How to donate Multi-Cultural books on International Book Giving Day

List of names of people who distribute diverse books
Book Fairies

 

International Book Giving Day is on Valentine’s day – here is a guide to donating multi-cultural books.  Everyone named is on Instagram.

Many children do not see people who look like them in books and this creates problems.  My own book A Fairy in the Family was created to represent black kids in London but one book can only do so much.

With International Book Donation Day coming up I wanted to list some of the people who are doing their bit for diversity in books by accepting donations and then finding an audience for the books.  

There are quite a few options when it come to donating books with children of colour.  One woman referred to herself as a “Book Fairy” so I will borrow that term for my list.

Book Fairy One – Marley Dias  (@iammarleydias)

Marley Dias is the schoolgirl who was encouraged by her mother to DO SOMETHING when she complained about the shortage of books featuring black girls on the cover. 

Marley Dias started her #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign in 2015 and has collected well over 1,000 books.  She shares the books with children in Jamaica and has created her GrassROOTS resource that lists her donated books here.

Book Fairy Two – Olivia (@blackgirlbooksmatter)

Olivia is a little girl who does lively book reviews under the handle @blackgirlbooksmatter Her feed is full of books and other artworks showing black girls.

Book Fairies Three and Four –  Madison and Barrington (@50tates50books)

With help from mum, this sister and brother team has the goal of donating boxes full of 50 books to each of the 50 US states. 

 Book Fairies Five and Six – Jeannie and Bianca (@ColorfulPagesProject)

With the Colorful Pages Project educators Jeannie and Bianca are getting picture books into schools in their area of North Carolina.  They look for books “featuring characters of color”.

Book Fairy Seven – Devon (@isemeinc)

Devon Frazier wants to dismantle the ‘school to prison pipeline’ by addressing problems with literacy in vulnerable children.  

 

A pretty girl outside a juvenile detention centre where she will donate blank notebooks
You can write
Book Fairy Eight – Trinity (@theyouthwillbeallwrite)

Even after kids have wound up in detention centres 16 year old Trinity has not given up on them and she donates staple-free composition journals to kids so that they might have a place to write.

The End

Gorgeous New Barbie Doll With Freckles

Barbie FJF70 Fashionista GS Glam Boho Doll

Mattel has been working hard on diversity – as ever.  The curvy dolls are a step in the right direction and the Made To Move dolls are impressively posable.  Yoga poses of all types are possible.  But kids are kids and dolls must be dolls.  I haven’t seen freckles on a Barbie doll since the sixties – and even then it was the cute youngsters not BMR herself.  

 

Freckles suit her…don’t forget the sun cream

Bekki the Fairy meets Jaden Toussaint, the Greatest

Cirles with the face of Bekki the Fairy and Jaden Toussaint
Bekki the Fairy wants to ask Jaden Toussaint all sorts

This interview is a work of FICTION with the authors bringing their characters to life.

Bekki: Hello Jaden.  I am Bekki the Fairy. I am great because I do helpful spells. What is your most greatest, bestest thing about you?

Jaden: I think a lot of people would say my hair. When we went to New York City people stopped me on almost every block to say they liked my hair. Seriously. At first, I was giving people helpful hints on growing their afros, but then Mama kept telling me to just say, “Thank you,” even though that doesn’t seem very helpful at all.

But I wouldn’t say my hair is the best thing about me. I think my ninja dancing is way better than my hair.


Bekki: I can do some of the moves from Single Ladies.  What are your favourite dance moves?

Jaden: It’s probably a tie between the Robot and the Moonwalk. Or a mega-tie between the Robot, the Moonwalk, the Warrior, Ninja on Tiptoe, the Rainbow, and the Dab. On second thought, I’ll just say the Dab. My sister taught me that one.

Bekki: My brother Sam used to be my baby-sitter but he won’t do it anymore because I turned him into a hotdog.  Is your sister Sissy your baby-sitter?

Jaden: No, but she really, really wants to be. I told her if she really wants to convince Mama and Baba that she should make a PowerPoint presentation. PowerPoint presentations are scientifically proven to convince parents of anything. That and petitions.

I even said I’d help her make it because I’m kind of an expert in PowerPoints and all we’d have to do is become experts in the law so we could make a perfect case to convince our parents, but she said, “No, thank you,” for some strange reason. Weird, right?

