Multicultural Children’s Book Day – Celebrating OSU Children’s Library Fund’s Photographic Picture Books

Today we are celebrating Multicultural Children’s Book Day! It’s a chance to revel in the vibrant cultural diversity that is out there waiting to be explored in children’s and YA literature – and for my celebration today I am launching a new series of posts highlighting photographic picture books, both fiction and non-fiction.

First up today, then: two great series published by Canadian non-profit Osu Children’s Library Fund – as well as building libraries in Ghana and other countries in Africa plus one in the Philippines, they publish gorgeous picture books featuring the children who use those libraries. Imagine those children truly finding themselves in the books they and their friends read! As well as the early learning series and the ‘My Colour’ books shown here, there are other non-fiction stories such as Jennifer Goes to the Library and Mumaizu and the Hippos, in which Mumaizu visits a hippo sanctuary with his father. The books can be viewed and bought through the Osu Children’s Library Fund website and all profits go towards funding their libraries and their resources. Kathy Knowles, who wrote and photographed all the books featured below, is the founder of OCLF, and you can read the inspiring story of how it all started here.

Selection of books for young children published by Osu Children's Library Fund, funding libraries in Ghana and across Africa

A is for Annie: An Alphabet Book from Ghana
written by Kathy Knowles, photos by Bruce Hildebrand and Kathy Knowles
(Osu Children’s Library Fund, 2006 (second edition)) – read a review by David Jenkinson for CM

One Little Crab: A Counting Book from Ghana
written by Kathy Knowles, photos by Bruce Hildebrand and Kathy Knowles
(Osu Children’s Library Fund, 2006 (second edition)) – read a review by David Jenkinson for CM

Where is the Star? A Book of Shapes from Ghana
by Kathy Knowles
(Osu Children’s Library Fund, 2007) – read a review by David Jenkinson for CM

Open and Closed: A Book of Opposites from Ghana
by Kathy Knowles
(Osu Children’s Library Fund, 2007) – read a review by David Jenkinson for CM

My Book of Stripes
by Kathy Knowles
(Osu Children’s Library Fund, 2014) – read a review by David Jenkinson for CM

My Colour series written and photographed by Kathy Knowles, published by Osu Children's Library Fund

My Red Book
My Yellow Book
My Green Book
My Blue Book

by Kathy Knowles
(Osu Children’s Library Fund, 2007) – read a review of these four books by David Jenkinson for CM

My Pink Book
My Orange Book
My Violet Book

by Kathy Knowles
(Osu Children’s Library Fund, 2011)

Each of these books begins with the child on the book’s cover introducing the colour he/she likes, then saying good-bye to the colour at the end – and in the pages between readers are introduced to items that correspond to that colour. I like the idea of each book being devoted to a single colour and at the same time being a window for young readers all over the globe on each child’s world in Ghana.

Indeed, photography is the perfect medium for early learning books like all of these because it so unobtrusively yet so completely maps out the cultural and visual landscape of the children portrayed – providing crystal clear mirrors and windows for young readers.

And because today is a special celebration, I can’t resist sharing with you a video uploaded by Bruce Hildebrand, who collaborated with Kathy Knowles on the photography for A is for Annie and One Little Crab: ‘A Library Song’, composed and performed in 2009 by The Lucky Ones, a singing group from the Nima Library in Accra, Ghana – an uplifting song that is sure to put a smile on your face…

Do head on over to Multicultural Children’s Book Day to join in the festivities and catch up with all the wonderful posts from around the kidlitosphere focusing on multicultural children’s books today..

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4 Comments:

  1. These look great. My kids study Ghana in 2nd grade so we are always on the lookout for more books on that topic. Thank you so much for your support in joining us for Multicultural Children’s Book Day!

  2. I was pleased to see my books included on your Mirrors Windows Doors site. You arranged the books from our colour series as if they were a bouquet of flowers. Thank you. Children in Ghana are now requesting more books – My Brown Book, My Black Book, My White Book and My Ash Book. We will see!

    • Kathy, your books are gorgeous and I am so glad to be able to highlight them. I can totally see why the children would want more books, and additions to the colour series certainly offer plenty of potential. I look forward to more conversations in the future – and wish you continued success in your amazing work.

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