By Lisa Cohn
As participants in MultiCultural Children’s Book Day 2017, we were thrilled to receive the book, “The Barefoot Book of Children,” written by Tessa Strickland and Kate DePalma, illustrated by David Dean and published by Barefoot Books.
This gorgeously illustrated picture book takes kids on a detailed and fascinating journey, introducing readers to cultures from all over the world and celebrating people’s differences. For example, readers learn about how people live in houses, farmhouses and stilt homes in Mongolia, Scotland and Malaysia.
Readers learn about all the different forms families can take and are reassured that, no matter what the form, they’re all families.
The “Barefoot Book of Children” also gives readers a fascinating peek into the hobbies enjoyed by different cultures, among them writing (Angola), building dens (England), and caving (Saudia Arabia). The journey introduces us to how people play around the world. Reading this book, we learned about how kids in Afghanistan engage in kite fights, how children in Thailand teach each other Cat’s Cradle, and how skipping rope in Jamaica teaches kids cooperation, rhythm and singing, while ensuring they get some exercise.
And how do people take baths around the world? This is a topic we’d never thought about before–until reading this book! We learned that “While many of us bathe alone or with siblings at home, a trip to the hot springs in countries like Japan to bathe with others can be a sociable experience or even a tourist attraction.”
Throughout “The Barefoot Book of Children,” the authors and illustrator point out and embrace differences in cultures. For example, in discussing food, the authors write, “At a table, on a rug, with your fingers, with a piece of bread–there are lots of different ways to enjoy a meal. What tastes good to you might taste strange to someone else.”
Reading this book, we took an eye-opening journey around the world that spurred our interest in someday traveling to these countries to meet all these different kids and learn more about how they play, eat, dress and bathe!
The “Barefoot Book of Children” is unusual because of the way it teaches kids about other cultures. Census data shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, but only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content.
We were happy to take part in the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday; the MCBD Team is on a mission to change the fact that not enough books teach kids about diversity.
Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/17) is its fourth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness on the ongoing need to include kid’s books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.
Current Sponsors: MCBD 2017 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. Platinum Sponsors include Scholastic, Barefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. Roman, Audrey Press, Candlewick Press, Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTV, Capstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa, Author Gayle Swift, Wisdom Tales Press, Lee& Low Books, The Pack-n-Go Girls, Live Oak Media, Author Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books
Author Sponsor include: Karen Leggett Abouraya, Veronica Appleton, Susan Bernardo, Kathleen Burkinshaw, Maria Dismondy, D.G. Driver, Geoff Griffin, Savannah Hendricks, Stephen Hodges, Carmen Bernier-Grand,Vahid Imani, Gwen Jackson, Hena, Kahn, David Kelly, Mariana Llanos, Natasha Moulton-Levy, Teddy O’Malley, Stacy McAnulty, Cerece Murphy, Miranda Paul, Annette Pimentel, Greg Ransom, Sandra Richards, Elsa Takaoka, Graciela Tiscareño-Sato, Sarah Stevenson, Monica Mathis-Stowe SmartChoiceNation, Andrea Y. Wang.
Again, thanks to the MCBD team for including us in this important mission!