A tweet on May 1st, 2016 as an answer to Maritza M. Mejia, #LuzDelMes http://www.luzdelmes.com/ldm.php?ldm=books is the reason for becoming a reviewer for Multicultural Children’s Book Day, at first place! Three years later I am the Global Co-Host for Greece, https://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/about/co-hosts/ and that’s an honor!
Celebrating Multicultural Children’s Book Day is an awesome way to connect people from all over the world and I am really happy to know so many wonderful #Greekwriters. I was so curious to trace Elisavet Arkolaki and talk with her, and here I am reviewing her unique book “Where am I from?”I hope you enjoy this beautiful book and get inspired as I did! You may consider my review long but believe me, the Artist, Platon Mortis, Platonas-Πλατων https://www.facebook.com/platon1997/, as well as Elisavet Arkolaki, have done an exceptional work!
Book Title: Where am I from? – World’s 1st graffiti illustrated picture book for children, in the making! Crafted for children roughly from 3 to 8 years old artist Platon Mortis, Platonas-ΠλατωνAuthor Elisavet Arkolaki, Malta MumPublisher Joanne Micallef, Faraxa Publishing:
The book I am reviewing this year is the very first graffiti illustrated book for children and it will be published in the summer of 2019! When Maria Kamoulakou referred to Elisavet Arkolaki, the Greek young woman who had this brilliant book project idea, I got smitten and I knew I had to find more about her.
Elisavet (aka Liza) had the idea of writing a story that gives a universal answer to the burning question “Where am I from?”, and to combine it with street art illustrations. The story portrays children from different racial backgrounds, living in countries from all six inhabited continents. The children gather together and try to find a universal answer to the burning question Where am I from? an answer which isn’t true just for them but true for everyone. The writer launched a Kickstarter campaign in July 2018 to bring this book to life and they raised about 10,700 euro. In fact, all the book characters will be painted based on real children, a mum, and a baby from the backers themselves who commissioned the art, and all except one are of mixed cultural backgrounds. How cool is that?
The writer, a real traveler of the world, living in Thailand while this review is written for the European winter months, she has experienced herself multicultural societies and their cultural identities. She has lived and worked in 6 different countries while also spending a good amount of time traveling. How did she choose which countries and how many to include in her book? Here is the answer Elisavet gave me:
“Where am I from? is a fairytale for young children so I’ve kept it short and sweet. I chose countries from all 6 inhabited continents. The choice was made based on countries that are dear to me like Malta and Norway where my children have been born, countries where friends of mine have been born or live in like Venezuela and Nigeria, and others like China that I would love to visit one day. I felt the words would flow nicely within the story with this choice of countries and that the graffiti art would be captivating.
Australia is where the seed for this story got planted. Many years back Roy, my husband, and I were backpacking and while in Australia, during a bus ride, I was listening to a local radio station. A journalist was asking tourists from where do they come from. I heard all sorts of cities and countries until he approached a mum and her young boy. He asked the boy ‘So, where do you come from?’. The boy replied the obvious, ‘I come from my mum’s belly’. It must have been in the autumn of 2009. I never forgot that phrase. What I obviously didn’t know back then was that I would use it in the future as a starting point to develop a children’s story.”
Elisavet writes about the children of this world spreading a message of Unity and Solidarity. What appears as a simple question, “Where Am I from?”, can be quite complex for someone of a mixed cultural background. As the young child reads the book, a feeling of unity and harmony comes together, leaving a sense of connection. The book’s message is so powerful. Just try to think of how many kids from various countries use their country’s cultural bond to show their Uniqueness and Similarity at the same time! This World of ours is so much in need of our Children to feel the Love and Acceptance of Diversity, our Oneness, so that Communities and Countries tie better together with their common pursuits, and raise the future Citizens of the World. Whatever the distance and the miles, one thing remains the same and children find that out after reading Elisavet’s beautiful writing. They know they are the piece of a Thread connecting and keeping the Globe’s Kids together. This is what I like the most, the idea of being together and feeling accepted of who we are no matter our country(ies) of origin.
