The book that was gifted to me for Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2021 is Making Their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe(2020) It is written by Vivian Kirkfield and illustrated by Alleanna Harris sent from publisher Simon & Shuster. It is a children's book for ages 5 and up with a reading level of around 2nd-3rd grade. It is a lovely colorful fully illustrated 40 page book that illuminates a part of American entertainment history that is becoming less and less well known by each generation coming along.
This book talks a little bit about the lives of the two women before they became icons of American music and film. I, as an adult film nut who grew up, studied, and worked in Los Angeles entertainment sector, learned a lot of new things from this book. I didn't know Marilyn Monroe worked in an airplane factory for example but I did know she wanted to be respected for her intelligent mind that often got overlooked. I never dug that deep into her history even though I knew who she was and have seen some of her films. As a fan of music in general I have heard off Ella Fitzgerald and her music but I had no idea the two were friends and how they supported each other professionally. It is a fantastic book about two very interesting people. I would recommend this book for teaching both film and music along with American history and culture.
Younger people may not know much about them or their works now. It would be helpful to front-load(before reading the book) students by listening to Ella Fitzgerald's music like her version of It's Only a Paper Moon and Somewhere Over the Rainbow and show some of Marilyn Monroe's movies. Some Like It Hot(1959) would be a good movie to watch, plus it is really funny! Marilyn was so famous, contemporary art history students would learn about her through Andy Warhol who used her image to make art pieces that explored the subject of fame. When people learn about the history of Jazz, Ella Fitzgerald always comes up. Use this:
BONUS: 2nd book review
I was pleasantly surprised when later I received a mystery package in the mail from Houghton Mifflin Harcout Publishing. It was From Here to There: Inventions That Changed The Way The World Moves(2021), Vivian Kirkfield's latest book! It was just released last Wednesday! It is a 90+ page chapter book jam packed with illustrations by Gilbert Ford. Each of the 9 chapters covers different lesser known men and women that refined, modernized, and popularized transportation technology. It is an entertaining read with lots information and illustrations about what we take for granted everyday.
One of them is Rene Montague. She was a brilliant African American girl who had the interest and desire to study computers and engineering but was denied it for a long time because of US gender and racial barriers in the early days(1950-1960s). She was one of those game changing "Hidden Figures" that broke through them but textbooks and learning shows failed to bring to my attention when I was a kid. Stories like hers are important for both little boys and little girls to know what it takes to change how people look, see, think, and act.
One of the most common sentiments when the movie Hidden Figures(2016) was just released, was a sense of fury of role models and careers that were denied to women when they were impressionable girls. A lot of girls get the impression the math and science stuff is just too hard because of their gender so they never considered STEM careers. Also a lot of young women expressed regret at giving up on STEM education and careers when things got difficult and ugly. STEM or any other challenging career path is a hard fought birthright for girls and women around the world. If that is what you want, just know that it is within your abilities to take what is yours to have.
I am a proponent of arts and humanities education for the very reason that art, music, radio, writings, tv shows, and movies connects people to each other and wakens awareness of what each of us can be. These are well researched books with lots of reference material in the back for further learning for the curious. Its right up our alley with the drawing sheets I have here about old fashioned technology and their modernized forms. I recommend this book for boys and girls out there.
Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2021 (1/29/21) is in its 8th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those book into the hands of young readers and educators.
Eight years in, MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves continues. Read about our Mission & History HERE.
MCBD 2021 is honored to be Supported by these Medallion Sponsors!
Bronze Sponsors: Agatha Rodi and AMELIE is IMPRESSED!, Barnes Brothers Books, Create and Educate Solutions, LLC, Dreambuilt Books, Dyesha and Triesha McCants/McCants Squared, Redfin Real Estate, Snowflake Stories, Star Bright Books, TimTimTom Bilingual Personalized Books, Author Vivian Kirkfield, Wisdom Tales Press, My Well Read Child
MCBD 2021 is honored to be Supported by these Author Sponsors!
Poster Artist: Nat Iwata
Authors: Author Afsaneh Moradian, Author Alva Sachs & Three Wishes Publishing Company, Author Angeliki Stamatopoulou-Pedersen, Author Anna Olswanger, Author Casey Bell , Author Claudine Norden, Author Debbie Dadey, Author Diana Huang & Intrepids, Author Eugenia Chu & Brandon goes to Beijing, Green Kids Club, Author Gwen Jackson, Author Janet Balletta, Author Josh Funk, Author Julia Inserro, Karter Johnson & Popcorn and Books, Author Kathleen Burkinshaw & The Last Cherry Blossom, Author Keila Dawson, Maya/Neel Adventures with Culture Groove, Author Mia Wenjen, Michael Genhart, Nancy Tupper Ling, Author Natalie Murray, Natalie McDonald-Perkins, Author Natasha Yim, Author Phe Lang and Me On The Page Publishing, Sandra Elaine Scott, Author Shoumi Sen & From The Toddler Diaries, SISSY GOES TINY by Rebecca Flansburg and B.A. Norrgard, Susan Schaefer Bernardo & Illustrator Courtenay Fletcher, Tales of the Five Enchanted Mermaids, Author Theresa Mackiewicz, Tonya Duncan and the Sophie Washington Book Series, Author Toshia Stelivan, Valerie Williams-Sanchez & The Cocoa Kids Collection Books©, Author Vanessa Womack, MBA, Author Veronica Appleton & the Journey to Appleville book series
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FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day
TWITTER PARTY! Register here!
