We were thankfully invited to review 3 lovely books for Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/17). Today’s review will be about the beautifully illustrated book:

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 We are America: A Tribute from the Heart written by Walter Dean Myers and Illustrated by Christopher Myers.

(Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that I have recommended. While clicking these links won’t cost you any extra money, they will help me keep this site up and running. I also received this book for free in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. Please check out our disclosure policy for more details. Thank you for your support! )

First for some basics about the book itself… it is a beautiful picture paperback book (it also can be purchased as a hardcover). It is listed as being for age range of 6-10 yrs and grades 1-5, but honestly it is also a lovely book for adults. It has 40 pages, and is published by HarperCollins Publishers and is written in English. It was written by Walter Dean Myers and illustrated by his son Christopher Myers.

Accompanying the book was an Audio reading of the writings. It was produced by Live Oak Media by arrangement with HarperCollins Children’s Books, a division of HarperCollins Publishers. Playing time is 33:51. It not only is audio of the readings, but also the title and credits all the way to the art notes at the end of the book. This is a great option for those with visual impairments to be able to experience this moving piece of work. There are 9 narrators, including Walter Dean Myers himself and his son Christopher Myers as well as additional narration by 3 additional people.

The author Walter Dean Myers passed away at the age of 76 on July 1st, 2014. An excerpt from his About Page on his website WalterDeanMyer.net states:

“Walter Dean Myers won the Council on Interracial Books for Children contest in 1969, which resulted in the publication of his first book, Where Does the Day Go? Since then, he has won more awards than any author for young adults, and is one of the most prolific writers, with more than 110 books to his credit.

He is the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults. He has won the Coretta Scott King Award five times and received two Newbery Honors. His book, Monster, was the first winner of the Michael L. Printz Award, a National Book Award Finalist, and a New York Times Bestseller. He delivered the 2009 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture, a distinction reserved for an individual who has made significant contributions to the field of children’s literature. Most recently, he served as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, a post appointed by the Library of Congress.”

When I received this book I was not aware of the incredible life and history this man lived. You can see that when you read through, or listen to, this beautiful story of America’s history. It was written after the author was inspired by the horrific events on September 11th, 2001 and the aftermath we experienced in America. He teamed up with his son Christopher Myers to illustrate his story.

We Are America  is a collection of short poems, statements, and quotes accompanied by colorful, panoramic paintings illustrating the varied history that America has experienced. It ranges from the Native American’s before Christopher Columbus came to America, all the way until the tensions we experienced after 9/11. It covers the multiracial and multicultural history of America.

Walter Dean Myers passed away before having to experience the current state of unrest we are experiencing in America, but it seems to be so incredibly relevant to what we are going through in politics right now. So many bold and beautiful statements Mr. Myers made resonated deep within me while we struggle with the policies and ideologies that President Donald J. Trump has pushed. One that really stood out to me was this short, but poignant statement:

“We are America

The Land of the free

Wealthy beyond belief

             and not wealthy

The land of equal opportunity

             and not equal

The land of justice

            and injustice “

I truly was moved by many of the points in history his book highlighted and had a visceral reaction when I thought about how great America was, is, and will be. We are founded on revolution and resistance against tyranny and other negative powers.

America is Great…

…. but we can improve! The current power seems to be moving in a direction away from what America was founded on and that is scary but this stunning book reminded me that we have possibility, we have hope, we have America.

“We were Irish muscle and Polish Pride

Germans and Italians

Africans and Chinese

Mexican and English

We spoke a hundred languages

We were laborers building the hugeness

           the fantasy that was

The United States of America”

We were asked to include an activity as part of the review. My activity is to ask you to get involved. Find out what the policies are, reach out to the government and your policy makers and let them hear your voice!

Luckily I was chosen as one of the few to have the honor to review this book. This picture book reminded me, during a time that was very much needed, that America has struggled with so much and we have grown and have possibilities. It reminded me to keep fighting for what is right.. and what is American.

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We Are America: A Tribute from the Heart is a book that you should definitely check out. The striking imagery combined with the poignant words are incredibly relevant in our current day and age. You can find it on Amazon , at HarperCollins Childrens, featured on TheMixedShop as well as other outlets.

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Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/17) is its fourth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness on the ongoing need to include kid’s 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.

Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team are on a mission to change all of that.

Current Sponsors:  MCBD 2017 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. Platinum Sponsors include ScholasticBarefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. RomanAudrey Press, Candlewick Press,  Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTVCapstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa, Author Gayle SwiftWisdom Tales PressLee& Low BooksThe Pack-n-Go GirlsLive Oak MediaAuthor Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books

Author Sponsor include: Karen Leggett AbourayaVeronica AppletonSusan Bernardo, Kathleen BurkinshawMaria DismondyD.G. DriverGeoff Griffin Savannah HendricksStephen HodgesCarmen Bernier-Grand,Vahid ImaniGwen Jackson Hena, Kahn, David Kelly, Mariana LlanosNatasha Moulton-LevyTeddy O’MalleyStacy McAnulty,  Cerece MurphyMiranda PaulAnnette PimentelGreg RansomSandra Richards, Elsa TakaokaGraciela Tiscareño-Sato,  Sarah Stevenson, Monica Mathis-Stowe SmartChoiceNation, Andrea Y. Wang

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 work tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

MCBD Links to remember:

MCBD site: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta

Free Kindness Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teachers-classroom-kindness-kit/

Free Diversity Book Lists and Activities for Teachers and Parents: http://bit.ly/1sZ5s8i

Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use their official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

– Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/MulticulturalChildrensBookDay

– Twitter https://twitter.com/MCChildsBookDay

Hope you enjoy!

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