There are so many ways that science transforms our everyday lives. I am always on the lookout for STEM careers for the girls in my books – especially the STEM Lovin’ Baby-Sitters.
Today I was fascinated to hear about nanotechnology in fabrics. My books talk about jobs in science that have an appeal beyond science, particularly jobs in the hair and beauty industries. My character Keysha paints her nails while considering how to make eco-friendly pigmented polymers. She would be intrigued by the nanotechnolgy where elements are added to fabrics to give them new qualities – fire-proofing, stretchiness, UV protection, drug delivery (!) and many other superpowers.
I am investigating whether the leggings on the Zazzle website are made with nanotechnology. People are raving about them so I am checking out whether the fabric mills in Canada, where they come from, use nanotech.
Meanwhile, check out how you can combine art and science to customise your leggings. Here is Geeky Mikita added to leggings. This is the kind of topic that Miss Treacle might talk about in a future book.
My colouring book has appeared on Amazon. It is a colouring book for little girls who might enjoy being looked after by Jada-Kai, Keysha and Ruby the STEM Lovin’ Baby-Sitters. Little girls will like seeing what the big girls get up to.
The baby-sitters appeared first in my book A Fairy in the Family Again. The book tried to make a point about careers in STEM in the beauty industry. There is along history of black women developing hair products.
Imagine working in science to make products you love. Our pal Mumbi has done just that. Girls are going to have STEM careers that we have not even imagined.
This post is inspired by the Afro-Irish woman who wore green and red braids to support the Mayo team. Add your team colours to Ruby’s braids. Kany Kazadi was an asylum seeker who discovered the power and passion of the GAA, community sport that happens all over Ireland.
Her Twitter post went viral and got her a lot of media attention which she uses to campaign for better conditions for other asylum seekers. It took 12 hours to weave the coloured braids into her hair. It earned her a pair of tickets to the game as well as an appearance on TV on the Late Late Show.
My first two African princess colouring pages are now Printables.
I have started work on my STEM Lovin’ Baby-Sitters colouring book. There will be pages about STEM, baby-sitting and natural hair. I will be making free printables as I go along starting with natural hair and fancy dress.
Fun and empowering colouring books with natural hair for black girls and boys
Here are a few of the colouring books that I have come across recently that celebrate diversity and feature black characters.
Colouring books can be cheap and cheerful. However if you want colouring pages with black kids or natural hair then you may have to pay a bit more. The books I have chosen here are high quality products created by named authors and illustrators. Some have special features like activity and journalling pages. All are designed to be empowering.
This 64 page book is full of boys getting into things like footballs, fireflies and fishing.Cute and cheerful drawings of little dudes will encourage small guys to get the crayons out.Chiquanda also has a sweet book for girls.
It was hard to pick a favourite from this author’s appealing selection of books but I went for the STEM book as it features a multicultural cast of cute girls who cry out to be coloured in.There are also questions for the child to answer so a very endearing souvenir can be created. JD Wright has free pages to download on her site showing black kids with cool hairstyles.
My absolute favourite page in the set of images of girls with big dreams shows a woman strolling barefoot along a beach She asserts that she wants to bea mom and will foster, adopt or have her own kids.
The drawings of multicultural young women doing valuable work make this a fabulous career guidance book.Is she can do it so can I!
I’ve blogged about this book before because I just love colouring it in.Cheerful , gorgeous women with natural hair are shown in a range of activities. The drawings by Janine Harrington are printed on one side of the paper only and cry out to be framed. Crystal Swain Bates has many great books.
As I mentioned earlier I was complaining about books for boys in Instagram and Plum Street Press drew my attention to Swift Walker – a chirpy little characters who stars in many books for the 4-8 age group. Swifts loves travel and adventure. The drawings of Swift with his natural fro and just doing a little bit of work for representation.
I have been watching this one on instagram for a while as the author jilleybeanbooksshowed off pages and details of the project. I don’t have a copy yet but I can see from the reviews that as well as havingdrawings that girls will adore, the book deals with all the topics facing girls.
What really caught my eye was the pretty pre-teen saying a prayer and having a chat with God.I was impressed as a lot of books talk about empowerment without acknowledging spirituality.
Bekki: Hello Obi and Titi. I am Bekki the Fairy. I am delighted to meet you both.
Titi: Wow, so fairies really do exist?! That is so cool!
Obi: Can you fly? I want to see, I want to see! I have a monkey called Mumu and he can talk but he can’t fly, oh!
