A Magic Fountain + Sparkles + Diversity!

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Today we are doing things a little differently. It is, after all, a day for diversity 🙂 So we are sharing with you two incredible picture books all about the diversity among us. We were given these books from Lee & Low Books Inc and Big, Bold, Beautiful World Media in exchange for our honest reviews.

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The first book we received was Gokul Village and the Magic Fountain by Jeni L. Chapman.
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Gokul Village and the Magic Fountain is the first book in the Gokul! Adventures series of books for children ages 4-7. In every story, with the help of the Friendship Fountain, six friends travel the world, explore and celebrate the festivals of different cultures and traditions, forge friendships for life, and save the day!

In this beautifully illustrated first book, learn how Gokul’s fountain discovered its magic and how its magic transforms the lives of the children of Gokul Village. Join six friends – Riya, Dalai, Noelle, Christopher, Zoya, and Jacob, as they work together to restore their beloved fountain and save the day for their annual village New Year’s celebration. Each friend brings a unique talent to the team and in working together, they realize that the fountain, too, has a very special gift to give in return. Find out how six friends set in motion a world of amazing adventures. 

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Right away when I opened this book, I was amazed by the artwork. The illustrations (done by Charlene Chua) were stunning. And then you have the sweet story – six children, all very unique in many ways, work together to restore their favorite fountain so that the New Year’s celebration can take place. They each have a special task to complete and when the job is done, they find out they’ve stumbled on a magic fountain! Off they go on an amazing adventure to different places around the world, witnessing different celebrations. Not only have they taken an old, sad fountain and restored it to a beautiful piece of architecture, but they get to travel to different places (in water bubbles, no less!) each time they activate the fountain’s magic!

This book was a little above Mister Chu’s comprehension level but he adored the pictures. The water bubble travels were a particular favorite of his 🙂 And I was a bit surprised when he started pointing out the differences in the little children. It’s an amazing discussion when you start talking diversity with a curious 4-year-old!

Mister Chu’s Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Our second book was Sparkle Boy by Leslea Newman and illustrated by Maria Mola.SPARKLE_BOY_cover.jpg

Casey loves to play with his blocks, puzzles, and dump truck, bu the also loves things that sparkle, shimmer, and glitter. When his older sister, Jessie, shows off her shimmery skirt, Casey wants to wear a shimmery skirt too. When Jessie comes home from a party with glittery nails, Casey wants glittery nails too. And when Abuelita visits wearing an armful of sparkly bracelets, Casey gets one to wear, just like Jessie. The adults in Casey’s life embrace his interests, but Jessie isn’t so sure. Boys aren’t supposed to wear sparkly, shimmery, glittery things. Then, when older boys at the library tease Casey for wearing “girl” things, Jessie realizes that Casey has the right to be himself and wear whatever he wants. Whey can’t both she and Casey love all things shimmery, glittery, and sparkly? Here is a sweet, heartwarming story about acceptance, respect, and the freedom to be yourself in a world where gender expression should be celebrated. Sparkly things are for everyone to enjoy!

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The first thing that caught my attention was the actual glittery texture on the cover. I expected it to look glittery but to get the texture feeling (in a house where little fingers are constantly touching, touching, touching!) was a major plus for me.

This story is a classic one of two siblings, one older and getting to do all sorts of things, and the other younger and wanting to be able to do the things big sister gets to do. I see the same thing every day with Mister Chu and Lady Quinn. What he does, she wants to do. In this story, it’s a little boy who loves dump trucks and all things boyish. Then he sees his sister get to paint her nails and sparkle and twirl. He wants to do that too. She can, so why can’t he? Problem is, big sister doesn’t think her little brother should do girly things . . . until he starts getting teased for it. Then she steps up and protects her little brother. And in the process, she learns that maybe it’s okay for him to be a little unique 🙂

The biggest thing I liked about this story was, even though the older sister doesn’t agree with her brother being all sparkly in the beginning, she still steps up when it really counts. Being siblings becomes more important to her than what other people think. Major brownie points with this Mom.

The artwork in this book was unique in its own way. I appreciated that, as it was different from the majority of the children’s books we read. So many artists are trying to make things look a little more digital, whereas this book had a very hand-drawn quality to it. It’s a style I really enjoy and I am definitely going to be searching out more of Maria Mola’s work.

Mister Chu’s Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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The Ginger Mom was thrilled to be able to participate in Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2018 (say that ten times fast!) A big thank you to the authors and illustrators who created these incredible books and to the publishers for sending them to us for review!

And, if you’re looking for more great multicultural books, use the hashtag #ReadYourWorld and join in the annual Twitter party TODAY at 9PM Eastern Time!

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Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2018 (1/27/18) is in its 5th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ 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.  

That’s all we have for you today but in case you missed it, stop by and check out our review of Nonnie and I, a super-adorable bilingual story about a little girl from Africa who learns that it’s okay to have new friends and try different things 🙂

As always,
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