Three book covers
Jaden has a gift for PowerPoint and petitions

Bekki: You’re from New Orleans? That’s in the United States, isn’t it? I come from London but I am a mixture of Nigeria, Ghana, Brazil, Portugal and Scotland.  Are you a mixture?

Jaden: Um…I’m not sure. But [pulls out notebook] that gives me a great idea for a research project.

Street scene in New Orleans
New Orleans is a big US city with lots going for it

Bekki: Can you speak any Swahili?

Jaden: I know the Nguzo Saba (that means seven principles) from Kwanza, and I know how to say hello now that my cousin Muffin taught me. My mom can speak a lot of French, but Chinese is more my thing.

Bekki: Does your big hair take a lot of looking after?

Jaden: Sometimes. My mom washes it and combs it into my alien hair (my mom calls it twists, but alien hair is just better) and then leaves it to dry like that. Then I either wear my alien hair to school or I pull the aliens apart in an epic battle and free my ‘fro. That’s the best part. After a while my mom makes me get it washed again, though.

Bekki: What is the best thing about your mum?  

Jaden: She gives really good hugs and she makes the best muffins.

a boy and girl face each other with aggressive faces
Not all muffins are sweet. Jaden’s cousin Muffin is a handful!

Bekki: Do you want me to do a magic spell to turn you into a Ladek?

Jaden: So that I can become the most hated creature on the planet and nearby galaxies?!? No thanks.

Bekki:  Hmmmf, suit yourself!   I do skipping and I like rhyming songs.  Have you got any good ones to share with me, please?

Jaden: If you like songs that rhyme you should listen to “My Shot” from Hamilton. It’s epic and it has lots of rhymes in it. Like, a ton.

Bekki: I love that song!  Thanks for telling me about it!  [Bekki dances and makes assertive hand gestures].

That show is coming to London– maybe mum will bring me.  Now, next question, who is your favourite teacher and why?

Four actors in historical costume dancing onstage in the musical Hamilton
Scene from Hamilton the revolutionary musical

Jaden: Miss Bates is the best teacher in the whole wide world! She knows how to do all the best stuff. Like, seriously. She does. One time she even showed us how to slice a banana without peeling it.

Bekki: If you were a toy would you be an action hero, a cuddly plush toy or a paper doll with loads of outfits?

Jaden: All of them. Definitely all of them. Action heroes are good for the tub and science experiments because they can get wet. Paper dolls are cool because I could make tons of ties for my tie collection. And, I mean, everybody likes plushies, right? What else are you supposed to sleep with at night?

Parer doll surrounded by outfits
Jaden and Bekki would like to be paper dolls like Jupiter Storm

Bekki: Jaden , will you go and play for a minute, please.  I am going to talk to someone.  Bekki is asking Jaden’s author, Marti Dumas,  why she wrote a book.

Marti: I write stories about Jaden Toussaint, a character modelled on my own son when he was 5, because I couldn’t find books about kids who loved school and loved learning–let alone brown kids who loved school and learning–that were also fun.

diagram of a boy's brain
Look inside Jaden Toussaint’s brain

I try to make the stories something that my own children and their friends enjoy and can relate to. Something where they can see their best selves reflected, including that your best self isn’t always perfect.

Bekki: Will you be writing more books?

Marti: Jaden Toussaint is the star of five chapter books so far, with a bonus book about the scientific method in the works for this summer. We’re kicking around ideas for a 6th book and, funnily enough, the main idea right now involves a babysitter! 🙂

Bekki: That’s super.  My babysitters love me!  [This is not completely true!] It has been splendid talking to you, Jaden.  Can we be friends?

Jaden: Definitely! Do you play toranpu?

End of Interview – Playtime!

***********

First things first – let’s have a Cool Kid Brain Dance Party!!  

drawings of little boy doing ninja dance moves
Are you ready to dance like a ninja???

Let’s do the Monkey, Paint the Fence, cool wave, warrior, ninja on tiptoe, robot, crane, mantis.  Listen to Jaden’s cousin rapping.  Do what she suggests!!!

A boy dressed as the book character Jaden Toussaint holds a copy of the Jaden Toussaint book by author Marti Dumas.
This Ghanaian Chinese American kid NAILED it on World Book Day.

Do you like dressing up as book characters on World Book Day?    This cool dude dressed up as Jaden from The Ladek Invasion.  There are many ways to dress as Jaden.

