National Author’s Day is a fun day that commemorates and recognizes all of the delights that has been added to our world by creative souls a.k.a The American Author.
As you can imagine, this special day is a popular one at Make A Way Media. As an author of 15 diverse picture books, Deedee Cummings encourages everyone to celebrate this day by giving a social media shout-out to your favorite author and maybe even sharing a book title or two.
Another way to show support to authors is to visit your local bookstore and not only buy a brand new book but also challenge yourself to pick out a new genre or author that you are unfamiliar with and give that one a whirl as well! Classics written by amazing authors like Alice Walker, James Baldwin, or Maya Angelou are always good if you are stumped on where to begin.
When encouraging kids to celebrate this day, think “Windows and Mirrors.”
“Mirrors and Windows” was initially introduced by scholar Emily Style for the National SEED Project back in the late 1980s. That term has since become widely used to help kids “see” themselves (Mirrors) in the pages of the books they read.
But frequently, adults forget the Windows part of this equation. A Mirror is a story that reflects your own culture and helps you build your identity, but a Window is a resource that offers you a view into someone else’s experience. It is critical to understand that students cannot truly learn about themselves unless they learn about others. To drive the point home, white kids need to read books that provide a “window” into new cultures, races, traditions, family dynamics, and religions.
If you really care about fostering empathy in children, you need to genuinely care about the journey of other people who don’t look and live as you do.
We need to provide books for our kids that do not contribute to harmful stereotypes and misconceptions. This can occur much more easily when the book is not written by someone who lived that life and learned firsthand from the experience. Instead, we owe it to ourselves and to the next generation to share books that help us see the world as the vast, beautiful, and fascinating place that it truly is- from the perspective of many. The most authentic story is told by the one who lived it.
Here are a few of our recommendations for books that promote windows and mirrors for young minds:
A National Author’s Day Booklist
Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess–A Little Magic by Deedee Cummings
Kayla always had a plan. The problem was a lot of other people had a plan for Kayla too. But as an independent young woman, Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess has grown into a Queen. “ModernDayK,” as her peers call her.
So, when she tells her mom that she is on her way home from college with “big news,” the results are some surprises, some honest conversations, and the realization of a life-long dream. Mother and daughter soon see how all the special princess gifts from the past will play a magical role in Kayla’s future. Each gift has a special memory, and each represents a noteworthy milestone in her life. But most importantly, they are filled with confidence, determination, a mother’s love, and A Little Magic.
Parents and Teachers: Seeing characters who look like them in the books they read is not only essential for building self-esteem, but it also helps young readers understand that they matter. Diverse and #OWNVOICES books, like Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess, help kids discover for themselves that their dreams are possible. This book, and the other diverse picture books in the Kayla series, touch on important and timely topics like family dynamics, challenging stereotypes, acceptance, social justice, confidence, speaking our truth, and inclusion.
This book series is not just for girls or children of color either. Frequently, adults forget the “Windows” part of “Windows and Mirrors.” A Mirror is a story that reflects your own culture and helps you build your identity, but a Window is a resource that offers you a view into someone else’s experience. It is critical to understand that students cannot truly learn about themselves unless they learn about others. White kids need to read books that provide a “window” into new cultures, races, traditions, family dynamics, and religions to drive the point home.
“If you care about fostering empathy in children, you need to genuinely care about the journey of other people who don’t look and live as you do.” ~Deedee Cummings
Adults also need to provide books for our kids that do not contribute to harmful stereotypes and misconceptions. This can occur much more quickly when the book is not written by someone who lived that life and learned firsthand from experience. Instead, we owe it to ourselves and to the next generation to share books that help us see the world as the vast, beautiful, and fascinating place that it truly is- from the perspective of many. The most authentic story is told by the one who lived it. By investing in #OWNVOICES stories, book buyers support the stories and amplify the voices, of the authors who lived them.
Mae Among The Stars by Roda Ahmed
A beautiful picture book for sharing and marking special occasions such as graduation, inspired by the life of the first African American woman to travel in space, Mae Jemison. An Amazon Best Book of the Month!
A great classroom and bedtime read-aloud, Mae Among the Stars is the perfect book for young readers who have big dreams and even bigger hearts.
When Little Mae was a child, she dreamed of dancing in space. She imagined herself surrounded by billions of stars, floating, gliding, and discovering.
