multicultural children’s book day…honey bunnies and Pascha eggs!

This year I am pleased to be a part of a blogging community celebrating multicultural children’s literature.


January 27th is the third annual Multicultural Children’s Book Day, an event created by two women with a passion for diversity within children’s literature, Mia Wenjen and Valarie Budayr. They are committed to helping young readers “see themselves within the pages of a book and experience other cultures, languages, traditions and religions within the pages of a book.”

You can read more about the event, its mission, sponsors, cohosts, and a great classroom reading challenge opportunity at the end of my post.

So — I volunteered to be sent a book of their choosing, and to review it on Orange Marmalade. On the 26th of January, I’ll post a link so you can access the many other reviews of the other diverse selections. I am eager to read them! (Jan. 26 update: The link is here.)

catherine's pascha cover image

Catherine’s Pascha: A Celebration of Easter in the Orthodox Church, written by Charlotte Riggle, illustrated by R.J. Hughes
published in 2015 by Phoenix Flair Press

I’m very happy to tell you about this book, which qualifies in every way for the goals of this event. There are a diversity of cultures, languages, and traditions included in the account, and it covers a subject that is quite under-represented in children’s literature — the practices of various faiths. Certainly religion and faith hold a central place in the vast majority of households around the world, perhaps especially in non-Western households, and we all could do a better job of understanding and respecting one another’s beliefs, values, and practices in this area.

catherine's pascha illustration R.J.HughesCatherine’s Pascha walks us through the age-old Easter traditions within the Orthodox Church. It’s narrated by Catherine, a young girl who is determined to stay awake this year, for the first time, during this all-night-long celebration. Truly, staying up until midnight on New Year’s Eve is child’s play compared to participating in this extraordinary service.

Orthodox’s ancient traditions encompass traditional foods, blessings, and a friendly competition with eggs, all of whichcatherine's pascha illustration2 R.J. Hughes are joyful elements that will pique any child’s interests. More profound, though, are the centuries-old patterns of this highest worship service of the year. If you have never celebrated Easter, or if you do not come from a liturgical tradition, this book gives a remarkably clear explanation of what is involved, including short excerpts from the Bible and hymns, that enter the service at specific moments. Traditional greetings are given in multiple languages including Russian, Greek, and Yup’ik.

How cool is this -- Trinity Church on King George Island, Antarctica!

How cool is this — Trinity Church on King George Island, Antarctica!

One intriguing decision was to incorporate into the illustrations, images of Orthodox churches around the world. From Tanzania to Tokyo to Antarctica, we see the structures, find out when they were built, and learn their names in the local language and script. It’s a fascinating way to experience the vastness and diversity of the Orthodox faith.

Included in the back pages are pronunciation guides, a glossary of religious terms used, and a Q&A with more information about Pascha. Additionally, the book’s creators have created a website with gobs more information including recipes for traditional foods, ideas for dying your own Pascha eggs, and other activities. I thought making the sweet Honey Bunnies sounded like a tasty option!


Suitable for ages 4 or 5 and up, this unusual book will provide a way for some children to exclaim, “That’s just how we do it!” and for others to get an insider’s glimpse of a completely different set of practices.

Now, here’s some more information about Multicultural Children’s Book Day:

Our Mission: The MCCBD team’s mission to spread the word and raise awareness about the importance of diversity in children’s literature. Our young readers need to see themselves within the pages of a book and experience other cultures, languages, traditions and religions within the pages of a book. We encourage readers, parents, teachers, caregivers and librarians to follow along the fun book reviews, author visits, event details, a multicultural children’s book linky and via our hashtag (#ReadYourWorld) on Twitter and other social media.

Platinum: Wisdom Tales Press * StoryQuest Books*Lil Libros
Gold: Author Tori Nighthawk*Candlewick Press,* Bharat Babies
Silver: Lee and Low Books*Chronicle Books*Capstone Young Readers Tuttle Publishing ,NY Media Works, LLC/KidLit TV
Bronze: Pomelo Books* Author Jacqueline Woodson*Papa Lemon Books* Goosebottom Books*Author Gleeson Rebello*ShoutMouse Press*Author Mahvash Shahegh* China*Live Oak Media

All Done Monkey, Crafty Moms Share,Educators Spin on it,Growing Book by Book,Imagination Soup,I’m Not the Nanny,InCultural Parent, Kid World Citizen,Mama Smiles,Multicultural Kid Blogs,Spanish Playground

Classroom Reading Challenge:Help spread the word on our  Classroom Reading Challenge. This very special offering from MCCBD offers teachers and classrooms the chance to (very easily) earn a free hardcover multicultural children’s book for their classroom library. These books are not only donated by the Junior Library Guild, but they are pre-screened and approved by them as well.

Spread the word to your teacher/librarian/classroom connections so they can get involved in this program. There is no cost to teachers and classrooms and we’ve made the whole process as simple as possible. You can help by tweeting the below info:

​Teachers! Earn a FREE #Multicultural Kids Book for Your Classroom! #teachers,#books,#teacherlife

The Classroom Reading Challenge has begun! Teachers can earn a free diversity book! #teachers, #books