Book Party: JINGLE DANCER 10th Year Anniversary!


we’re having another book party! I’m excited to introduce you to JINGLE DANCER (who am I kidding? You know about it already!) and to celebrate its tenth year anniversary with you.

Jingle Dancer is a picture book written by author extraordinaire Cynthia Leitich Smith, illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu, and published in April 2000 by Morrow Junior Books (links to books from same publisher), a division of HarperCollins Publishers.

Jingle Dancer is special on many levels, which is why I like the book so much.

First its content. On the top of your head, how many picture books with a Native American character could you name? And how many show Black Indians? 😀 => Me loving the diversity within. The story is a celebration of one’s cultural heritage in modern days, a culture that is not necessarily “mainstream” yet is essential to America’s diverse and complex identity.

The story takes us behind the scene of a little girl prepping for Powwow, from clothing to learning dance steps. I enjoyed how all these elements were integrated in her daily life.

What I also delighted in was the depiction of the love and relationship between three generations: The grand-mother, the aunt and the little girl, Jenna. We are used in picture books to seeing a focus on either one, i.e grand-parents & kid, parent(s) & kid, but not all at once.

Last but not least, the illustrations add to the richness of the story. If I were to read Jingle Dancer with kids, I would have them look at the images and tell me the story. Only after would I read the text with them. I would see if they notice some the details that went into it, not only how the colors complement the story, but also the elements portrayed (clothes, food, jewels, dream catcher, etc…) and the body language.

If you haven’t read Jingle Dancer‘s yet, I hope that you will check it out at your local library or better yet, buy it to expand the cultural knowledge of the kids in your life.

Jingle Dancer also happens to be bestselling author Cynthia Leitich Smith first book! In honor of her hard work, her continuous contribution to cultural diversity in children’s literature and the inspiration she is to fellow writers and to readers, a copy of Jingle Dancer will be donated to a school of your choice.

Readers of the blog (or not, just let yourself known) also have the opportunity to win a copy: simply email me at nathalie(dot)mvondo (at) yahoo(dot)com, and write JINGLE DANCER in the subject line. You will be entered in a drawing.

The recipients (reader and school) of the giveaway will be announced on Friday May 28, 2010.

To learn more about Jingle Dancer‘s and Cynthia’s road to publication, please read her conversation with the illustrators and her editor on her blog Cynsations!

To learn more about the Muskogee Nation -Jenna’s tribe, for resources to engage in a lively conversation with children (questions, music, teaching guides, the illustrators interview…) and to try at home the delicious bread recipe, check Jingle Dancer’s curriculum guide.

As usual, thank you for your passion for multicultural books; You rock!

Congratulations to Cynthia Leitich Smith, Cornelius Van Wright and Yung-Hwa Hu for this milestone.

Disclaimer:Thank you to Morrow Junior Books for graciously sending a copy of Jingle Dancer.

Update May 21, 2010 @ 2:14 AM to add Jingle Dancer’s curriculum guide.

Let’s The Party Begin: The Lion & The Mouse, by Jerry Pinkney!

Hello, everyone! 🙂

I’m very excited to write this post, because today marks the beginning of something special: MR celebration party of the ALA Youth Media Winners!

As written in Multiculturalism Rocks! brief introduction, the blog celebrates multicultural books and the people who make it happen. Any award won by a multicultural book is therefore a cause of great joy! MR will celebrate all the winners one book at the time, throughout the year. So stop by anytime, you never know if you’ll stumble upon a party!

And without further ado, let’s open the celebration with a version of an Aesop Tale, winner of the Caldecott Medal (most distinguished American picture book for children):

THE LION & THE MOUSE, by award wining author and illustrator Jerry Pinkney.

Here is a review by Elizabeth Bird, available on the School Library Journal website.

Click here for an interview of Jerry Pinkney with Sally Lodge, of Publishers Weekly.

In some countries, like in Cameroon–Africa, a party generally lasts days (yep, you read well. Days of dancing, and singing, and eating together and being happy). Guess what we’re going to do here? 😀

When does the party start?

7 days, until Feb. 1 included.

What can I bring?
Your happy self! 🙂

How do we proceed?
It’s simple. Have you read the book? Share your favorite moments, i.e. the joy it brought, the questions it raised…In summary, let us know why you like it! If you haven’t yet, check it as soon as possible in local bookstore or library! 🙂

Ready? You get to make a difference in a child’s life, especially in a child in crisis. For every 5 comments left on this Celebration page, a new copy of the Lion & the Mouse will be donated to a literacy program for children. Only one entry per person will be taken into account. All the copies will go to the same organization.

The Recipients
The books will be donated to the Multicultural Writers Guild, Inc (MWG), for inner city schools in the South Bronx, in New York. Here’s a statement from MWG’s website:

“Multicultural Writers Guild, Incorporated (MWG, Inc.) was founded in 2001. MWG, Inc. is a literary arts & entertainment organization whose primary focus is to promote literacy among economically disadvantaged communities.”

In addition, Multiculturalism Rocks! will make a donation to Libraries Without Borders, a non-profit helping build libraries, and already established schools and libraries in New Orleans, Haiti, and in developing nations affected by natural disasters. The organization is currently focused on helping not only the victims in Haiti, but on making sure that Haiti cultural legacy makes it through the tragedy that hit the island. Please visit their website:

You already know this, but I’ll say it nevertheless: every time you comment on a blog focused on books about POC (people of color), you make a difference. You do not only encourage the blogger, but most importantly you show your support to writers of color and their work, and to all authors who feature POC in their art or writing. So be vocal. Visit the sites listed in the blog roll. Your comments matter and make a difference. 🙂

I’m looking for an acronym for this event. CAWMCB–Celebration of Award Winning Multi-Cultural Books doesn’t seem right, does it? In addition to following the above guidelines, the reader coming up with the best acronym will receive a ‘surprise’ copy of one of Mr. Pinkney’s books! The acronym will be used to create a banner for Multiculturalism Rocks! celebrations event.

Now, let’s the party begin! Check the Lion and the Mouse at your local bookstore or library if you haven’t read it yet, and come back to comment!:D

Have a wonderful week,

Note: Libraries Without Borders was found thanks to the ALA’s page on books donation programs.
Updated 01/27/2010 to add info about the Recipients.

Update 02/13/2010: 3 books have been donated to Libraries Without Borders. To read more about the outcome of the celebration, click here! 🙂