Why We Still Need More Diverse Children’s Books

Celebrate Multicultural Children’s Book Day on January 31, 2020, and raise awareness of the need for more multicultural and diverse children’s books in our schools and libraries.

diverse children's books

At Language Lizard, we are big fans of multicultural games, crafts, and activities. And let’s not forget the magic of a great children’s book featuring characters as diverse as the world we live in. The right book can be an uplifting experience for students of all ethnicities and backgrounds, because, as we’ve said before, books can be mirrors into one’s own life, or windows into the lives of others

Language Lizard is a Platinum Sponsor of Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCBD) because we are big supporters of their mission to raise awareness about the need for more children’s books that celebrate diversity.

Some Progress, But Still a Long Way to Go

diverse children's books

According to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, there has been a substantial increase in the number of children’s books that feature non-white main characters. While in 2013 that number was just 10%, it went up to 31% in 2017. The publishing world is hearing the call for more multicultural children’s books. 

However, this rising number masks the fact that in 2017, only 7% of children’s books in the US were written by people of color, an issue known as the “publishing diversity gap.” 

The fact that relatively few multicultural children’s books are being published each year is even more pronounced when you consider that more than half of students in the US identify as a race other than white. There is an urgent need to better support students of color. We can do this by ensuring they have access to a wealth of books that feature characters and stories that explore and celebrate their identities.

“There’s a magical connection that happens when we see ourselves reflected in the pages of a book,” says Anneke Forzani, President and Founder of Language Lizard, because children get a boost in self-esteem when they read books that represent their cultures and identities. Multicultural books open the eyes of all students to the beautiful diversity in our world. “Books are a great way to understand another person’s experience, to understand their point of view, in an authentic way,” she adds.

Related Posts

Findings Your Story in Diverse Books

Donate Books to Encourage Diverse Selections

Windows & Mirrors: Choosing Multicultural Children’s Books

How You Can Support Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2020

To date, MCBD has donated over 7,000 diverse children’s books to schools, libraries, and families.

There are many ways you can show your support of MCBD. Use #ReadYourWorld on social media, and tell us why multicultural children’s books are important to you. Encourage others to spread the word. You can also participate in today’s Twitter party (see below) and take advantage of the linky party and free resources listed at the end of the post!

Multicultural Children's Book Day 2020 poster

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 BooksTimTimTom, 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 Edwards & 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

Multicultural Children's Book Day 2020 Twitter Party

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.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

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Anneke Forzani founded Language Lizard (www.LanguageLizard.com) to provide educators, librarians, and parents with resources that develop literacy skills among English Language Learners, build inclusive classrooms, and celebrate cultural diversity. Language Lizard offers bilingual books in over 50 languages, multilingual audio resources, multicultural posters, and free lesson plans to support multicultural classrooms. The company also runs a blog (blog.languagelizard.com) for parents and teachers working with language learners and culturally diverse students. Anneke is the author of Building Bridges with Bilingual Books and Multicultural Resources (a manual to support culturally responsive teaching) and With Flying Colors: Color Idioms (a multicultural idiom book).
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