Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2018: Underground Railroad

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2018 (1/27/18) is in its 5th 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 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. Multicultural Children's Book Day 2018

Please join me in celebrating Multicultural Children’s Book Day!  Visit the main site, hop around the linky, and read some multicultural children’s books!  Thanks also to author sponsor Judy Dodge Cummings for sending me this book for review. 

Underground Railroad: Navigate the Journey from Slavery to FreedomUnderground Railroad: Navigate the Journey from Slavery to Freedom by Judy Dodge Cumming. Nomad Press, 2017.

Here is a book designed to introduce kids to the history of slavery and its end in America through the lens of the Underground Railroad.  Each of the eight chapters starts with part of the story of Josiah Henson, a real enslaved person, from his father being maimed and sold away when Josiah was three to his family’s ultimate difficult escape from slavery as an adult with children of his own.  In between, we follow the development of slavery as an institution in the U.S. and the resistance as it built slowly from trying to work within the law to more open resistance and working against and around laws built to protect the interests of slave holders.  I appreciated that the book explains the newer use of the word “enslaved” vs. “slave”, and that it goes into how non-slave-holding Northern businesses were still complicit in the slave use in Southern states.  Other personal stories are included, from both enslaved people and those who joined the fight against it, both black and white.

This is an educational resource, with lots of additions to draw kids into the experience.  Each chapter includes a key question for students to think about as they read, and they’re reminded to discuss the answers they’ve come up with at the end, a solid technique for building long-term memory.  Some primary source photographs and documents are included and labeled as such, with QR codes and search terms to look up more related primary sources.  There are vocabulary lists, call-out boxes, and projects that touch on a variety of related subjects.  These included a recipe for hoe cake, making a model of a swamp such as escaping enslaved persons hid in, and making an ID tag, thinking about the difference between how students would define themselves and how slave owners defined their “property.”

I had just a few quibbles.  Most minor, sometimes sentences were presented as headings when they were simple continuations of text from before and after.  I wouldn’t even mention it if it weren’t disorienting, making me go back and re-read to figure out what was going on. More important is the question of audience.  The book says it’s written for 9-12 year olds.  The content seems to me to be geared more towards the upper end of that – I had conversations with teachers and other librarians about whether or not they would actually give a book that starts with a child watching his father have his ear cut off to varying results.  Some said it was too much for a third grader and they’d wait a couple of years; some said we will only perpetuate prejudice by trying to protect children from the harsh stories from history.  My own feeling is that the content is most suited towards middle school or possibly 4/5, but that the cartoony interior illustrations, which show both the described historical events and modern students studying them, would turn off that audience. These two issues aside, this is a solid effort that seems geared towards memorable and interactive learning.

Current Sponsors:  MCBD 2018 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board.

2018 MCBD Medallion Sponsors

HONORARY: Children’s Book Council, Junior Library Guild

PLATINUM:Scholastic Book Clubs

GOLD:Audrey Press, Candlewick Press, Loving Lion Books, Second Story Press, Star Bright Books, Worldwide Buddies

SILVER:Capstone Publishing, Author Charlotte Riggle, Child’s Play USA, KidLit TV, Pack-n-Go Girls, Plum Street Press

BRONZE: Barefoot Books, Carole P. Roman, Charlesbridge Publishing, Dr. Crystal BoweGokul! World, Green Kids Club, Gwen Jackson, Jacqueline Woodson, Juan J. Guerra, Language Lizard, Lee & Low Books, RhymeTime Storybooks, Sanya Whittaker Gragg, TimTimTom Books, WaterBrook & Multnomah, Wisdom Tales Press

2018 Author Sponsors

Honorary Author Sponsors: Author/Illustrator Aram Kim and Author/Illustrator Juana Medina

Author Janet Balletta, Author Susan BernardoAuthor Carmen Bernier-Grand, Author Tasheba Berry-McLaren and Space2Launch, Bollywood Groove Books, Author Anne BroylesAuthor Kathleen Burkinshaw, Author Eugenia Chu, Author Lesa Cline-Ransome, Author Medeia Cohan and Shade 7 Publishing, Desi Babies, Author Dani Dixon and Tumble Creek Press, Author Judy Dodge Cummings, Author D.G. Driver, Author Nicole Fenner and Sister Girl Publishing, Debbi Michiko Florence, Author Josh Funk, Author Maria Gianferrari, Author Daphnie Glenn, Globe Smart Kids, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Author Quentin Holmes, Author Esther Iverem, Jennifer Joseph: Alphabet Oddities, Author Kizzie Jones, Author Faith L Justice , Author P.J. LaRue and, Author Karen Leggett Abouraya, Author Sylvia Liu, Author Sherri Maret, Author Melissa Martin Ph.D., Author Lesli Mitchell, Pinky Mukhi and We Are One, Author Miranda Paul, Author Carlotta Penn, Real Dads Read, Greg Ransom, Author Sandra L. Richards, RealMVPKids Author Andrea Scott, Alva Sachs and Three Wishes Publishing, Shelly Bean the Sports QueenAuthor Sarah Stevenson, Author Gayle H. Swift Author Elsa Takaoka, Author Christine Taylor-Butler, Nicholette Thomas and  MFL Publishing  Author Andrea Y. Wang, Author Jane Whittingham  Author Natasha Yim

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.

TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Scholastic Book Clubs: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/27/18 at 9:00pm.

Join the conversation and win one of 12-5 book bundles and one Grand Prize Book Bundle (12 books) that will be given away at the party!

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers:

Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators:

Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.


About Katy K.

I'm a librarian and book worm who believes that children and adults deserve great books to read.
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3 Responses to Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2018: Underground Railroad

  1. I am glad that you pointed out the nomenclature of “enslaved” versus “slave”. That’s an important detail about viewing our history.

    Thanks so much for sharing via the Multicultural Children’s Book Day linky and for being a reviewer!

    I hope you can join us tonight at our Twitter Party from 9-10pm EST. We will be giving away hundreds of diverse children’s books in the form of 13 book bundles.

    One will be given away every six minutes. The questions with the book prizes are posted here:

    • Katy K. says:

      Thanks, Mia! I was made aware of that important difference in naming through the Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast, and was glad to see it explained here for kids, too.

  2. Pingback: Sadiq series by Siman Nuurali for Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2020 | alibrarymama

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