Titi: Obi, Mumu is no longer your monkey. Remember, he ran off and the talking thing is meant to be a secret.
*Titi rolls her eyes*
Titi: It’s really nice to meet you too Bekki. Please carry on, don’t mind him.
Bekki: Is it true your story happens in Africa in the olden historical days?
Titi: Yes, it’s based in the 15th century in a place called the Benin Kingdom.
Obi: Yes, it was a great empire which is located where present-day Nigeria is.
Bekki: This is a question for Titi. Are you really a princess?
Obi: Oh, oh! Now you’re in trouble, fairy girl. She doesn’t like being called a princess, do you Royal Princess Titilayo? Hahaha.
Titi: It’s okay. Yes, I am but I’m no different from anybody else. Obi reminds me of that every day.
Obi: Yes, I do, oh. In fact, it is my royal duty hehehe…..
Bekki: I come from London but I am a mixture of Nigeria, Ghana, Brazil, Portugal and Scotland. Are you a mixture?
Obi: Nope. I’m pure Obi and she is pure Titi!
Titi: Don’t mind him, he doesn’t know what he is talking about. Our creator wanted to mix things up a little so he gave me a Yoruba name and Obi is Igbo. Research shows that the Benin Kingdom, at the time, was very mixed as there were so many different groups of people living there from all over.
Bekki: If I did a magic spell to go to Nigeria would I be able to see the hidden Temple of Ogisu?
*Obi laughs *
Obi: Of course not, its hidden and it’s really, really hard to find, but if you grant me a couple of wishes I might show it to you.
Titi: Obi you are so rude! Don’t give him anything. You probably shouldn’t have granted him this interview. He is going to spoil it!
Bekki: Who wrote a book about you and why?
Obi: Oh, I know this one. Can I answer? Can I?
Titi: It was Mr O T Begho and he wrote about us and our adventure for two main reasons. One was the lack of black characters in books, educational material, cartoons and games. The second was to give a more factual and positive representation of African history and culture.
Obi: I was gonna say that!
Bekki: Did you like having a pet monkey, Obi?
Obi: No! He is an olè!
Titi: Sorry, that means thief and he isn’t. He is just misunderstood.
Obi: Really? What about when he stole my birthday presents or the time we caught him with a bag full of gold in the temple.
Titi: Err…. maybe we should move to the next question.
Bekki: I do skipping and I like rhyming songs. Have you got any good ones to share with me, please?
Obi: I do.
I once met a fairy, that said that she could fly, But when I pushed her off a cliff, She fell straight down and
Titi: Obi stop it! *Titi covers his mouth*
Bekki: If you were a toys would you be an action hero, a cuddly plush toy or a paper doll with loads of outfits?
Titi: We would be action heroes. We really love a good adventure and somehow we’ve become quite good at getting ourselves out of trouble.
*Titi is still covering Obi’s mouth but he nods in agreement. *
Bekki: Will you be in more books?
Obi: Mr Begho has nearly finished book 6 and I think that’s the end of the series. I have big prospects though. I’m going to be in a computer game or even a movie.
Titi: I want him to continue writing. I have an idea I want to pitch to him but Obi thinks it’s silly. Why just write about the Benin Kingdom? You see, we have this travellers pendant and it’s magical and can take us anywhere, as long as we can find Okuta dust to power it. So, we could travel to other African Kingdoms and continue our adventure there.
Bekki: No, it’s not. Imagine all the princess dresses you would see! It has been cool talking to you, Obi and Titi. Can we be friends?
Titi: Yes, of course. I love fairies. Obi: Nope
Bekki: Shhhh, Obi! I want to tell people about your cool website.
Ahem, even though Obi and Titi are in historical books they use the most modern technology. They have games, videos, Mr Begho doing a rap and all sorts of books and things on their website, I like the photobombs! Come on Titi, let’s have a dance and sing Let it Go.
Bekki the Fairy meets Malcolm and Nia from The Magic Pencil
Bekki: Hello Malcolm, I am Bekki the Fairy from London and it is simply, frightfully splendid to meet you. As you can see I speak like the Queen. Or should I say “Yo, Malcolm, what’s the haps?’
Malcolm:Hello there Bekki! Veddy nice to make your acquaintance.
Bekki: I love the way you talk. The words just slide out! Are you allowed to talk like that in school?
Malcolm:Thanks! Glad you appreciate and unnerstan my usin it. Naw, in school the teachers want us to speak standard English. Sometimes I get away with it if I’m havin a quiet convo with one because they know I know when not to use it! They usually know what I’m sayin too.
