Multicultural Children’s Book Day – 5 Ways to Celebrate

Language Lizard is a Platinum Sponsor of Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCBD) on January 29, 2021. We support their mission to raise awareness about the need for more children’s books that celebrate diversity. To date, MCBD has donated over 8,000 diverse children’s books to schools, libraries, and families. Here are 5 ways you can celebrate MCBD with your students and family.

Why Do Multicultural Children’s Books Matter?

Image from “With Flying Colors – Color Idioms” by Anneke Forzani

We’ve written before about the magic of a great children’s book featuring characters as diverse as the world we live in. Reading books with main characters that accurately reflect the diversity that exists in the real world has countless benefits for all children, not just children of color: increased empathy, self-esteem, and intercultural competence, just to name a few.

We’ve also looked at why there’s still a need to advocate for more multicultural children’s books. The most recent report from the Cooperative Children’s Book Center finds that slow progress is being made in diversity in children’s and young adult literature. The percentage of books published in 2019 featuring non-white protagonists (29%) still lags far behind those featuring main characters who are white or even non-human (animals, vehicles, talking foods, etc.).

This disparity is known as the “publishing diversity gap.” We can work to close this gap by asking publishers to publish more diverse children’s literature, by spreading awareness through social media, and by helping local schools and libraries stock their shelves with more multicultural books.

1. Stock Your Shelves with Multicultural Books

Image from “Food, Food, Fabulous Food” by Kate Clynes

The mission of MCBD is to raise awareness about diverse children’s books and get more of these books into classrooms and libraries. When you’re selecting your next set of books, seek out ones that challenge stereotypes by featuring positive and realistic multicultural characters who empower role models to young readers. Look for books with storylines that have universal appeal, so every child will be enthusiastic about reading.

Want to get free diverse children’s books for your classroom or library? MCBD wants to help build libraries with diverse, inclusive, and multicultural books. Sign up on their Diverse Books for Classrooms Program page.

MCBD also offers free diverse kidlit booklists and activity kits. And don’t forget to check out their collection of free reading resources for teachers and parents.

2. Share Books Featuring Multicultural Characters

Image from “Yeh-Hsien: A Chinese Cinderella” by Dawn Casey

Take that growing collection of multicultural children’s books, and get them out into the world!

Parents can start a book-sharing group and pass on their favorite multicultural children’s books, so more families are able to benefit from them.

Teachers choose diverse books to read aloud to students. If they are learning virtually this year due to COVID-19, include diverse books in take-home packets.

3. Play a Game Using Diverse Books

sock puppets

There are many fun activities and games that can be played with multicultural children’s books.

Select characters from a diverse storybook and play a guessing game based on them. Students can act the characters out in charades or play a game of Who Am I? using sticky notes.

Or, take your favorite scenes from the story, and have kids act them out. They can dress up using homemade costumes or make sock puppets to perform a puppet show.

4. Make a Connection Between Multicultural Children’s Books and the Real World

Multicultural Children's Book Day book image
Image from “The Swirling Hijaab” by Na’ima bint Robert

Take the characters and stories from diverse books, and make a real-world connection with your students.

Create an open and welcoming environment for students of diverse backgrounds to share their personal experiences if they wish. Invite family and community members to share their stories, and have students prepare thoughtful and culturally sensitive questions in advance.

If your school has the resources available, create a global connection by reaching out to teachers from other parts of the world. Contact schools in other countries to see what kinds of exchanges are possible. Some might be able to connect with your class through videoconferencing, while others might prefer exchanging hand-made cards or postcards.

If the stories they’re reading motivate your students to get involved in activism, MCBD has a Teacher Activism Kit entitled “We Can All Be Champions of Change” that is full of resources and activities.

5. Show Your Support and Spread the Word

Multicultural Children's Book Day Logo

Spread the world about MCBD and its mission by posting on social media. Use #ReadYourWorld and tell everyone why multicultural children’s books are important to you.

Join the MCBD Twitter party on January 29, 2021, 9-10pm EST, to discuss issues surrounding multicultural books and diversity in publishing with educators, authors, and parents.