Join us on Friday, Jan 29, 2021, at 9 pm EST for the 8th annual Multicultural Children's Book Day Twitter Party!
This epically fun and fast-paced hour includes multicultural book discussions, addressing timely issues, diverse book recommendations, & reading ideas.
We will be giving away an 8-Book Bundle every 5 minutes plus Bonus Prizes as well! *** US and Global participants welcome. **
Follow the hashtag #ReadYourWorld to join the conversation, connect with like-minded parts, authors, publishers, educators, organizations, and librarians. See you all very soon on Twitter!
Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.
Online Class via Zoom
Class dates are 09/12/2020 - 12/05/2020 Saturdays 4:30 PM - 5:45 PM PDT
We will be using industry standard software of Adobe Animate(formerly known as Flash) to make our own cartoons. We will learn the software interface as we also practice basic art/animation/film principles. Students should be comfortable with drawing in general.
***Students need to have installed Adobe Animate(go for the student discount) in their own computers and have a digital drawing tablet.***
Day 1 Getting to Know the Program
We will start by getting used to the interface. We will practice making things and start experimenting with animation.
Day 2 Make and Animate Simple Cartoon Characters as we learn more about the program
Day 3 Run Cycles - Adding complexity to our animations by adding moving body parts
Day 4 Camera Tricks - We play with pan, zoom, tilt to add to scenes
Day 5 Backgrounds - Make interesting environments for our characters.
Day 6 Adding Sound
Day 7 Storyboard - Students share their ideas for the cartoon stories they want to make
Day 8 Tips, Tricks, and Troubleshoot - Ask for help on your projects
Day 9 Troubleshoot
Day 10 Student Show their Work
Online Class via Zoom
Dates: 09/12/2020 - 12/05/2020 Saturdays, 9:45 AM - 11:00 AM PDT
Shoe Box Theater is about giving students the experience of creating a show from start to finish. This class is recommended for students 4th grade and older who are comfortable with drawing already as we put those skills to use. Teacher will demonstrate, share ideas, and assist in any way.
Students need to bring:
1 shoebox or similar sized box to build a stage and store work.
Popsicle sticks, straws, disposable chopsticks, or any other kinds of sticks for paper puppets
Tape and glue
Pencil, pen, and eraser
Colored paper(For backgrounds)
Markers, crayons, color pencils, and/or watercolor kit(any kind) for making backgrounds
Day 1 Pre-Production: Brainstorming Session
We warm up by talking about stories, draw creatures, and share our ideas. Students can work in teams or by themselves depending on the size of the stories chosen.
Day 2 Pre-Production: Story Development and Character Design
As a class we make and share our paper puppets and develop and write out their stories
Day 3 Pre-Production: Story Development, Character and Set Design
We make and share puppets, write out stories, and start designing the backgrounds needed
Day 4 Production: Story Development, Character, Props, and Set Building
Students make the puppets, props, and environments as they continue to work out the stories they want to tell.
Day 5 Production: Story Development, Character, Props and Set Building
Work and discussion. Students make the puppets, props, and environments as they continue to work out the stories they want to tell.
Day 6 Production: Story Development, Character, Props, and Set Building
Day 7 Production: Story Development, Character, Props, and Set Building
Day 8 Production: Wrapping Things Up
Everything that needs to be made should be finished and the scripts done.
Day 9 Rehearsal: Student Show Practice Run
Will there be music, sound effects?
Day 10 Performance: Student Show
Class dates are 09/09/2020 - 12/02/2020 Wednesdays, 4:00 PM - 5:15 PM PDT
sign-up link ->
This is a small interactive dynamic class that teaches basic drawing skills as students work to craft their own visual stories. Along the way we will explore formats of publication from hand crafted books to online webtoons. Recommended for 2nd grade and up.
Day 1: Heroes and Villains
Finding your story can start with the characters you create. This session we will draw animals, people, and monsters.
Day 2: Magic
We continue learning to draw animals, people, and creatures along with magical elements like portals, and special effects like fire and explosions.
Day 3: Far Off Places
World building is an important part of storytelling. We will draw/design the background/environment. From mushroom houses to other planets.
Day 4: World Building Continues
Students will keep working on and sharing their ideas as we learn to draw objects/props for their story.
Day 5: Storyboards
We figure out our stories by figuring out how they should be drawn. Teacher will continue to assist in any way with the projects.
Day 6: Handmade Books
With stories completed or near completion, students will explore the many different ways to turn their drawings into books.
Day 7: Printed Books
As students keep working, we talk about, and explore the many different ways to actually publish a physical book through online resources.
Day 8: Webtoons
Students will continue to work as we talk about building an audience by publishing their own series of cartoons.
Day 9: Students should have a finished product ready to be shared and released out into the world by this day.
Day 10: Marketing and Advertisement
Learn how to hustle your work. Get people to look at it!
Here is the link to the page:
Every year, every semester my students surprise me with excellent drawings. Many of them are too young to have a social media account but many of them are ready to start sharing their work with the big scary world.
Why share the drawings? When we post our art for the world to see, we share a little bit of ourselves. We share our energy, our passions, our fears, our demons. You are participating in the conversation that we call our collective cultures.
Be proud of what you have all accomplished. Keep going!