She wanted to be an astronaut.
Her mom told her, “If you believe it, and work hard for it, anything is possible.”
Little Mae’s curiosity, intelligence, and determination, matched with her parents’ encouraging words, paved the way for her incredible success at NASA as the first African American woman to travel in space.
All Are Welcome Here by Alexandra Penfold
Join the call for a better world with this New York Times bestselling picture book about a school where diversity and inclusion are celebrated. The perfect back-to-school read for every kid, family, and classroom!
In our classroom safe and sound.
Fears are lost and hope is found.
Discover a school where all young children have a place, have a space, and are loved and appreciated.
Readers will follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where students from all backgrounds learn from and celebrate each other’s traditions. A school that shows the world as we will make it to be.
The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig
A gentle story that teaches how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to flourish, from esteemed author and speaker Trudy Ludwig and acclaimed illustrator Patrice Barton.
A simple act of kindness can transform an invisible boy into a friend…
Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody in class ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party . . . until, that is, a new kid comes to class.
When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine.
Any parent, teacher, or counselor looking for material that sensitively addresses the needs of quieter children will find The Invisible Boy a valuable and important resource. Includes a discussion guide and resources for further reading.
The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
Being the new kid in school is hard enough, but what happens when nobody can pronounce your name? Having just moved from Korea, Unhei is anxious about fitting in. So instead of introducing herself on the first day of school, she decides to choose an American name from a glass jar. But while Unhei thinks of being a Suzy, Laura, or Amanda, nothing feels right. With the help of a new friend, Unhei will learn that the best name is her own.
This book is a bestselling classic about finding the courage to be yourself and being proud of your background.
Not Quite Snow White by Ashley Franklin
Tameika is a girl who belongs on the stage. She loves to act, sing, and dance—and she’s pretty good at it, too. So when her school announces their Snow White musical, Tameika auditions for the lead princess role.
But the other kids think she’s “not quite” right to play the role.
They whisper, they snicker, and they glare.
Will Tameika let their harsh words be her final curtain call?
Under my Hijab by Hena Kahn
Grandma wears it clasped under her chin. Aunty pins hers up with a beautiful brooch. Jenna puts it under a sun hat when she hikes. Zara styles hers to match her outfit. As a young girl observes six very different women in her life who each wear the hijab in a unique way, she also dreams of the rich possibilities of her own future, and how she will express her own personality through her hijab. Written in sprightly rhyme and illustrated by a talented newcomer, Under My Hijab honors the diverse lives of contemporary Muslim women and girls, their love for each other, and their pride in their culture and faith.
Trombone Shorty by Troy Andrews
“Who’s that playing out there?” Bo Diddley asked the New Orleans crowd. It was a small child who’d been nicknamed “Trombone Shorty” because his trombone was twice as large as he was. Trombone Shorty was lifted in the air and carried through the audience until he reached the stage with Bo Diddley. He has been on stage ever since.
Hailing from the Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans, where music always floated in the air, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews didn’t always have the money to buy an instrument, but he did have the dream to play music. This is the story of how he made his dream take flight.
Today, Troy Andrews is a Grammy-nominated musician who tours the world with his band, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. He continues to inspire hope for the next generation in New Orleans and for music lovers everywhere.
Both fiction and nonfiction books have the potential to enrich our personal and professional lives on many levels. Make Authors’ Day your day to feed another great book into your mind.
The 9th annual Multicultural Children’s Book Day is coming on January 28, 2022!
MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness for children’s books that celebrate diversity by getting more of these books into classrooms and libraries. This non-profit also strives to shine the spotlight on the diverse books and authors that often get overlooked by mainstream publishing and media.
“Kids need to ‘see themselves’ in the pages of the books they read,” noted Co-Founder, Valarie Budayr. “We are determined to not only shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books available but also offer visibility for the amazing authors and publishers who create them.”
The MCBD online celebration attracts thousands of supporters, over 600 book reviewers, and dozens of quality authors and publishers. With each passing year, not only has the event itself grown exponentially, but this non-profit initiative has also expanded to offline classroom programs, celebrations, and they now have a global reach.
The proceeds from the January online event and year-round fundraising go towards supporting this initiative and funding the Our Free Diverse Books for Classrooms and Teachers project.
To learn how you can get involved, go HERE and don’t forget to follow the #ReadYourWorld hashtag on social media!