Bekki: My brother Sam is very good at school but he is not cool. He says things like lickety split and jeepers creepers. Can you please help him to sound more cool?
Malcolm: Probly, but it might take a minute. That means a long time. But it can mean a short time too! A lot of the meanin of a word depends on how it’s said an in what context! An, if you can see the person, you gotta watch the way they move too. You know, understand they body language! Hey, do you see how I mix up the ways I talk together?
Bekki: I come from London but I am a mixture of Nigeria, Ghana, Brazil, Portugal and Scotland. Are you a mixture?
Malcolm: I ain had my DNA done yet, haha. But I think everybody is all a – uh – “mixture”. That sounds better than sayin you “mixed”. Makes it soun like talkin about dogs. Science says we all from Africa, anyway.
Bekki:What kinds of music do you like?
Malcolm: A lot. I got an open mine. You could dig for gold an fine it in there, haha. But I do like a lot of different kinds. That’s anotha thing that’s mixed!
Bekki: Do your relatives from Jamaica like reggae music? Do you?
Malcolm: Mostly. I like it now. I had to get used to it, though. My dad plays it a lot when we ridin together. He plays a lot of the classics and even new stuff.
Bekki: What is the best thing about your mum?
Malcolm: Awwww… Moms is great! We have our discrepancies but mostly we cool. She lets me be me as much as possible. And I respect her madly.
Bekki: I have one dad. Is it good having two?
Malcolm: Well, Mom an Jam ain married, yet. But he’s like another dad, and real fun! He got jokes! Dad is basically a standard dad. We cool an all but he don’t play unless it’s wit a soccer ball! Both a them treat me good and I always learn somethin new from em.
Bekki: I go to school in Dagenham where they used to make cars. What’s your favourite car and who is your favourite racing driver?
Malcolm: Right now, I like the Ferrari 488GTB. It got a twin-turbo 3.9-liter V-8 engine and can do 8000 rpm! It’s sweeeeeeeeet! I still like Lewis Hamilton. I like Nicole Lyons too! Bout time I found out about Black female drivers!
Bekki: What do you think of Lewis Hamilton?
Malcolm: He’s a baaaaad Brit brotha! Plus, he’s got a foundation so it makes me know he ain all bout the Benjamins – or whatever they call em where he lives. You know, the money, right?
Bekki: Will your mum and dad let you fuse your hair?
Malcolm: Oh, you mean grow locs? Well, I’m not a Rasta – oh, Rastafarian. That’s like a religion thang. They call theirs dreadlocks. I guess they will. Dad wants me to wait til I’m older cuz he thinks Mom won’t like em. But I think she won’t mind.
Bekki: Do you want me to do a magic spell to make your hair as long as your friend Nia’s?
Malcolm: Hahaha! Not really. I think it’ll be fun to let it do its own fusion in its own time!
Bekki: My baby-sitter Ruby saw Beyoncé when she came to London and showed me the video on her phone. Did you see Beyoncé when she sang a reggae song when she was on tour in America?
Malcolm: Nope. I only seen the videos. She’s done A LOT of reggae stuff! She’s global.
Bekki: I have a question for Nia. Nia, mum won’t let me use my magic wand to do my homework. Do you think that magic is good for homework?
Nia: Not really. It’s kind of cheating, don’t you think? You really won’t learn much more than how to use it better!
Bekki:(changing the subject quickly) I do skipping too. I like the rhyming songs. Have you got any good ones to share with me, please?
Nia: Yep! It’s the kind where you sort of run while you’re jumping. Ms. Quayle, one of my teachers, wrote the rhyme. It’s about a very smart boy named Wyatt. You say the first two parts and jump kind of fast. Then, when you say the third part you go really fast and stomp as you jump. Then you do the same steps for the next three parts. Everyone sings: “Quiet Wyatt! The grow folk say When-I-get-into-their-talking. You’re being smart, Now run and play. I-shake-my-head-as-I-start-walking.”
Bekki: I like rhyming. In London some people use Cockney rhyming slang. It is like a puzzle that you have to work out. So if I say ‘A cup of Rosie’ it means ‘a cup of tea’. Because Rosie Lee rhymes with tea! Can you guess what a syrup is? I’ll give you a clue – it goes on a bald man’s head!*
Malcolm: Uhhhhhhhhh, a stirrup?
Nia: Hmmm. A maple leaf!
Malcolm & Nia (in unison): Who’s right?
