I’m excited to participate in reviewing for this year’s Multicultural Children’s Book Day! I talk a lot with teachers, parents, and students at my school about how literature is a way to open windows into others’ experiences, and also an opportunity to see yourself and your experiences reflected in the pages of a book.
I’ve been working to bring those diverse experiences and voices to the early reader collection in my library, so I was thrilled to receive The Gold Medal Mess, the first in a new series, by author David A. Kelly. Kelly is well known to my students as the author of the popular Ballpark Mystery series.
We are introduced to Max, Alice, Luke, Kat, and Nico as they practice for their school’s annual Olympics event. When Max and Alice find a letter warning the school to cancel the event, they alert their principal. Not content to sit by, however, they decide to investigate the trouble. By using observation and cooperation, the friends gradually piece together the information they gather, and identify the culprit.
Kelly has assembled a likable group of friends, each with distinctive personalities. Told mainly from the perspective of Max and Alice, the narration is straightforward, supporting emerging fluent readers. The black-and-white illustrations bring the action to life, while subtly identifying the diverse characters. The action is well paced, alternating between the action of the Olympic events that have a “you are there” feel, and the development of the mystery element. Light-hearted banter among the friends lends a humorous note throughout.
The first in the new Most Valuable Player series, The Gold Medal Mess brings the winning formula from the Ballpark Mystery series to new sports. I’m looking forward to more adventures!
Multicultural Children’s Book Day is in its fourth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Their mission is to raise awareness on the ongoing need to include kid’s 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 2017 Sponsors: Platinum Sponsors include Scholastic, Barefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include Carole P. Roman, Audrey Press, Candlewick Press, Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTV, Capstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUSA, Author Gayle Swift, Wisdom Tales Press, Lee & Low Books, The Pack-n- Go Girls, Live Oak Media, Author Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books. Author Sponsors include: Karen Leggett Abouraya, Veronica Appleton, Susan Bernardo, Kathleen Burkinshaw, Maria Dismondy, D.G. Driver, Geoff Griffin, Savannah Hendricks, Stephen Hodges, Carmen Bernier-Grand, Vahid Imani, Gwen Jackson, Hena, Kahn, David Kelly, Mariana Llanos, Natasha Moulton-Levy, Teddy O’Malley, Stacy McAnulty, Cerece Murphy, Miranda Paul, Annette Pimentel, Greg Ransom, Sandra Richards, Elsa Takaoka, Graciela Tiscareño-Sato, Sarah Stevenson, Monica Mathis Stowe, SmartChoiceNation, Andrea Y. Wang.