The Little Doctor/El doctorcito Book Review for Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2018

LittleDoctor_edit-350x550.jpgI couldn’t wait to get the book, The Little Doctor/El doctorcito, to share with my K/1 class. This book is written by Juan J. Guerra, a doctor specializing in obstetrics and gynecology. The story recounts his experience as a young boy when he would help his grandmother navigate the healthcare system by translating at doctor visits. I was hopeful this book would connect to our yearlong social studies theme, Friendships & SchoolsWhen I read this story to my students, they immediately began to make great connections to past learnings. My students concluded that reading books, being literate, studying hard in college and medical school allowed for Salvador, the young boy in the book, to realize his dream of becoming a doctor.

However, during the repeated readings of the book, my little ones were put off by the gruff nature of the doctor who tends to Salvador’s grandmother. The kids made comments like, “He’s a mean doctor” or “I wouldn’t want my doctor to talk to me like that!” I followed up their comments with questions such as:

  • Why do you suppose the doctor is being insensitive?
  • Could he be the only doctor at this clinic?
  • Is the doctor stressed and overworked himself?

The students agreed that these could be plausible explanations. Still, it didn’t excuse being rude or insensitive to a patient. The students said they would expect their doctor to make them feel welcome and ask, “How are you feeling? How is your family? or How can I help you?” 

In the story, The Little Doctor/El doctorcito, Salvador’s family is from El Salvador. I shared that my mom is also from El Salvador. We learned some facts about the small Spanish speaking country in Central America and watched a short video about the day in the life of a little girl in El Salvador. We discussed the similarities and differences between our school and homes, and the one depicted in the video. The kids loved locating El Salvador on the globe. Then we added the book image to our ‘book map’ and they said, “Look at all the countries we’ve traveled to by reading books!”

book map.jpg

Moreover, our school is currently in the process of obtaining a Global Citizen Accredidation through the Council of International Schools. Our school community has been working hard to incorporate the various Global Citizen principles in units of study throughout the curriculum (ethics, diversity, global issues, communication, service, leadership and sustainable lifestyle). The topic of socio-economics came up during our book discussion. It was expressed that some families or communities with less resources might have to experience having such negative or insensitive situations in healthcare. Our first graders who studied Maslow last year said having quality healthcare was a basic need. Our little ones also made the connection that being literate and having access to quality schools benefits communities in general. When posed the question, “Why is literacy important?” many wonderful answers emerged.

literacy system map.jpg

Lastly we asked our little ones, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Using old shoeboxes, they creatively expressed their future goals. Thank you Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2018 and Juan J. Guerra for sending us this book. It was a great addition to our social studies unit.

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Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2018 (1/27/18) is in its 5th 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 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.  

MCBD 2018 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board.

2018 MCBD Medallion Sponsors

HONORARY: Children’s Book Council, Junior Library Guild

PLATINUM:Scholastic Book Clubs

GOLD:Audrey Press, Candlewick Press, Loving Lion Books, Second Story Press, Star Bright Books, Worldwide Buddies

SILVER:Capstone Publishing, Author Charlotte Riggle, Child’s Play USA, KidLit TV, Pack-n-Go Girls, Plum Street Press

BRONZE: Carole P. Roman, Charlesbridge Publishing, Dr. Crystal BoweGokul! World, Green Kids Club, Gwen Jackson, Jacqueline Woodson, Juan J. Guerra, Language Lizard, Lee & Low Books, RhymeTime Storybooks, Sanya Whittaker Gragg, TimTimTom Books, WaterBrook & Multnomah, Wisdom Tales Press


2018 Author Sponsors

Honorary Author Sponsors: Author/Illustrator Aram Kim and Author/Illustrator Juana Medina

