The significance of Multicultural Children’s Book Day and the Children’s Book Academy Diversity Scholarships
by Koloud 'Kay' Tarapolsi
This past Friday was Multicultural Children’s Book Day, an annual event held the last Friday in January. This was the 9th annual, and it is growing each year as word spreads. I have been honored to be a co-Host for this wonderful initiative for six years.
The mission of MCBD is, “to raise awareness for children’s books that celebrate diversity by getting more of these books into classrooms and libraries. This nonprofit also strives to shine the spotlight on the diverse books and authors that often get overlooked by mainstream publishing and media.”
The nonprofit was started by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen, two diverse moms who had a desire to highlight wonderful multicultural authors and their books that they used in their own homes. For the past 9 years, they have managed to deliver over 10,000 diverse books into the hands of readers and their educators.
The MCBD website is full of free resources, teaching tools, classroom kits, booklists, and downloads. More resources can be found on social media by following #ReadYourWorld. In 2017, 3.6 BILLION social media share impressions were logged on one day using that hashtag. I even wrote a blog post on how to get MCBD into school libraries.
While MCBD is a wonderful initiative to get diverse books into the hands of children, scholarships like those at the Children’s Book Academy help get diverse and low-income authors to write the stories.
At this point, the CBA offers full and half scholarships to underrepresented and low-income writers and illustrators in the children's publishing industry as well as children's librarians who might not be able to take the courses otherwise.
Programs like MCBD and the CBA scholarships are important opportunities to assist unrepresented authors in a disproportionately white middle-class publishing industry that has not caught up to the diversity of its readers. They not only help diverse writers learn the craft, but also navigate the publishing industry and then physically deliver their diverse children’s books into the hands of young readers.
Seeing themselves reflected in the books, diverse readers develop a sense of pride about themselves and their history. Reading books with diverse protagonist, all children begin to understand the impact immigrants, minorities, and others have contributed to society.
I am a beneficiary of a CBA Yuyi Morales Scholarship, which helped hone my writing craft. Through my second CBA course, I received five Golden Ticket opportunities with agents and editors, which led to a book contract, a second book at auction and an agent. In the near future, inshaAllah, I hope to have my published diverse book ready to give away for free on MCBD and the Picture Book Palooza, which is CBA's magical fundraising event to help support more scholarships, one day.
It is my dream that by writing about these opportunities, an inspiriting author reading this blog post will be encouraged to apply for a Children’s Book Academy scholarship. Then their story will also be shared on Multicultural Children’s Book Day or the Picture Book Palooza.
We are so excited to be mixing things up at CBA, beginning with some delicious additions to the Blogfish. Meet our awesome new bloggers!!
Here's our lineup:
1st Mondays begin with editor/art director, & CBA Director Mira Reisberg PhD who is handing her Mondays over to awesome former now tradtionally pubbed students to widen their audience.
2nd Mondays will feature super smart Melissa Stoller whose career is taking off with several new books.
3rd Mondays will feature Bryan Patrick Avery, published writer, man of mystery, and professional magician among other things.
4th Mondays feature funny Aussie author Sharon Giltrow sharing awesome Aussie books.
And 5th Mondays will feature Libyan American author Koloud Tarapolsi sharing wonderful diverse books.