting books into the hands of kids!

Children's Book Council and Multicultural Children's Book Day
A big THANK YOU goes to Children’s Book Council as they highlight wonderful diversity books and authors on an ongoing basis all year.

1 comment:

  1. These look like two great books. Both are definitely going on my to read list. Thanks for your review and linky as well as celebrating Multicultural Children's Book Day with us.