Author Janet Balletta, Author Susan Bernardo,  Author Carmen Bernier-Grand, Author Tasheba Berry-McLaren and Space2Launch, Bollywood Groove Books, Author Anne Broyles,  Author Kathleen Burkinshaw, Author Eugenia Chu, Author Lesa Cline-Ransome, Author Medeia Cohan and Shade 7 Publishing, Desi Babies, Author Dani Dixon and Tumble Creek Press, Author Judy Dodge Cummings, Author D.G. Driver, Author Nicole Fenner and Sister Girl Publishing, Debbi Michiko Florence, Author Josh Funk, Author Maria Gianferrari, Author Daphnie Glenn, Globe Smart Kids, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Author Quentin Holmes, Author Esther Iverem, Jennifer Joseph: Alphabet Oddities, Author Kizzie Jones, Author Faith L Justice , Author P.J. LaRue and, Author Karen Leggett Abouraya, Author Sylvia Liu, Author Sherri Maret, Author Melissa Martin Ph.D., Author Lesli Mitchell, Pinky Mukhi and We Are One, Author Miranda Paul, Author Carlotta Penn Real Dads Read, Author Sandra L. Richards, RealMVPKids Author Andrea Scott, Alva Sachs and Three Wishes Publishing, Shelly Bean the Sports Queen,  Author Sarah Stevenson, Author Gayle H. Swift Author Elsa Takaoka, Author Christine Taylor-Butler, Nicholette Thomas and  MFL Publishing  Author Andrea Y. Wang, Author Jane Whittingham  Author Natasha Yim

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.

Visit the MCBD site:

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers:

Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators:

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

MULTICULTURAL CHILDREN’S BOOK DAY: Celebrating Diversity in Children’s Literature & Book Review of “The Peace Bell”

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I am happy to say that I am part of the amazing group of folks that will be participating in the first Multicultural Children’s Book day on January 27, 2014! A collaborative effort to discover, promote, share and celebrate multicultural children’s books by over sixty bloggers will be giving voice to the countless books that too often go unnoticed.

Last week I received The Peace Bell by Margi Preus in the mail. It was a little book, but as I soon discovered it held a big and powerful message.  As I read it I realized it was based on true events. My first thought was whether or not my first graders would get the gist of this delicate story since it is set in Japan during World War II.  So, prior to reading the story we looked at images of maps, discussed where Japan was in relation to the United States and images of Japanese children and families.

holt, peace bellThe story begins with a grandmother, Yuko, telling her granddaughter and friend, who is visiting from America, the significance of the celebration that they were attending; the return of the “peace bell”.  Yuko recalls her childhood during World War II in Japan when life was not abundant or free from worry. She narrates that as a little girl she would look forward to the bell being rung in the temple during the new year and that it’s vibration would be maintained deep in her heart.  But with the turmoil of war not only were many luxuries cast away, so was the bell.  The bell was taken down and melted for scrap metal for the war efforts.  The feeling of loss is beautifully illustrated by Hideko Takahashi.  Many years later, Yuko goes with hurried anticipation to the celebration of the returned bell that was found and returned by Americans to her hometown in Japan as a gesture of peace and friendship.

After we read the story twice, my first graders generated a list of words to describe these two polar opposite ways of being: peace and war. I was very surprised at how articulate they were in expressing their understanding of these abstract concepts. The following day we read the story for the third time and I asked the students to write whatever they wanted to share. Many of them made a connection with the grandmother in the story saying that their grandmother lives with them at home and helps take care of them.  We also discussed ways to be more peaceful.  My favorite response was, “We can hold hands.”  Well said.

peace:war chart

My favorite part is when the grandma got married because I like kimonos.

My favorite part is when the grandma got married because I like kimonos.

Lastly, I would like to thank Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book /Audrey Press and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom who teamed up to create an ambitious (and much needed) national event. If you would like to participate or find more resources please visit:  Multicultural Children’s Book Day. We are hoping that parents, teachers, librarians and bookstores will help bring awareness and more diversity in the books that children are exposed to.  Mrs. Fernandez, our wonderful school librarian has graciously offered to read The Peace Bell to the classes that will be visiting her in the library next week.

I learned war destroys buildings and lives. It takes peace away.

I learned war destroys buildings and lives. It takes peace away.

And to the sponsors who have made this endeavor possible, Thank you!

Wisdom Tales Press
Lee & Low Books
Chronicle Books
Susan Daniel Fayad: Author of My Grandfather’s Masbaha  (@grandadmasbaha)

Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson