Megumi’s First Trip to Kyoto {Multicultural Book Review}

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Disclaimer:

I have been given this book in exchange for a review. However, all opinions are honest and my own. 

Working with Multicultural Kid Blogs is great in many ways: not only I get to meet some wonderful bloggers from around the world and learn from them; but I also get to review some of the most interesting multicultural books.

Today I’d like to share with you a book we read with my children called Megumi’s First Trip to Kyoto by Alexandra Parsons (click the link for more information).

In the book a young girl, Megumi, goes on a trip with her grandfather. On the way she plays an imagination game with him, introducing numbers in Japanese to the reader.

The whole book is filled with  useful Japanese vocabulary which could be interesting to children learning about Japan, or preparing to take a trip there.

While counting and playing the imagination game, Megumi and her grandpa open the world of Japanese culture to the reader: its temples, its flag, its traditional scenery and nature.

It was fun trying to pronounce the words and then comparing our pronunciation to the one we found online – so different! But nevertheless, a lesson to learn, and my daughter, who speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, was quite interested in Japanese as well.

We really enjoyed reading this book. The illustrations seem simply but leave a deep impression on the reader.

In order to get a little big more familiar with Japan and Kyoto, we found them on the maps.

Then, we looked at some interesting facts, craft and ideas about, and related to Japan over at my fellow bloggers’ sites:

Japanese Sensory Garden from All Done Monkey

Japan Collection from Glittering Muffins

Books About Japan from Kid World Citizen

All About Life in Japan from Melibelle in Tokyo

We also made some fans from paper and decorated them.

And then, we made Japanese Udon to complete our evenings of taking a virtual tour to Japan with Megumi and her grandpa.

Have you ever been to Japan? Share with us your experience!

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About the author:

Alexandra Parsons is a Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund Scholar, and this book incorporates various aspects of the Japanese culture that she witnessed and participated in during her visit in 2005.  She is an English teacher and Learning Specialist at a private school and lives with her family and two dogs in Florida.

MCCBD Books Review: Lee & Low Books

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Miss T is a real book worm. At 7 her level of reading and comprehension is pretty high. So I always try to offer her some challenging books that would increase her general reading level as well as teach her some new and interesting things.

So, this year for Multicultural Book Day I have requested to be paired up with an author who has books for older kids. That’s how I was introduced to Lee & Low Books, Inc. who are incidentally has already been connected with Multicultural Kid Blogs Community that I belong to.

I was send 3 books for review and below are my honest opinions as a mother and a reader.

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Amazing Places   by Lee Bennett Hopkins.

This was my most favorite book as it is a collection of beautiful illustrations and poems that represent some of the greatest places and items of American heritage. Traveling through Chinatown in one moment and crossing over the Grand Canyon in another; learning about Liberty Bell on one page and jumping into the Niagara Falls on another.

The selection of poems is so in tune with every place illustrated in the book that for a child’s imagination it is as if you were there visiting.

I would recommend this book for children from 7 years up with more advanced reading skills. However, I am sure a younger child, say, 5-6 years old, would also enjoy looking at the pictures and listening to the poems.

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The Monster in the Mudball   by S. P. Gates.

This is a fantasy/mystery about a boy Jin who accidentally releases a monster his neighbour was keeping for many years away from the world. It is not a very heavy reading, however I was hesitant to give it to my 7 year old to read as there are some scary moments.

And even the concept that the monster likes to eat babies would alone be a cause for some unpleasant dreams. But when she is older, she will definitely enjoy this story as it is filled with some riddles and exciting moments of anticipation.

I would recommend this book for children over 12 years old.

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Drift   by M. K. Hutchins.

Now, this is a book I enjoyed reading myself. It is based on lots of Native American, Mayan per se, traditions and tells a story of Tenjat and his sister Eflet who live on a Turtle island and fight for survival every day, going through daolut struggles facing bullies, and discovering a secret about their own heritage amazing and dangerous enough to destroy their lives and everyone’s on their island.

This is a very interesting fantasy book. It brings about the culture that has been almost forgotten, reviving certain concepts and ideas, and giving us a glimpse what live might have looked like during Mayan period.

I would recommend this book children over 15 years old.

I am grateful to Lee & Low for letting me get familiar with some of the books they have published. I hope in the future we get to read more books from them.

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Pleas join us today in celebrating Multiculturalism through books by visiting our main page and linking your favorite multicultural books reviews!

Join the Twitter Party Today 9-10pm EST – lots of books to be given away!

Book Review: Enough of Frankie Already! {Multicultural Children’s Book Day}

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Up until 1 year ago I had no idea there is a Multicultural Children’s Book Day! I am very happy to take part in it this year.

