Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2020

Today I’m participating in an event that I haven’t participated in before.  This is not an interview, like I typically do, but a review of a book that was gifted to me to review for this event specifically.  If you were a fan of “Moana,” read on!

Screen Shot 2020-01-25 at 4.01.25 PMI’m excited to tell you about the picture book “Earthwaves” by East West Discovery Press.  It was written by Michael Smith (who seems to have done extensive research into the Pacific Islander heritage) and illustrated by Gayle Garner Roski (in watercolor).

Before I tell you about the book, I want to tell you why I was delighted to receive this particular book: I love Pacific Islander cultures!  I have taught kiddos from this region for years.  Yes!  There IS a very healthy and thriving Pacific Islander community in Alaska.  And lots of Alaskans travel to that region for vacation in winter as well.  There is definitely some healthy cultural exchange going on between us!

My first trip to Hawaii was when I graduated with my last batch of college degrees.  I went with my sister and her family and fell instantly in love with the islands.  Maybe because I love the ocean, or maybe because I grew up on an island in Alaska.  Whatever the case, there is something about those islands that sings to me.  My most recent trip there (though I doubt it will be my last) was on my honeymoon, where we got to explore an island together that neither one of us had ever been to (Kauai).  IMG_0766By that point, I was already very much in love with the Pacific Islander culture (not just the Hawaiian culture).

I guess this should come as no surprise, as I was the nerdy kid who also read “Kon-Tiki” from cover to cover in 7th grade.  Yet somehow, this love did surprise me.  And when I saw “Moana” (which hit SO many right notes with the heritage in that region), it again made my soul sing.  I think if I’m honest, I dreamed of wayfinding across the ocean every since I read “Kon-Tiki.”  Seeing the size of one of the outriggers that the early natives must’ve used at the Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu was mind blowing.  It’s SO much bigger than you think it might be!

IMG_7586So imagine my delight when I opened the mail and found “Earthwaves” which is all about the traditional navigation of the sea.  It is told from the point of view of Akela, a young Pacific Islander.  His grandfather is teaching him how to sail the ocean in traditional methods on his first canoe voyage.

It does get a tiny bit long-winded with the text at times, but that’s because the author is determined to be both accurate and honoring of the traditions of the Pacific Island seafarers.  This is a book that doesn’t want to let those traditions die, and it is recording the “how to” of wayfinding for posterity’s sake.  I can see myself reading this book in my classroom to the Pacific Islander students (along with my other picture books that I’ve picked up in Hawaii), albeit in small doses.

IMG_8562However, perhaps most fascinating to me with this book is that I learned something new.  I had not seen anything, previous to this book, about the stick charts that were used in navigation by traditional navigators.  These stick charts are made of fiber and shell of a Pandanus plant and showed the wave patterns around various islands.  I would LOVE to know how these were first created, or even how they’re read!  I know, that’s the nerdy side of me showing again, but that’s always been me.  I’m fascinated by history and other cultures.  That’s why I was so delighted to find out about Multicultural Children’s Book day in the first place.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2020 (1/31/20) is in its 7th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those book into the hands of young readers and educators.

Seven years in, MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves continues.

MCBD 2020  is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board

 Super Platinum

Make A Way Media/ Deirdre “DeeDee” Cummings,


Language Lizard, Pack-N-Go Girls,


Audrey Press, Lerner Publishing Group, KidLit TV, ABDO BOOKS : A Family of Educational Publishers, PragmaticMom & Sumo Jo, Candlewick Press,


Author Charlotte Riggle, Capstone Publishing, Guba Publishing, Melissa Munro Boyd & B is for Breathe,


Author Carole P. Roman, Snowflake Stories/Jill Barletti, Vivian Kirkfield & Making Their Voices Heard. Barnes Brothers Books,  TimTimTom, Wisdom Tales Press, Lee & Low Books,  Charlesbridge Publishing, Barefoot Books Talegari Tales

Author Sponsor Link Cloud

Jerry Craft, A.R. Bey and Adventures in Boogieland, Eugina Chu & Brandon goes to Beijing, Kenneth Braswell & Fathers Incorporated, Maritza M. Mejia & Luz del mes_Mejia, Kathleen Burkinshaw & The Last Cherry Blossom, SISSY GOES TINY by Rebecca Flansburg and B.A. Norrgard, Josh Funk and HOW TO CODE A ROLLERCOASTER, Maya/Neel Adventures with Culture GrooveLauren Ranalli, The Little Green Monster: Cancer Magic! By Dr. Sharon Chappell, Phe Lang and Me On The Page, Afsaneh Moradian and Jamie is Jamie, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, TUMBLE CREEK PRESS, Nancy Tupper Ling, Author Gwen Jackson, Angeliki Pedersen & The Secrets Hidden Beneath the Palm Tree, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 by Mia Wenjen, Susan Schaefer Bernardo & Illustrator Courtenay Fletcher (Founders of Inner Flower Child Books), Ann Morris & Do It Again!/¡Otra Vez!, Janet Balletta and Mermaids on a Mission to Save the Ocean, Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo & Bruna Bailando por el Mundo\ Dancing Around the World, Shoumi Sen & From The Toddler Diaries, Sarah Jamila Stevenson, Tonya Duncan and the Sophie Washington Book Series, Teresa Robeson  & The Queen of Physics, Nadishka Aloysius and Roo The Little Red TukTuk, Girlfriends Book Club Baltimore & Stories by the Girlfriends Book Club, Finding My Way Books, Diana Huang & Intrepids, Five Enchanted Mermaids, Elizabeth Godley and Ribbon’s Traveling Castle, Anna Olswanger and Greenhorn, Danielle Wallace & My Big Brother Troy, Jocelyn Francisco and Little Yellow Jeepney, Mariana Llanos & Kutu, the Tiny Inca Princess/La Ñusta Diminuta, Sara Arnold & The Big Buna Bash, Roddie Simmons & Race 2 Rio, DuEwa Frazier & Alice’s Musical Debut, Veronica Appleton & the Journey to Appleville book series  Green Kids Club, Inc.

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.

Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts

A Crafty Arab, Afsaneh Moradian, Agatha Rodi Books, All Done Monkey, Barefoot Mommy, Bethany Edward & Biracial Bookworms, Michelle Goetzl & Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms Share, Colours of Us, Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, Educators Spin on it, Shauna Hibbitts-creator of eNannylink, Growing Book by Book, Here Wee Read, Joel Leonidas & Descendant of Poseidon Reads {Philippines}, Imagination Soup, Kid World Citizen, Kristi’s Book Nook, The Logonauts, Mama Smiles, Miss Panda Chinese, Multicultural Kid Blogs, Serge Smagarinsky {Australia}, Shoumi Sen, Jennifer Brunk & Spanish Playground, Katie Meadows and Youth Lit Reviews

FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day

TWITTER PARTY! Register here!


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

One thought on “Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2020

  1. Thanks so much for sharing your review with Multicultural Children’s Book Day! #ReadYourWorld I love the insight from your personal connections through your students. What a great book to receive.

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