I am so happy to once again be participating in the Multicultural Children's Book Day!
Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/17) is its fourth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness on the ongoing need to include kid’s 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.
Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team are on a mission to change all of that.
I was first introduced to author D.G. Driver and her high school protagonist, Juniper "June" Sawfeather, when I read and reviewed the first novel in this series, Cry of the Sea, for the 2016 Multicultural Children's Book Day. In the first book, I loved the combination of real life environmental concerns, Native American culture, and fantasy - all centered around teen characters who fans of Young Adult fiction will relate to. Therefore, I was excited to read the second book in the series, Whisper of the Woods, for this year's MCBD.
At the end of Cry of the Sea, June, the daughter of environmental activists, is summoned by her father to a new protest involving the lumber industry and the cutting down of centuries old cedar trees. Whisper in the Woods picks up right where we left off in book one.
In need of funds, one of the local Native American reservations has decided to sell their Old Growth cedar trees to the logging industry. The Sawfeathers are naturally opposed to this decision and have initiated a protest. To complicate matters, the Chief Executive of the Tribal Council in charge of this decision is June's uncle, Nathan.
When in the woods as part of the protest, June is convinced she hears whispering. June feels an indescribable bond with one tree in particular. As legends begin to be told and the mysterious history behind this tree is unfolded, June decides to stage her own sit-in - 170 feet up in the tree! However, it soon becomes evident that June may not be allowed to leave the tree even if she wanted to. What happens next is a beautiful, yet sometimes eerie, story involving a mythical tree spirit that emphasizes the role of these ancient trees on our planet. The novel is very suspenseful and has the reader repeatedly questioning the motives of the spirit.
Will the tree release June? And, if so, under what conditions?
After finishing Cry of the Sea, I commented that I would have liked more Native American cultural connections. Whisper of the Woods delivers that. Probably for this reason, I enjoyed it even more than Cry of the Sea. And, in keeping with the main purpose of the series, it doesn't forget to highlight environmental conservation.
You don't need to have read the first novel to understand this one, but they are deeply connected, and it would make more sense. I believe the target audience of middle and high school teens will thoroughly enjoy this novel and believe teachers may certainly use it as a stepping stone to discussing the plight of our environment and things we can do to help protect and save it.
I strongly encourage teens to become active in environmental issues. A simple way to do so is to organize a local beach clean-up with your school or outside organization. The future of our planet depends on the compassion and action of today's youth.
Current Sponsors: MCBD 2017 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. Platinum Sponsors include Scholastic, Barefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. Roman, Audrey Press, Candlewick Press, Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTV, Capstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa, Author Gayle Swift, Wisdom Tales Press, Lee& Low Books, The Pack-n-Go Girls, Live Oak Media, Author Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books
Author Sponsor include: Karen Leggett Abouraya, Veronica Appleton, Susan Bernardo, Kathleen Burkinshaw, Maria Dismondy, D.G. Driver, Geoff Griffin, Savannah Hendricks, Stephen Hodges, Carmen Bernier-Grand,Vahid Imani, Gwen Jackson, Hena, Kahn, David Kelly, Mariana Llanos, Natasha Moulton-Levy, Teddy O'Malley, Stacy McAnulty, Cerece Murphy, Miranda Paul, Annette Pimentel, Greg Ransom, Sandra Richards, Elsa Takaoka, Graciela Tiscareño-Sato, Sarah Stevenson, Monica Mathis-Stowe SmartChoiceNation, Andrea Y. Wang
We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive Co-Host Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also work tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our Co-Hosts HERE.
MCBD Links to remember:
MCBD site: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/
Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta
Free Kindness Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teachers-classroom-kindness-kit/
Free Diversity Book Lists and Activities for Teachers and Parents: http://bit.ly/1sZ5s8i