This book deserves every praise. Elisavet, not only did she run a successful Kickstarter campaign (you can read more here about what has been achieved so far, like securing funding and being endorsed by 3 public sector institutions, one in Norway and two in Malta) but she literally wrote one more book, the essential guide ‘How to Raise Confident Multicultural Children’ with full chapter contributions from professors, psychologists and experts in the field, which was given as a free gift to our community during her Kickstarter campaign. https://www.kickstarter.com/…/where-am-i-from-worlds-1st-st…
She also had the fantastic idea of collaborating with a graffiti artist, Platon https://www.facebook.com/platon1997/ who makes use of his street art to share messages with the world, painting his murals mainly in Athens, Greece. In this case, a European capital city will host in her walls and will embrace a children’s book with a universal message of peace, unity, and acceptance, hoping to make a lasting impression in people’s minds.
End of May 2019 – Platon will complete all murals.
End of July 2019 – the book production will be finalized.
August 2019 – the book will be printed, mailed to the Kickstarter backers, an official book launch in MaltaI would also like to share with you some of Elisavet’s words that really hit an emotional chord in me:
“Words and paintings are the physical expressions of ideas. Art is what makes us human and being human is a political act itself. Street art, in particular, is a tool for asking the difficult questions and expressing concerns on crucial matters for the society which is on par with the story. ‘Where am I from?’ brings home the concept that we are more alike than we are different. What better way than a picture book with a universal theme and positive message, packed with lovely street art, to introduce such concepts to our young ones?”
As for the artist, Platon’s belief is that: ‘A work of Art is found between the sound and silence, the endless possibilities a palette offers (sound) and the free disposal of an empty wall (silence). In every essence, a work of Art constitutes an Action through which and by which sound and silence help speech to crystalize.’
Exclusive offer only available with Where am I from? pre-orders:● 1 Hardcopy + 3 ebooks:● How to Raise Confident Multicultural Children, a 40 pages guide written with the input of professors, psychologists, and experts in the field,● The Magical Land of Sunny, a short story, and● Filling the Parcel, a short story.
The eBooks will be sent to you shortly after you preorder Where am I from? here: https://bit.ly/2ATXBAn
Join the Facebook group ‘Elisavet Arkolaki’s Behind The Book Club’ to follow this book’s journey.
Here are some great diversity and tolerance quotes for kids:
“In diversity there is beauty and there is the strength.” – Maya Angelou “Diversity is the one true thing we all have in common. Celebrate it every day.” – Anonymous
“Different is beautiful –The Happy Soul Projecto Difference is of the essence of humanity.”
“Difference is an accident of birth and it should therefore never be the source of hatred or conflict. The answer to difference is to respect it. Therein lies a most fundamental principle of peace: respect for diversity.” John Hume
“Peace is not unity in similarity but unity in diversity, in the comparison and conciliation of differences.” – Mikhail Gorbachev
“The love of one’s country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border?” – Pablo Casalso
“We are of course a nation of differences. Those differences don’t make us weak. They’re the source of our strength.” – Jimmy Cartero
“When I see you through my eyes, I think that we are different. When I see you through my heart, I know we are the same.” – Doe Zantamatao
“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?” – Henry David Thoreauo
“United we stand, divided we fall.” – Aesop (620 -560 B.C.)
“We may have different religions, different languages, different colored skin, but we all belong to one human race.” – Kofi Annan
“The greater the diversity, the greater the perfection.” – Thomas Berry
“We have become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.” – Jimmy Carter
“We all live with the objective of being happy: our lives are all different and yet the same.” – Anne Frank
“Religions are many and diverse, but reason and goodness are one.” – Elbert Hubbard
“The things that we share in our world are far more valuable than those which divide us.” – Donald Williams
http://www.inspiremykids.com/…/great-quotes-kids-diversity…/Articles worth reading and sharing in order to further promote cross-cultural understanding!
https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/…/how_students_benefit_fro…Various programs to familiarize with diversity and have families interconnected with it as well as their childrenhttps://www.parenttoolkit.com/…/teaching-kids-ages-5-8-to-r…
● Cultural diversity and children’s wellbeinghttps://www.kidsmatter.edu.au/…/why-culture-matters-childre…http://www.aldenhabacon.com/13-tips-how-to-talk-to-childre…/“I see friends shaking hands, saying how do you do. But they’re really saying I love you”
Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019 (1/25/19) is in its 6th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents, and educators.
MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on boardMedallion Level Sponsors Honorary: Children’s Book Council, The Junior Library Guild, TheConsciousKid.org. Super Platinum: Make A Way Media GOLD: Bharat Babies, Candlewick Press, Chickasaw Press, Juan Guerra and The Little Doctor / El doctorcito, KidLitTV, Lerner Publishing Group, Plum Street Press, SILVER: Capstone Publishing, Carole P. Roman, Author Charlotte Riggle, Huda Essa, The Pack-n-Go Girls, BRONZE: Charlesbridge Publishing, Judy Dodge Cummings, Author Gwen Jackson, Kitaab World, Language Lizard – Bilingual & Multicultural Resources in 50+ Languages, Lee & Low Books, Miranda Paul and Baptiste Paul,Redfin, Author Gayle H. Swift, T.A. Debonis-Monkey King’s Daughter, TimTimTom Books, Lin Thomas, Sleeping Bear Press/Dow Phumiruk, Vivian Kirkfield,
MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Author Sponsors on boardHonorary: Julie Flett, Mehrdokht Amini, Author Janet Balletta, Author Kathleen Burkinshaw, Author Josh Funk, Chitra Soundar, One Globe Kids – Friendship Stories, Sociosights Press and Almost a Minyan, Karen Leggett, Author Eugenia Chu, CultureGroove Books, Phelicia Lang and Me On The Page, L.L. Walters, Author Sarah Stevenson, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Hayley Barrett, Sonia Panigrah, Author Carolyn Wilhelm,Alva Sachs and Dancing Dreidels, Author Susan Bernardo, Milind Makwana andA Day in the Life of a Hindu Kid, Tara Williams, Veronica Appleton, Author Crystal Bowe, Dr. Claudia May, Author/Illustrator Aram Kim, Author Sandra L. Richards, Erin Dealey, Author Sanya Whittaker Gragg, Author Elsa Takaoka, Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo, Anita Badhwar, Author Sylvia Liu, Feyi Fay Adventures, Author Ann Morris, Author Jacqueline Jules, CeCe & Roxy Books, Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace, LEUYEN PHAM, Padma Venkatraman, Patricia Newman and Lightswitch Learning, Shoumi Sen, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing,Traci Sorell, Shereen Rahming, Blythe Stanfel, Christina Matula, Julie Rubini, Paula Chase, Erin Twamley, Afsaneh Moradian, Claudia Schwam, Lori DeMonia, Terri Birnbaum/ RealGirls Revolution, Soulful Sydney, Queen Girls Publications, LLC 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 works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE. Co-Hosts and Global Co-HostsA Crafty Arab, Agatha Rodi Books, All Done Monkey, Barefoot Mommy, Biracial Bookworms,Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms Share, Colours of Us, Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, Descendant of Poseidon Reads, Educators Spin on it, Growing Book by Book, Here Wee Read,Joy Sun Bear/ Shearin Lee, Jump Into a Book, Imagination Soup, Jenny Ward’s Class, Kid World Citizen, Kristi’s Book Nook, The Logonauts, Mama Smiles, Miss Panda Chinese, Multicultural Kid Blogs, Raising Race Conscious Children, Shoumi Sen, Spanish Playground
TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Make A Way Media!MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/25/19 at 9:00pm.E.S.T. TONS of prizes and book bundles will be given away during the party.
GO HERE for more details.
FREE RESOURCES From MCBD Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: https://wp.me/P5tVud-1H Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians, and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teacher-classroom…/
Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.
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