I’am super excited to share my book review with you all as an official book reviewer for Multicultural Children’s Book Day! So, what is Multiculural Children’s Book Day (MCBD)? Here’s what you need to know about it:
MCBD Mission Statement:
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.
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, Mia and Valarie are on a mission to change all of that. Their mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these types of books into classrooms and libraries. Another goal of this exciting event is create a compilation of books and favorite reads that will provide not only a new reading list for the winter, but also a way to expose brilliant books to families, teachers, and libraries.
“MCCBD team hopes to spread the word and raise awareness about the importance of diversity in children’s literature. Our young readers need to see themselves within the pages of a book and experience other cultures, languages, traditions and religions within the pages of a book. We encourage readers, parents, teachers, caregivers and librarians to follow along the fun book reviews, author visits, event details, a multicultural children’s book linky and via our hashtag (#ReadYourWorld) on Twitter and other social media.”
NOTE: The full name of this event is Multicultural Children’s Book Day and our official hashtag is #ReadYourWorld. The co-creators of this unique event are Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom and Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book/Audrey Press. You can find a bio for Mia and Valarie here.
MCCBD’s 2015 Sponsors: include Platinum Sponsors: Wisdom Tales Press, Daybreak Press Global Bookshop, Gold Sponsors: Satya House, MulticulturalKids.com, Author Stephen Hodges and the Magic Poof, Silver Sponsors: Junior Library Guild, Capstone Publishing, Lee and Low Books, The Omnibus Publishing. Bronze Sponsors:Double Dutch Dolls, Bliss Group Books, Snuggle with Picture Books Publishing, Rainbow Books, Author FeliciaCapers, Chronicle Books Muslim Writers Publishing ,East West Discovery Press.
Lulu and the Very Big Meanies Book Review:
As soon as I read the description of this book, I had a feeling this was going to be a fun read:
“Lulu and the Very Big Meanies is the first book in the new series, Lulubug’s Week in the Life: Meet Laila, AKA Lulu, young Muslimah, drama queen extraordinaire, and big-time fashionista! Lulu can’t cut a break this week! First she finds out that she’s moving to a new school and a new town for the next school year, and it’s not even her fault. Then Veronica B. and Veronica C., the most miserable bullies in the world, hand-pick Lulu for their evil plans. Add to that a very sick kitty and the something buzzing in the woods out back, well, Lulu is just not having a great time of it. Even with the help of her friends and family, can she possibly survive the Week of the Very Big Meanies?”
The main character in this book is Laila, or Lulu, as her friends call her; she’s a part of an American Muslim family living in Southern Virginia. I really loved how Lulu’s family is representative of the average family living in the West. For instance, both of her parents work outside of the home, and Lulu and her twin older brothers attend Public School. Growing up, I had a very similar lifestyle as Lulu, in fact, reading parts of this book strongly reminded me of my own childhood!
Moreover, I fell in love with the way Lulu’s family practised their religion of Islam regularly. For example, Lulu’s mother makes sure the kids pray daily; and when their father comes home, they all pray together as a unit. Furthermore, in the summer time, the entire family prays Jummah at the mosque and goes out for lunch afterwards as a family!
I also enjoyed the overall Islamic tone of this book, as it wasn’t overpowering and conveyed in such a way that it blended beautifully with the story and the voice of nine year old Lulu. Here is a list of some of the Islamic lessons mentioned:
- Islam is about kindness and hospitality
- Sadaqa is to be kind towards your siblings
- Sabr is a personal Jihad
- Reciting Duas is very important
- Every time you read the Quran, it is considered a good deed
- It is considered sadaqa to feed and take care of animals
- Wasting food is haram (unacceptable)
- Making your mother proud is an opportunity to enter Jannah
There were SO many moments where I laughed while reading this book; I just wanted to take Lulu out of the book and make her my friend- she was THAT funny! My favorite part of the book is when Lulu talks about how her mother told her that the most important thing to know was the Kalimah (the testimony of faith), and the next most important thing was that she wasn’t allowed to go near boys- Yup, that’s my childhood right there for you as well!
Overall, I think this is a book that all children of 8 years old+ should read, as it shows you that Muslims are respectable people of manners and kindness…and that some of us have a sense of humour as well!
More information about MCCBD
Our CoHosts: There are NINE amazing Co-Host. You can view them here.
We’re also partnering with First Book to offer a Virtual Book Drive that will help donate multicultural children’s books through their channels during the week of the event. We want to help get diversity books into the hands of kids who most need it and now we have a way to do it! The Virtual Book Drive is LIVE and can be found HERE.
Children’s Book Council:
MCCBD is collaborating with Children’s Book Council to highlight wonderful diversity books and authors on an ongoing basis all year.
A HUGE thank you to the Children’s Book Council for their contribution and support!