You can also participate in MCBD’s eBook fundraiser, where 100% of the proceeds are used for gifting multicultural books to classroom libraries.

In addition, MCBD offers a gallery of free posters to print and display in your classroom or home.

Comment below and tell us about your favorite multicultural children’s books and how you’re celebrating Multicultural Children’s Book Day this year. Or, post on social media using #ReadYourWorld to spread the word!

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Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2021 (1/29/21) is in its 8th 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.

Eight 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. Read about our Mission & History HERE.

MCBD 2021 is honored to be Supported by these Medallion Sponsors!

FOUNDER’S CIRCLE: Mia Wenjen (Prgamaticmom) and Valarie Budayr’s (

Platinum Sponsors: Language Lizard Bilingual Books in 50+ Languages, Author Deedee Cummings and Make A Way Media

Gold Sponsors: Barefoot Books, Candlewick Press, Capstone, Hoopoe Books, KidLitTV, Peachtree Publishing Company Inc.

Silver Sponsors: Charlotte Riggle, Connecticut Association of School Librarians, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Pack-N-Go Girls

Bronze Sponsors: Agatha Rodi and AMELIE is IMPRESSED!, Barnes Brothers Books, Create and Educate Solutions, LLC, Dreambuilt Books, Dyesha and Triesha McCants/McCants Squared, Redfin Real Estate, Snowflake Stories, Star Bright Books, TimTimTom Bilingual Personalized Books, Author Vivian Kirkfield, Wisdom Tales Press,

MCBD 2021 is honored to be Supported by these Author Sponsors!

Poster Artist: Nat Iwata

Authors: Author Afsaneh Moradian, Author Alva Sachs & Three Wishes Publishing Company, Author Angeliki Stamatopoulou-Pedersen, Author Anna Olswanger, Author Casey Bell , Author Claudine Norden, Author Debbie Dadey, Author Diana Huang & Intrepids, Author Eugenia Chu & Brandon goes to Beijing, Green Kids Club, Author Gwen Jackson, Author Janet Balletta, Author Josh Funk, Author Julia Inserro, Karter Johnson & Popcorn and Books, Author Kathleen Burkinshaw & The Last Cherry Blossom, Author Keila Dawson, Maya/Neel Adventures with Culture Groove, Author Mia Wenjen, Michael Genhart, Nancy Tupper Ling, Author Natalie Murray, Natalie McDonald-Perkins, Author Natasha Yim, Author Phe Lang and Me On The Page Publishing, Sandra Elaine Scott, Author Shoumi Sen & From The Toddler Diaries, SISSY GOES TINY by Rebecca Flansburg and B.A. Norrgard, Susan Schaefer Bernardo & Illustrator Courtenay Fletcher, Tales of the Five Enchanted Mermaids, Author Theresa Mackiewicz, Tonya Duncan and the Sophie Washington Book Series, Author Toshia Stelivan, Valerie Williams-Sanchez & The Cocoa Kids Collection Books©, Author Vanessa Womack, MBA, Author Veronica Appleton & the Journey to Appleville book series

MCBD 2021 is Honored to be Supported by our CoHosts and Global CoHosts!

MCBD 2021 is Honored to be Supported by these Media Partners!

Check out MCBD’s Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board!

FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Diversity Book Lists & Activities for Teachers and Parents

Homeschool Diverse Kidlit Booklist & Activity Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Activism and Activists Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Empathy Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Kindness Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Physical and Developmental Challenges Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Poverty Kit

Gallery of Our Free Posters

FREE Diversity Book for Classrooms Program

TWITTER PARTY! Register here!

Join us on Friday, Jan 29, 2021, at 9 pm EST for the 8th annual Multicultural Children’s Book Day Twitter Party! This epically fun and fast-paced hour includes multicultural book discussions, addressing timely issues, diverse book recommendations, & reading ideas.

We will be giving away an 8-Book Bundle every 5 minutes plus Bonus Prizes as well! *** US and Global participants welcome. ** Follow the hashtag #ReadYourWorld to join the conversation, connect with like-minded parts, authors, publishers, educators, organizations, and librarians. See you all very soon on Twitter!

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 ( 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 ( 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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