Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Multicultural Children's Book Day - Abuela's Weave Review And Craft #ReadYourWorld

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I am really proud to be part of the Multicultural Children's Book Day event this year. As part of the blogging team our family received a fantastic book from Lee and Low Books to review. Our review is below along with a fun craft activity can be found below, but first let me tell you more about this event, the sponsors and the cohosts.

What is Multicultural Children's Book Day?
Mission: 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, Mia and Valarie are on a mission to change all of that. Their mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these types of books into classrooms and libraries. Another goal of this exciting event is create a compilation of books and  favorite reads that will provide not only a new reading list for the winter, but also a way to expose brilliant books to families, teachers, and libraries.

“MCCBD team hopes to spread the word and raise awareness about the importance of diversity in children’s literature. Our young readers need to see themselves within the pages of a book and experience other cultures, languages, traditions and religions within the pages of a book. We encourage readers, parents, teachers, caregivers and librarians to follow along the fun book reviews, author visits, event details, a multicultural children’s book linky and via our hashtag (#ReadYourWorld) on Twitter and other social media.”

The co-creators of this unique event are Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom and Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book/Audrey Press. You can find a bio for Mia and Valarie here.

MCCBD’s  2015 sponsors include:

MCCBD's cohosts include:

First Book:
MCCBD also partnering with First Book to offer a Virtual Book Drive that will help donate multicultural children’s books through their channels during the week of the event. We want to help get diversity books into the hands of kids who most need it and now we have a way to do it! The Virtual Book Drive is LIVE and can be found here.

First Book and Multicultural Children's Book Day

Children’s Book Council:
MCCBD is collaborating with Children’s Book Council to highlight wonderful diversity books and authors on an ongoing basis all year.

Children's Book Council and Multicultural Children's Book Day

Join the party:
Join us for Multicultural Children's Book Day Twitter Party on Jan 27th 9:00pm EST. Use hashtag: #ReadYourWorld to win 10 book packages.

A moms review:
Lee and Low Books was kind enough to ask me if there was a specific topic I would like our review book to cover. Since we are currently preparing for our homeschool geography fair project I asked them if they had any books about Guatemala...and guess what they did!  The book we received was called Abuela's Weave.

This award winning book was written by Omar S. CasteƱeda and illustrated by Enrique O. Sanchez. The book is 15 pages and geared towards children in grades 1st-4th.

The story is about a grandmother and her granddaughter Esperanza. In the beginning of the story Abuela teaches Esperanza the skill of weaving traditional Mayan tapestries which their family needs to sell at the market to earn money. But Esperanza is worried. She doesn't think their tapestries will sell as well as the machine made ones and she is worried that Abuela's birthmark will scare the customers away. The day comes when they must make the trip to the marketplace. Abuela and Esperanza set off for the city together but are careful to not let anyone know they are together. When they arrive at the city Esperanza looses sight of Abuela in the crowds and must face the city streets and buyers alone. But as Esperanza begins to hang up their weaving wears everything changes.

This story was absolutely beautiful and teaches important lessons in personal growth (identity, self esteem, confidence), family pride (grandparents, childhood experiences and memories), overcoming obstacles, Latino/Hispanic/Mexican culture, disability, conflict resolution, poverty, empathy/compassion and more.

The illustrations are bright and beautiful and do a great job of portraying authentic Guatemalan scenery.

The book will be proudly displayed in front of our display board for the geography fair, along with the craft we made below.

About the author
Omar S. CasteƱeda - (1954-1997) was born in Guatemala City and moved to the United States when he was a child. He was a teacher of creative writing at Western Washington University.   

About the illustrator 
Enrique O. Sanchez has illustrated numerous award winning children's books, including LEE & LOW'S Abuela's Weave, Amelia's Road, and Confetti. A native of the Dominican Republic, he splits his time between his homes in Bass Harbor, Maine and Miami, Florida.

Gwyn's (age 9) thoughts:
I liked it a lot. I felt sad for the grandmother because people thought she was a witch. I really like the end when Esperanza displays the special tapestry her and her grandmother made.

FREE resources for parents, teachers and librarians:
If you are looking for a way to further enhance this wonderful story you can grab this Mayan Culture Today lesson plan, by Dr. Steven W. Barrett in Social Studies and the Young Learner (2006) from the National Council for the Social Studies.

For more ideas on teaching indigenous Guatemalan culture and traditional weaving, check out the unit Weaving the Tapestry of Life by Elise Edwards, part of The Alma Project, a cultural curriculum infusion model by Denver Public Schools.

Weaving craft:


  • Burlap
  • Ribbon, string, fabric scraps


  1. Cut a piece of burlap to your desired size. Ours was about 6 x 14. 
  2. Carefully remove strings from the burlap to open up the lines for weaving, leave spaces in between. The width of the open space will depend on the width of your ribbon, strings, etc. I removed about 8-10 strings per section. I recommend an adult do this part because the burlap can start to unravel pretty quickly if you are not careful.
  3. Next have children practice their over/under weaving technique. on each open space. 
  4. To finish off the project hot glue each of the ribbon/string/fabric ends so they don't come out and so the burlap doesn't unravel.

Check out more hands-on weaving activities provided by The Incredible Art Department (IAD). 

Links to follow:
-Multicultural Children's Book Day Facebook
-Multicultural Children's Book Day Twitter
-Multicultural Children's Book Day Pinterest

Where to buy:
You can purchase Abuela's Weave on Amazon , the Lee and Low website or at your local bookstore for around $8.95 retail. 

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