I am honored once again to review a kidlit book for Multicultural Children’s Book Day. This year, I received a charming, early-middle-grade book from Joy Sun Bear, an organization that provides “global education for kids and classrooms.” Co-written by Blanca Carranza and John Lee, with illustrations by John Lee, The Adventures of Joy Sun Bear: The Blue Amber of Sumatra is the first in a series that will share “information about the world, diverse cultures, global issues and social-emotional learning” through fun, engaging books and activities.
When a little orangutan named Tipah is chased from her rainforest home by bulldozers, her family flees to the community of sun bears and orangutans who live near the Big Fig Tree. But the adults there argue over whether to welcome Tipah and her family. Some fear that the strangers have cursed Big Fig, resulting in a mysterious lack of figs for Harvest Day. Stoking their argument is a magical Trickster who feeds off of discord.
Joy, a sun bear cub, and his sister Ayu befriend Tipah, realizing that “They aren’t cursed, they’re refugees.” But the angry Trickster doubles its efforts to cause trouble. Soon Joy is on a perilous journey to set the rainforest right, impeded by a tiger, a python, and a runaway bulldozer. He finds help from a magical frog (“That frog has some explaining to do!”), a shape-shifting hummingbird, and a glowing blue stone with amazing powers.
Kids will enjoy the combination of well-written adventure, humor, and magic. Grown-ups will appreciate the gentle lessons about treating oneself, other people (and animals), and the environment with respect, as well as the timely message of compassion toward refugees. I found the writing to be engaging, clever, and thoughtful (“They’re [being] mean because they’re scared.”). The bright, cartoony illustrations every few pages express characters’ emotions with humor and charm.
Readers and their grown-ups will find plenty to discuss as well as simple actions they can take to reduce deforestation and help refugees in the back pages. While waiting for the next book in the series, kids can also check out free coloring pages and a crossword puzzle or learn more about Sumatra through Joy’s travel journal, which includes geography, country facts, food, culture, animals, and more with a craft, recipe, and coloring activity.
For more information about Multicultural Children’s Book Day, read on!
Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019 (1/25/19) is in its 6th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.
MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board!
Medallion Level Sponsors
Super Platinum: Make A Way Media
BRONZE: Charlesbridge Publishing, Judy Dodge Cummings, Author Gwen Jackson, Kitaab World, Language Lizard – Bilingual & Multicultural Resources in 50+ Languages, Lee & Low Books, Miranda Paul and Baptiste Paul, Redfin, Author Gayle H. Swift, T.A. Debonis-Monkey King’s Daughter, TimTimTom Books, Lin Thomas, Sleeping Bear Press/Dow Phumiruk, Vivian Kirkfield,
MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Author Sponsors on board
Author Janet Balletta, Author Kathleen Burkinshaw, Author Josh Funk, Chitra Soundar, One Globe Kids – Friendship Stories, Sociosights Press and Almost a Minyan, Karen Leggett, Author Eugenia Chu, CultureGroove Books, Phelicia Lang and Me On The Page, L.L. Walters, Author Sarah Stevenson, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Hayley Barrett, Sonia Panigrah, Author Carolyn Wilhelm, Alva Sachs and Dancing Dreidels, Author Susan Bernardo, Milind Makwana and A Day in the Life of a Hindu Kid, Tara Williams, Veronica Appleton, Author Crystal Bowe, Dr. Claudia May, Author/Illustrator Aram Kim, Author Sandra L. Richards, Erin Dealey, Author Sanya Whittaker Gragg, Author Elsa Takaoka, Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo, Anita Badhwar, Author Sylvia Liu, Feyi Fay Adventures, Author Ann Morris, Author Jacqueline Jules, CeCe & Roxy Books, Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace, LEUYEN PHAM, Padma Venkatraman, Patricia Newman and Lightswitch Learning, Shoumi Sen, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Traci Sorell, Shereen Rahming, Blythe Stanfel, Christina Matula, Julie Rubini, Paula Chase, Erin Twamley, Afsaneh Moradian, Lori DeMonia, Claudia Schwam, Terri Birnbaum/ RealGirls Revolution, Soulful Sydney, Queen Girls Publications, LLC
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, Agatha Rodi Books, All Done Monkey, Barefoot Mommy, Biracial Bookworms, Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms Share, Colours of Us, Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, Descendant of Poseidon Reads, Educators Spin on it, Growing Book by Book, Here Wee Read, Joy Sun Bear/ Shearin Lee, Jump Into a Book, Imagination Soup,Jenny Ward’s Class, Kid World Citizen, Kristi’s Book Nook, The Logonauts, Mama Smiles, Miss Panda Chinese, Multicultural Kid Blogs, Raising Race Conscious Children, Shoumi Sen, Spanish Playground
TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Make A Way Media: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual @McChildsBookDay Twitter Party will be held 1/25/19 at 9:00pm.E.S.T. TONS of prizes and book bundles will be given away during the party ( a prize every 5 minutes!). GO HERE for more details.
FREE RESOURCES From MCBD
Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.