Bekki: Hee hee, nobody is right- a syrup is a wig – it rhymes with syrup of figs. But most wig shops don’t use that word so don’t make a fool of yourself!
Bekki: If the Pencil Fairy said she would give you whatever pencils you wanted what kind would you ask for? And what would you use them for?
Malcolm: A mechanical one with a never-ending lead and self- regenerating, not-smeary eraser. Plus, I can tell it to make its lead thicker or thinner, darker or lighter and harder or softer! That way I could use it for everything!
Nia: I guess the same thing would work for me. But I’d want mine to also change the lead’s color!
Bekki: My favourite teacher is Miss Treacle because she is kind and funny. She teaches science to my baby-sitters and to my brother, Sam. Who is your favourite teacher and why?
Nia: Oh, I love Ms. Winston. She is the perfect educator! But I also love Mr. Skye. I help him with the kindergarten kids. He is soooo wise and kind.
Malcolm: Hey Ms. Smarty, you sposed to name only one. I think mine’s Ms. Winston too because she keeps us learning and understands I get bored a lot. But Ms. Kady, the sub, is cool too. She makes things real excitin! I think she’s a chameleon cuz she changes up when she gotstuh!
Nia: You “sposed to name ON-LY one”, boy!
Malcolm: OK. Then I name ME. I teach my self to learn, gurl!
Bekki: Nia, what do you like about Malcolm?
Nia: Malcolm is a great friend; understanding and … loyal.
Bekki: And Malcolm what do you like about Nia?
Malcolm: Uh, she’s OK. Hahaha! Fa real, Nia is intriguing; never boring.
Bekki: Who wrote a book about you guys and why?
Malcolm & Nia: (in unison) Ms. Karen E. Dab-ney!
Malcolm: Well, she wants to get kids to read who may not know the fun part of it and she doesn’t think they have to stop talking one way to talk another way.
Nia: She likes to say “Teach and Lead. Reach and Read!” That means a teacher needs to figure out how to encourage children to want to read by figuring out what they need!
Bekki: Will you be in more books?
Malcolm: Oh, yeah. “Play Mom”, that’s what we call Ms. Dabney, is trying to decide what we will be doing next.
Nia: I think she wants to have us save the world! Maybe one book at a time.
Bekki: It has been marvellously, splendid and a’ight talking to you, Malcolm and Nia. Can we be friends?
Malcolm: Call me Malc. An, yeah. You gotta teach us some magical stuff, though.
Nia: Of course, we can, Bekki! Don’t pay any attention to Malcolm. I can tell he likes you! And I do too.
Bekki: C’mon, I’ll show you my wand.
Time to See The Books:
Do you want to read about Malcolm and Nia and learn code-switchin to talk like Malc?
Malcolm and Nia appear in the book The Magic Pencil. Click on the title or pic to see the book on Amazon. You can look inside the book too!
And Malcolm is on the cover of a book called The Magic Pencil Black Language Glossary. This cool book will teach you to speak Black English – take all the un-nessry letters out of your words and just flow. Try it…it might change how you feel about words. Malcolm will guide you. Get learnin
Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (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.
I was given my book by our sponsor Green Kids Club. They create gorgeous colourful picture books to teach children about the planet, its ecosystems and the creatures who live here. My book is one of a series where two children Maya and Victor drink water from The Green Spring and are granted the ability to talk to animals.
So, are you ready to pay attention?
I am going to:
-tell you what I think about the book
-tell you my idea for an activity to encourage reading
-tell you about the Twitter party
-tell you where you can go to find more books about our fabulous planet.
My book review
Series:Green Kids Club
Age: 7 upwards
Source: Sylvia M Medina (author)
This colourful book is gentle in tone and charming in its illustrative style. This means it is able to deliver a tough message without upsetting even a sensitive child. Victor and Maya are visiting Botswana and meeting their friend Maatla when Maya asks to see an elephant,
Maya’s desire to see an elephant worries her friend Maatla as he is aware that the elephants are under attack from poachers. The children learn that there are people who will kill an elephant to take the tusks. Tusks are a unique substance for carving and they are valuable in Asia. (Woolly mammoths had tusks too and you don’t see many of them about. )
Maatla takes the children to look for elephants and, inevitably, drama and excitement follow. Maya and Victor have magic powers that allow them to help animals and those powers can be shared with. Maatla is given the same gift and he is stupefied when he can suddenly hear animals speaking. The ending is a happy one but pages of facts at the back of the book open children’s eyes to an unpleasant situation going on in the world right now.
