Sunday, January 21, 2018

2018 Multicultural Children's Book Day: Book Review

With retail copies of my third book, Lorena and the Magic Mocha Mirror drying and ready for pre-order and purchase, it's my pleasure to participate in the 2018 Multicultural Children's Book Day. My third time as a reviewer, I am again tasked with reading and sharing my thoughts about a new book. With so many new titles and entries to this initiative -- just over 500, I'm told -- I am thrilled. 

What's encouraging, is the breadth of new content available. But what's not such great news is the continued need for efforts to increase literacy levels among our nation's youngest readers. 

According to recent data from the Balitmore-based, Annie E. Casey Foundation, fourth graders' in the nation's ethnic minority demonstrate literacy levels that are still well below acceptable levels, and the US trails well behind other developed countries.  

For these reasons, I am excited to again do my part, participating in the fifth annual Multicultural Children's Books Day. I feel it is an important initiative. It is through a collective effort to develop engaging and relevant content and applied, rigorous translational reading research that turns data into policy and practice, that real change will be realized.    

“Sofia Martinez: Every Day Is Exciting”
By Jacqueline Jules, Illustrated by Kim Smith

Publisher: Capstone Imprint - Picture Window Books
ISBN: 978-1-5158-2343-8      Pages: 96         Published: 2018

Sofia Martinez is a spunky 7-year-old with big dreams, big adventures and a loving family that helps her make every day exciting in the new book written by Jacqueline Jules and illustrated by Kim Smith.
Through her family adventures, Sofia shows how adversity is simply an opportunity for learning – and fun! From a dilemma at her first quinceanera, to a seemingly incurable case of the hiccups, to a brief power outage at her family home, Sofia demonstrates creativity, moxie, with Latinx cultural flair.
Our young heroine learns to appreciate the uniqueness of her grape juice-stained white shoes when they become fashion standouts. Then, when she and her cousin get a seemingly incurable case of hiccups, Sofia doesn’t despair. Instead, they turn their “hics” into beats and dance their cares away! Finally, when the lights go out in a power outage, it is Sofia’s inspired orchestration to grab some glow sticks, craft a makeshift jack-o-lantern, and make music played on the family piano into a dance party that everyone in the household can enjoy!

The book is small in size (measuring a diminutive 5-by-7inches), but big on entertainment, punctuated by colorful cartoon images, which make it a real page-turner. Add the Spanish/English vocabulary and glossary and the result is a wonderful narrative with bilingual language and word acquisition attributes.
-- By Valerie Williams-Sanchez, MS, PMP

This review is part of Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/18) which is in its 5th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. The mission of MCCBD 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.  For full program details, including a full list of sponsors, visit #READYOURWORLD, or click the links above.

 P.O. Box 180, Palisades, NY 10964

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