Covers of all five books about Jaden Toussaint The Greatest by Marti Dumas
Pick a look for World Book Day 2019

 

 

Beads and Braids Cute Surfer Girl stickers

Black girl with surfboard cartoon in front of a photo of a wave
Cute cartoon Surfer Girl – she is an activist!

It is a long story but I have been making stickers as well as merch.  The first two are up on Redbubble.  I am trying to help raise awareness of a #GoFundMe campaign called Welcome Wave to take asylum seeking Irish kids surfing.

The stickers are based on a few people.  One is Ruby from my book “A Fairy in the Family Again” and the other is an Afro-Irish activist called Kany Kazadi who I have blogged about before.  

Here is the first of the Cute Surfer Girl stickers.  

Sticker of a surfer girl stuck to a laptop
Ruby is a sticker on Redbubble!

And here she is in pink with a fabulous braid style invented just for her.

Afro-Irish girl with wetsuit and surf board wears her hair in multiple plaits with beads
Beads and Braids cute surfer girl in pink

 

STEM jobs for girls who love art – nanotechnology in clothing!

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.

 

 

 

Colouring book with Stem Lovin’ Baby-Sitters is on Amazon

African wax print pattern with cartoon of three schoolgirls
Get your crayons out

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.  

 

Afro-Irish football supporter uses braids to support her team!

Download Ruby and her braids colouring page here

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.

Congolese Irish woman with braids in the Mayo colours
Kany Kazadi is an AfroIrish woman who supports Mayo with her braids!

Pretty girl with long braids
You can do Ruby’s braids any colour under the sun!

Colour in the African princesses.

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.

Print and colour Jada Kai in her African Princess costume.

 

Fun and empowering colouring books with natural hair for black girls and boys

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.

Oh Boy! by Chiquanda Tilley

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.

The STEM Colouring and Activity Book by J.D. Wright

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.

Dream Big!  More than a Princess Colouring book by Stephanie Tabashneck

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 be  a 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!

Colour My Fro; A Natural Hair Coloring book for Big Hair Lovers of all Ages  by Crystal Swain Bates

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.

The Colorful Adventures of Cody & Jay: A Coloring and Activity Book by Crystal Swain Bates 

I was complaining about the shortage of books for boys and author Crystal Swain Bates drew my attention to this fun filled 40 pager.

Cody and Jay are two lads who  love to have fun.  The book has activity pages, drawings to complete and a positive celebratory attitude.  Spaceships and cars feature.

Swift Walker: World Geography Coloring Book: Coloring Books for Kids by Norma Andriani Eka Putri and Verlyn Tarlton

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.

 

Write On Girl : A Fun Guided journal for teen girls by Jillian D Bradfield

I have been watching this one on instagram for a while as the author jilleybeanbooks showed 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 having  drawings 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.

The STEM Lovin Baby-Sitters by Avril O’Reilly

The characters from my book A Fairy in the Family Again have their own colouring book.  The book was developed in London.  It shows Jada-Kai, Keysha and Ruby as totally cool baby-sitters.  The idea is that the child colouring the book is learning from these kind-hearted big girls about what big kids love to do. Those things include science, baby-sitting and black hair.

African wax print pattern with cartoon of three schoolgirls
Get your crayons out

Girls will get to colour in pages with science, geckos, hairstyles, braids, unicorns, natural hair and even an African Princess Fancy Dress Party.

Back Homehttp://www.avriloreilly.com/

Bekki the Fairy talks to Obi and Titi

Bekki the Fairy meets Obi and Titi

Headshots little girl fairy and a boy and girl.

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!

Girl in pilot uniform
Anyone here who can’t fly?

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?

Nigerian girl in a patterned mini dress

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!

A Nigerian girl and boy with their arms crossed like characters from the movie Black Panther
Marvel-ous!

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!

Nigerian boy and girl standing in a forest of lush palm trees - a monkey is hiding in the corner.
Adventure happens whether or not Obi and Titi want 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!

Five book covers are shown with a blank space for a sixth book.
Dive in!

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?

A patterned card with a Nigerian boy running towards the viewer

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.

Book cover laid flat showing front and back. A boy and girl raise their firsts while a monkey watches them.
Book 6 is nearly ready!

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.

Obi: Boring.

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.

ENDS