If you read this book to your children you mighy tell them that public opinion persuaded the Chinese to ban the sale of ivory. Young eco-warriors need messages of hope. Despite the poachers’ activities, this book gives a strong sense of that Africa’s animals are precious and valued.
This is the first and only book I have read from this series. Animal lovers will find many more on Amazon.
My activity to encourage reading
Remember I said I had an activity? OK, here is my book gift package idea.
The story about the baby elephant in danger got me thinking. And when kids start thinking they want to play. How about hen you go to Amazon to buy this book head on over to the page where they sell African animals. It is called Schleich and they have all the animals from The Elephant and the King.
You can act out the exciting scenes where the baby elephant is in danger and the lion and the other animals get involved.
The Twitter party?
TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Scholastic Book Clubs: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/27/18 at 9:00pm.
Join the conversation and win one of 12-5 book bundles and one Grand Prize Book Bundle (12 books) that will be given away at the party! http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/twitter-party-great-conversations-fun-prizes-chance-readyourworld-1-27-18/
You want more great books – start with great publishers.
Where? Here! These guys have sponsored us because they care about Multicultural books enough to publish them.
2018 MCBD Medallion Sponsors HONORARY: Children’s Book Council, Junior Library Guild PLATINUM:Scholastic Book Clubs GOLD:Audrey Press, Candlewick Press, Loving Lion Books, Second Story Press, Star Bright Books, Worldwide Buddies SILVER:Capstone Publishing, Author Charlotte Riggle, Child’s Play USA, KidLit TV, Pack-n-Go Girls, Plum Street Press BRONZE: Barefoot Books, Carole P. Roman, Charlesbridge Publishing, Dr. Crystal Bowe, Gokul! World, Green Kids Club, Gwen Jackson, Jacqueline Woodson, Juan J. Guerra, Language Lizard, Lee & Low Books, RhymeTime Storybooks, Sanya Whittaker Gragg, TimTimTom Books, WaterBrook & Multnomah, Wisdom Tales Press
2018 Author Sponsors Honorary Author Sponsors: Author/Illustrator Aram Kim and Author/Illustrator Juana Medina Author Janet Balletta, Author Susan Bernardo, Author Carmen Bernier-Grand, Author Tasheba Berry-McLaren and Space2Launch, Bollywood Groove Books, Author Anne Broyles, Author Kathleen Burkinshaw, Author Eugenia Chu, Author Lesa Cline-Ransome, Author Medeia Cohan and Shade 7 Publishing, Desi Babies, Author Dani Dixon and Tumble Creek Press, Author Judy Dodge Cummings, Author D.G. Driver, Author Nicole Fenner and Sister Girl Publishing, Debbi Michiko Florence, Author Josh Funk, Author Maria Gianferrari, Author Daphnie Glenn, Globe Smart Kids, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Author Quentin Holmes, Author Esther Iverem, Jennifer Joseph: Alphabet Oddities, Author Kizzie Jones, Author Faith L Justice , Author P.J. LaRue and MysticPrincesses.com, Author Karen Leggett Abouraya, Author Sylvia Liu, Author Sherri Maret, Author Melissa Martin Ph.D., Author Lesli Mitchell, Pinky Mukhi and We Are One, Author Miranda Paul, Author Carlotta Penn, Real Dads Read, Greg Ransom, Author Sandra L. Richards, RealMVPKids Author Andrea Scott, Alva Sachs and Three Wishes Publishing, Shelly Bean the Sports Queen, Author Sarah Stevenson, Author Gayle H. Swift Author Elsa Takaoka, Author Christine Taylor-Butler, Nicholette Thomas and MFL Publishing Author Andrea Y. Wang, Author Jane Whittingham Author Natasha Yim
We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.
Don’t forget the teachers
Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta
Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teacher-classroom-empathy-kit/
Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.
Geeky Mikita was very flattered to be invited to do an interview for the STEMINIST website.
The STEMINIST website interviews women who work in STEM. If you ever wondered what jobs a girl might do in Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths then have a look at some of the things these women get up to. You are gonna be impressed- and maybe even a little bit envious but inspired too!
Just for example; Melissa works with sharks. Judith went to Jordan to teach girls about water in their environment, Islin is a “weather junkie” in Alaska and she has very good advice for girls picking a career,
Here is Mikita’s quote about her heroes:
“Stephen Hawking is an impressive multi-tasker and so is Beyonce. Stephen Hawking is a cosmologist as well as a theoretical physicist and Beyonce is a mum as well as a musical genius. They are like me cos I had to babysit and do my homework at the same time.”