Since being published in 2016, the book Tiny Stitches: The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas, by Gwendolyn Hooks, has garnered a lot of praise. This book is special because it tells the important story of Vivien Thomas – both his amazing contribution to the medical world and the struggles that he had to face in being a black man who wanted to study medicine.
Vivien Thomas grew up in Nashville in a time where African-Americans and whites were highly segregated. Thomas dreamed of being a doctor from a young age, but couldn’t afford medical school, especially after the stock market crash of 1929. Fortunately, he was able to get a job with Dr. Alfred Blalock at Vanderbilt University. The all white school would never have admitted him as a student, but he did manage to get the job. There was kickback because he was black, and he would later discover that his official job title and pay were as a janitor rather than a medical research technician, but he also found kind mentors along the way who saw his amazing potential. Continue reading →
Today is the Nonfiction Picture Book linkup hosted by KidLitFrenzy. It is also a week of celebrating Multicultural Children’s Book Day. So I wanted to put together a list of some of my favorite nonfiction picture books that touch on multicultural topics. Be sure to check back on Saturday, January 27th when the link-up for all of the reviews for MCBD goes live on this site as well as all of the co-hosts.
You should also be sure to check out Alyson’s post this week on KidLitFrenzy as she has written about a bunch of brand new nonfiction titles that I haven’t manage to see yet which, many that happen to also be multicultural.
I started blogging as part of Multicultural Children’s Book Day when it started 5 years ago. For the purpose of MCBD, a multicultural book is:
- Books that contain characters of color, as well as characters that represent a minority point of view.
- Books that share ideas, stories, and information about cultures, race, religion, language, and traditions.
- Books that embrace our world, and offer children new ways to connect to a diverse and richer world.
These books are vitally important to everyone so that we can see ourselves represented and so that we can gain empathy about what others might be experiencing. It is rather hard to walk in someone else’s shoes, but reading stories that touch on experiences outside of our own helps us grow. Now more than ever, we need to understand the people around us and love people for the things that we have in common as well as what makes us all special and unique.
Every year children learn about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and all of the work that people did to end segregation. Many picture books explain the history beautifully. But in The Youngest Marcher, by Cynthia Levinson, those issues are seen from the eyes of a child. This is the true story of Audrey Faye Hendricks who knew first hand that certain things “were for white folks,” but she also knew that she “intended to go places and do things like anybody else.” She even went to jail as a child for participating in a Children’s March for rights in 1963. This is a great book that shows that children have lots of power to make a difference in this world. Continue reading →
There have been many books written about Malala Yousafzai, and rightfully so. One of the newer books is Malala: Activist for Girls’ Education, by Raphaële Frier. This book was originally published in France in 2015, but was translated to English and published in the US this year.
Malala: Activist for Girls’ Education takes a different approach in telling her story, focusing a great deal on her formative years. With wonderful illustrations by Aurelia Fronty, the reader sees the happy and loving home Malala was born into. While many families in Pakistan might have been dismayed at the birth of a daughter, Ziauddin Yousafzai and Tor Pekai were thrilled. Ziauddin ran a school for girls and asked his friends to shower his daughter with the same attention that they would a boy. Continue reading →