Celebrate Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Posted January 28, 2022 by Richetta in Book Reviews, Children's Books / 3 Comments

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I received this book for free from Candlewick Press in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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Celebrate Multicultural Children’s Book DayWhen We Say Black Lives Matter by Maxine Beneba Clarke
Illustrator: Maxine Beneba Clarke
Published by Candlewick Press on September 14, 2021
Genres: Juvenile Fiction / Diversity & Multicultural, Juvenile Fiction / Family / Parents, Juvenile Fiction / Social Themes / Prejudice & Racism
Pages: 32
Format: Hardcover
Source: Candlewick Press
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bookshop

In a powerful, poetic missive, award-winning author-illustrator Maxine Beneba Clarke celebrates the meaning behind the words Black Lives Matter.

Little one, when we say Black Lives Matter,
we’re saying Black people are wonderful-strong.
That we deserve to be treated with basic respect,
and that history’s done us wrong. . . .

Darling, when we sing that Black Lives Matter,
and we’re dancing through the streets,
we’re saying: fear will not destroy our joy,
defiance in our feet.

In this joyful exploration of the Black Lives Matter motto, a loving narrator relays to a young Black child the strength and resonance behind the words. In family life, through school and beyond, the refrains echo and gain in power, among vignettes of protests and scenes of ancestors creating music on djembe drums. With deeply saturated illustrations rendered in jewel tones, Maxine Beneba Clarke offers a gorgeous, moving, and essential picture book.

I had the opportunity to join in the fun celebrating the 2022 Multicultural Children’s Day (Jan. 28, 2022) and I am so excited to share with your my review for the book that I was matched with for the celebration. I was matched with When We Say Black Lives Matter by Maxine Beneba Clarke. Clarke is an award-winning Australian writer and slam poet champion of Afro-Caribbean descent.


This is a children’s book that features thought-provoking poetry and beautiful illustrations. Through the words of parents to a child, the book explains what Black Lives Matter means to the parents and what they are conveying when they use that phrase. It’s one generation explaining to another how they are continuing the fight for freedom, respect and peace. This book does an awesome job of conveying the thoughts and emotions attached to the phrase Black Lives Matter for Black people.

“That we deserve to be treated with basic respect and that history’s done us wrong.”

This book balances the pain with the joy involved in the Black Lives Matter movement. “Darling, when we sing that Black Lives Matter, and we’re dancing through the streets, we’re saying: fear will not destroy our joy, defiance in our feet.” I loved the different verbs used by the parents when talking about the different ways they are expressing themselves. The authors uses the words: say, call, scream, sing, whisper, sob, bellow, smile, laugh, know to illustrate the many different emotions attached to the fight for Black Lives Matter. This is a wonderful book for children and parents to read together.


I loved the illustrations in this book. The inside cover is a beautiful illustration of a stained glass window featuring a Black Lives Matter protest. The drawings are simple but powerful, conveying a range of emotions that are reflected in the poetry. The simplicity also invites anyone reading it to see themselves in the images.

Educator’s Recommendation

This is a great opportunity to explore the Black Lives Matter movement with children. This book covers heavy emotions, like the dangers Black people face on a daily basis because of racism, and it also covers the joy that is embedded in the movement and living life. I mentioned above that the author uses lots of different verbs everytime she begins a new sentence about Black Lives Matter. I would explore those choices more in-depth with students and explore how nothing is one-dimensional, even if one group tries to characterize it as such. What are the parents conveying to their child every time they use a new verb in the phrase, When we ________ Black Lives Matter? It’s also a great opportunity to discuss human rights, humanity, joy in living, finding joy when you are surrounded by pain.

Learn More

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2022 (1/28/22) is in its 9th 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 books into the hands of young readers and educators.

MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves. Read about our Mission & History HERE.

MCBD 2022 is honored to be Supported by these Medallion Sponsors!


PLATINUM: Language Lizard

GOLD: Barefoot Books, KidLitTV, Candlewick, Capstone, Abrams Books

SILVER: Pack-n-Go Girls, Charlotte Riggle, Kimberly Gordon Biddle  

BRONZE: Carole P. Roman, Patrice McLaurin, Dyesha and Triesha McCants/McCants Squared, Redfin.com, Redfin Canada, Redfin Mortgage, Redfin/Title Forward, Create & Educate, Star Bright Books, Vivian Kirkfield, Dr. Eleanor Wint, Kind World Publishing, Snowflake Stories, Lisa Wee, SONGJU MA, Melissa Stoller, J.C. Kato and J.C.², Crystel Patterson, Audrey Press, Pragmaticmom, TimTimTom, Wisdom Tales 

MCBD 2022 is honored to be Supported by these Author Sponsors!

Charlene Mosley (official MCBD2022 Poster Creator)
Illustrator Isabelle Roxas (Class Kit Poster Creator)

Alva Sachs, Brianna Carter, Ebony Zay Zay, Rita Bhandari, Gwen Jackson, Lois Petren/The 5 Enchanted Mermaids, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Josh Funk, Afsaneh Moradian, Eugenia Chu, Maritza Martínez Mejía, Diana Huang, Kathleen Burkinshaw, CultureGroove, Sandra Elaine Scott, Dorena Williamson, Veronica Appleton, Alejandra Domenzain, Lauren Muskovitz and Sandfish Publishing, Tonya Duncan Ellis, Kimberly Lee, Susan Schaefer Bernardo & Illustrator Courtenay Fletcher, Nancy Tupper Ling, Winsome Hudson-Bingham, Amanda Hsiung-Blodgett, Sivan Hong, Michael Genhart, Debbie Dadey, Elizabeth Cureton, Stephanie Wildman, Maryann Jacob, Sherri Maret, Rochelle Melander, Dia Mixon, Kiyanda and Benjamin Young, Shereen Rahming, Linda Thornburg and Katherine Archer,  Rebecca Flansburg and BA Norrgard , Maxine Schur  Natalie McDonald-Perkins

MCBD 2022 is Honored to be Supported by our CoHosts and Global CoHosts!

MCBD 2022 is Honored to be Supported by these Media Partners!

Check out MCBD’s Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board!

FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Join the Twitter Party

Join us on Friday, Jan 29, 2021, at 9 pm EST for the 8th annual Multicultural Children’s Book Day Twitter Party! Be sure and follow MCBD and Make A Way Media on Twitter!

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.

3 responses to “Celebrate Multicultural Children’s Book Day

  1. multiculturalchildrensbookday

    This books takes an abstract topic and makes it relatable to kids. It’s a book that belongs in every classroom. Thank you for sharing with Multicultural Children’s Book Day!

    Please join us tonight at 9 pm EST for our Twitter Party. We will be giving away book bundles every 5 minutes. Use #ReadYourWorld hashtag to find us.

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