Children’s reading and play advocates Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book and Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom teamed up in late 2013 to create an ambitious (and much needed) international event. On January 27th, 2015 this dynamic duo is hosting yet another Multicultural Children’s Book Day as a way of celebrating diversity in children’s books.

I was given an opportunity to participate by reviewing a book by the author Felicia Capers called Enough of Frankie Already! The book is directed at the issue of bullying and offers as many examples of bullying as some of the solutions of how to advocate against bullying.

{Disclaimer}: I received a copy of ebook from the author in exchange for this review. However, all the opinions are strictly my own.

I liked the style of writing and vivid illustrations. The book is written in an easy comprehensive way and targets students from grade 1 up. The story is narrated by a character of the book – Amir – who, among other students in his school, is being bullied by a boy called Frankie.

It is quite obvious from the book, just as it is in reality, that often teachers don’t notice that bullying takes place. Simple things like pulling someone or taking away the ball seem as innocent quarrels between children, however, the reality could be much more harsh as many children in schools suffer from being bullied by their peers or children from older grades.

The solution in the end of the book is simple – children initiate an anti-bullying campaign, and even Frankie the bully gets involved.

There is also a list of questions to discuss with the students and with own children at home after reading the book. I think it is especially thoughtful since sometimes it is hard even for adults to formulate such questions.

I think we are quite lucky here in China as bullying is still not a huge problem here in regular schools – the intense system of studying and long hours at school don’t really leave children with much opportunities to neither play nor bully others. Though, I did hear about some incidents as unfortunately there is always a child or a few who take “pride” in trying to dominate others.

Multicultural Book Day

The Multicultural Children’s Book Day team hopes to spread the word and raise awareness about the importance of diversity in children’s literature. Our young readers need to see themselves within the pages of a book and experience other cultures, languages, traditions and religions within the pages of a book. We encourage readers, parents, teachers, caregivers and librarians to follow along via book reviews, author visits, multicultural booklists and visit the huge multicultural book review link-up that will occur on the MCCBD website 1/27/15.

Here are some ways you can help us celebrate Multicultural Children’s Book Day

  • Visit The Multicultural Children’s Book Day website and view our booklists, reading resources and other useful multicultural information.
  • Visit our Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board for more reading ideas.
  • Have children bring in their favorite multicultural book to school on this day and share it with the class.
  • Watch for the #ReadYourWorld hashtag on social media and share.
  • Visit our Diversity Book Lists and Resources for Educators and Parents on our website.
  • Visit MCCBDsponsors (you can find them HERE)
  • Create a Multicultural Children’s Book Day display around the classroom or library.
  • Visit The Multicultural Children’s Book Day website on January 27thto view and participate in our huge blogger link-up, multicultural book reviews, giveaways and more!

Other Fun Details:

Our Sponsor Line-up Platinum Sponsors:Wisdom Tales Press,Daybreak Press Global Bookshop, Gold SponsorsSatya House,  MulticulturalKids.com,   Author Stephen Hodges and the Magic Poof, Silver Sponsors: Junior Library GuildCapstone Publishing, Lee and Low Books,  The Omnibus Publishing. Bronze Sponsors:Double Dutch Dolls, Bliss Group Books, Snuggle with Picture Books Publishing,  Rainbow Books,   Author FeliciaCapers,   Chronicle Books   Muslim Writers Publishing,East West Discovery Press.

Our CoHosts: We have NINE amazing Co-Host. You can view them here.

-MCCBD now has its own Paper.li! A Paper.li is a free online newspaper that aggregates information on the topic of multicultural books for kids from all over the Internet. Please feel free subscribe and stay up-to-date with this topic.

-Connect with us on our new Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/MulticulturalChildrensBookDay

-Connect with us on our new Twitter https://twitter.com/MCChildsBookDay

If you would like more information, or have questions regarding Multicultural Children’s Book Day, please contact Valarie Budayr at Valarie@AudreyPress.com or Mia Wenjen at pragmaticmomblog@gmail.com

Thank you so much for your support!

Dances of India: Book Tour {Book Review}

Today I am sharing with you a review of the book called Dances of India!

  Maya and Leela book cover

Disclosure: I was given a free copy of the book by the author in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own. Logos and book pages are shared with the permission of the author and are not to be used for commercial purpose without the author’s permission.

