Wednesday, January 22, 2014

January 27th is Multicultural Children's Book Day. We have a book review to get you excited!

  We are thrilled and honored to be one of the bloggers participating in the first ever Multicultural Children’s Book Day: Celebrating Diversity in Children's Literature. This paw-some day is the brainchild of co-creators
Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom, and Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book/Audrey Press.
These two paw-riffic children's reading advocates present this much needed event as a way to draw attention and raise awareness about diversity in children’s literature.

Mission: 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.

Thank You Sponsors...
The wonderful sponsors for this event are Wisdom Tales Press, Lee & Low Books, Chronicle Books, and Susan Daniel Fayad: Author of  My Grandfather’s Masbaha.

What is really exciting is that we can fit this book into the 
We are using it as our "book with someone's name in the title." Yippee!

ALSO, the timing allows us to add the review to Kid Lit Blog Hop #31. 
Kid Lit Blog Hop
We love it when things work out so nicely. :) 

Now for the review from Neighbor Girl & Cool Mom...

The first thing I want to do is thank Chronicle Books for sponsoring this fantastic event and for sending us review copies of Josephine. Next I want to thank Patricia Hruby Powell for telling Josephine's story in such an accessible way. Finally, thank you to Christian Robinson. Mr. Robinson your artwork is fun from start to finish. By the way, we loved your recent Google Doodle! ~Cool Mom

Title: Josephine
Illustrator: Christian Robinson
Year Published: 2014
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Pages: 104
Age Level: 9+ (my recommendation) Note: Amazon says 7-10 but I think this book is great for kids and adults much older than 10! 
Summary (Amazon): In exuberant verse and stirring pictures, Patricia Hruby Powell and Christian Robinson create an extraordinary portrait of the passionate performer and civil rights advocate Josephine Baker, the woman who worked her way fro the slums of St. Louis to the grandest stages in the world. Meticulously researched by both author and artist, Josephine's powerful story of struggle and triumph is an inspiration and a spectacle, just like the legend herself.

The Book's Trailer

Neighbor Girl's Feedback

Josephine was more of a grown up book than I was expecting. It was overwhelming with how much information is in the book. I enjoyed the illustrations and how she was a spy. 

Mom's Feedback

This book is BEAUTIFUL. It is a HUGE picture book (104 pages!) with fun and tremendously colorful illustrations. There wasn't a page I turned that was anything other than beautiful - even the pages without illustrations. 

The book could easily be heavy for young kids (depending on the child), as it encompasses Josephine's entire life from living in the slums and having to be Santa to her siblings, to her death. It includes her journeys around the world as a dancer and a spy; how she dealt with segregation throughout her life and fought through it; and her "rainbow tribe" of twelve adopted children from different counties. Josephine not only adopted children from other countries but raised them in their own religions! 

I found the book riveting. It is profoundly sad that I had never heard of Josephine Baker until reading this book. It shows exactly why Multicultural Children's Book Day is so very important. 

Patricia Hruby Powell tells the story well, and her level of research shines through the verse which is artfully displayed using different fonts. There are breaks in lines that seem almost wrong - but work here. 

Neighbor Girl enjoyed the book very much. Her review may be brief, but it is more than we get for most books. 

I am still a homeschooling mother at heart, I guess. If I had this book while homeschooling, I could do studies off of it for a couple of weeks easily. There are so many fantastic topics covered in this book that I would want to have lessons around. I'm sure I missed some but take a look at my quick list:
    ~Music (Ragtime, Trombones, Tuba, Fiddle)
    ~Dancing (Charleston)
    ~Geography: Saint Louis, MO; Mississippi River; New Orleans; Philadelphia, NYC, Paris, France, Germany, Russia, Egypt, Sweden, South America)
    ~What it would be life to have six people live in a shack
    ~Segregation (The largest theme of the book - how segregated America was while France had no such thing.)
    ~Traveling by train 
    ~Traveling by ship
    ~What it means to "steal the show." 
    ~Leopard (Exotic Pets)
    ~The Red Cross
    ~World War 2

The illustrations complement the verse beautifully. I snapped these pictures of a few pages that impressed me. As you see on the left hand side,  there is an illustration of the ship Josephine travels on from America to France. America's segregation is clear even on the ship, but the next page (the bottom left picture), she is in France where people seem to be colorblind. I love the dullness of the color to represent that. Fantastic. 

The picture on the top right is of Josephine dancing. I took a look at a video of her dancing and wow, is this captured perfectly. She was a great dancer but also a complete ham who loved to steal the show.  Yes, she even crossed her eyes at times. :) 

The bottom right pictures are of free printables available at the publisher's website. We printed them out and tested them. They don't take much time, but it is always nice  to have activities to go along with a book. 

This is easily a five star book. While I would love to keep our copy of Josephine,  it will do more good for others at our local library. They will be receiving the two copies that we were given from Chronicle Books. 

Disclosure: We received a copy of Josephine from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.. We received no monetary or in-kind compensation for our honest review. This post does NOT contain affiliate links. 

Check out all of the bloggers participating in Multicultural Children's Book Day:
2GirlsLostInaBook · 365 Days of Motherhood · A Bilingual Baby · A Simple Life, Really? · Africa to America · After School Smarty Pants · All Done Monkey · Andi’s Kids Books · Anita Brown Bag  · Austin Gilkeson · Barbara Ann Mojica ·  Books My Kids Read · Bottom Shelf Books · Cats Eat Dogs · Chasing The Donkey · Children's Book-a-Day Almanac · Children's Books Heal · Church o Books · CitizenBeta · Crafty Moms Share · Discovering The World Through My Son's Eyes · Early Words · Flowering Minds · Franticmommy · Gathering Books · GEO Librarian · Gladys Barbieri · Going in Circles · Growing Book by Book · iGame Mom · I’m Not The Nanny · InCulture Parent · Itsy Bitsy Mom ·Just Children’s BooksKid World Citizen · Kristi’s Book Nook · Mama Lady Books · Mama Smiles · Mission Read · Mother Daughter Book Reviews · Mrs AOk · MrsTeeLoveLifeLaughter · Ms. Yingling Reads · Multicultural Kids Blog · One Sweet World · Open Wide The World · P is for Preschooler · Rapenzel Dreams · School4Boys · Sharon the Librarian · Spanish Playground · Sprout's Bookshelf · Squishable Baby · Stanley and Katrina · Teach Mama · The Art of Home Education · The Brain Lair · The Educators' Spin On It · The Family-Ship Experience · The Yellow Door Paperie · This Kid Reviews Books  · Trishap’s Books · Unconventional Librarian · Vicki Arnold · We3Three · World for Learning · Wrapped in Foil 

Thank you for reading and sharing,

Katrina von Cat the Master of Wisdom and Knowledge (and Stanley)