Since I was a little girl I was taken by the beauty of India’s dance art. I dreamed all my life that I could study one dance style professionally but it wasn’t meant to be and I taught myself some elements of traditional dance styles and used to perform what is called Contemporary Indian dance for a while. My heart still skips a beat when I hear beautiful Indian music and listen to Indian songs.
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Hence, when the opportunity came up to review Dances of India, I was really excited: I had a chance to introduce this bit of my world to my children!
Dances of India is the first of the books in the Little Loka Series (™). Two elephant sisters Maya and Leela give children a multicultural experience by traveling around the world and introducing cultural elements of the countries they visit.little-lokas-logo_400px-small_web
The book is designed for younger children from birth to 4 but my 6 year old enjoyed it as much!
We loved how colorful the book is – the illustrations are very beautiful and attractive. And the words and descriptions are fairly simple and pass on the joy and excitement to the reader.
The book introduces the elements and the spirit of Indian dances and I honestly felt like getting up, turning on the music and dancing – that much joy there is in the book itself!
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You can purchase this book directly from the website’s store or over at Amazon! This would be a great multicultural gift to the global citizen you are bringing up in your home!

A Month of Book Reviews: Meera Sriram’s Books

Being a part of KBN and MKB, I’ve had the honour and the pleasure of meeting virtually some great authors who write about nature, craft, yoga, children’s activities and more. Last year we received books from 2 authors for review and earlier I was given an opportunity to be one of the first ones to read and help edit/review some ebooks from other authors. All in all, I am happy to dedicate the month of March to Book Reviews – something I’ve never done before on my blog. I hope you get inspired and interested in these books as well and support the authors by purchasing their books which can become great resources and interesting reads in your own families.
(This post contains some affiliate links. All opinions are my own and are written based on my personal impressions and experiences. All pictures are used with special permission of Meera Sriram – the author – and are watermarked for the protection of the copyright).
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Today I would like to introduce to you 2 books by Meera Sriram and Praba Ram: Bijoy and The Big River and Dinaben and the Lions Gir.
Meera Sriram is a fellow Multicultural Kid Blogger and she writes children’s books mostly about Nature, the animal world and traditions of India. Having a special connection with India myself I was very happy to receive Meera’s books for review. It is also a great chance to introduce the country I hold so dear to my own children.

Dinaben and the Lions of Gir:

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At the beginning of the book and at the end there is a call to protect the forests and the lions who are a part of mother Nature and need to be taken care of. There are also common facts about lions which is a great educational material for children and adults both.
Gir is a forest in Gujarat. The book which is filled with wonderful photographs, introduces daily life of Dinaben – a Madhari woman whose village is a part of the Gir forest. It tells how what Dinaben does every day – her beautiful craft and how she makes ghee and curd from milk.
At the same time it tells us about endangered animals that lives in that forest –  Asiatic lions. Their natural habitat is in the forests of India and they can’t be found in the wild anywhere else in the world.
In simple words the authors describe simple life of the villagers that live near by the forest and the harmony between the animals and the villagers. As hard as it is to pass the true spirit of their “union”, it is  truly felt in the book.
Looking at the images and being able to read Hindi (which I can only read now!) brought back so many warm memories of India and I wished like going back and spending more time among the amazing people of this country.
We thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and looking at real pictures of real animals and people.
I would recommend this book for younger children as well as older children as it is both interesting and educational for various age groups. I also enjoyed the fact that the book is written in 2 languages: English and Hindi. And if you follow the links for purchasing the books, you will see that it has been published in more languages.
You can purchase this book through Tulika Books or through Amazon: Dinaben and the Lions of Gir

Bijoy and the Big River:

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The book takes place in a state of India called Assam. I was actually very happy to read more about this state as I have some friends who are originally from there and taking a peek at the life of the Assamis was very interesting!
Bijoy is a boy who lives near Brahmaputra – the Grand Old River, one of the biggest rivers in India. He lives in the village of fishermen and he enjoys swimming and watching fishermen work.
Once again, the book is filled with real-life photographs and describes the life of the villagers in Bijoy’s village. It introduces some of the wild life and endangered animals in this area (for example, one-horned rhino).
For my children the highlight of the book was reading about eri silkworms: what they eat, their life cycle and how the silk is made into beautiful material. At some point my 5 year old asked me if this is where the Sleeping Beauty lived (when she saw the weaver!)
Besides the general story already filled with facts about the villagers life, there are small notes on each page that give more insights into words and terms. Every sentence is written in simple words and if some words are harder to understand – there is a little note to help explain what most of those words mean.
Since the book is meant to pass on a child’s vision of the life around him, it is quite appealing to children as well as they get to see the life in his village through his eyes.
While this book may not be very suitable for children under 3 years old, my toddler still enjoyed looking at numerous pictures in it and she could sit through most of the reading. My 5 year old enjoyed reading it together with me!
You can purchase these books through Tulika Books
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I would like to thank Meera for giving us the opportunity to read and review her books. Please follow the links under each review if you wish to purchase these books!
Learn more about Meera and her books:
Meera’s Biography
Meera’s Books
Meera’s Books Blog