I am so excited to announce that my Red Racer Books series is participating in Multicultural Children's Book Day (MCBD) on January 26, 2023. This year marks the event's 10th anniversary, making it all the more special.
MCBD is an incredible program that aims to raise awareness for children's books that celebrate diversity and to get more of these books into classrooms and libraries. Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen, two book-loving mothers, founded this non-profit children's literacy initiative to promote multicultural books and authors and make them easily accessible to young readers and educators. MCBD has been active for 10 years, and its mission to increase representation of diverse books in homes and schools remains ongoing. This program is a valuable resource for educators, librarians, and parents looking to implement multicultural education. Below is an blurb from their site but for more information, please visit the MCBD website: https://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/
MCBD is a non-profit organization that works with authors and publishers to get their books reviewed for the event and also works to make diverse children’s books available for free. MCBD also offers a variety of free resources, teaching tools, booklists, downloads, and a year-round initiative to get multicultural and diverse books into the hands of young readers. Over 10,000 books have been donated to underserved kids, classrooms, and organizations to date, and the numbers keep growing.
On January 26, 2023, Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCBD) will celebrate its 10th anniversary of bringing culturally diverse books to the hands of children, parents, teachers, and librarians. It is an online and offline celebration that attracts thousands of supporters, educators, parents, caregivers, book reviewers, and quality authors and publishers who join forces to shine the spotlight on diversity in children and YA literature.
In support of this mission, I have donated over 40 books to teachers, educators, and librarians who want to bring more diversity to their students.
Why Multicultural Education Is Important
The goal of Multicultural education is to help children develop an understanding and appreciation of all the different cultures, races, and ethnicities in the world we live in. We celebrate diversity to promote tolerance, respect, and empathy in children, which are important social and emotional skills. It also helps kids understand and navigate this huge world we live in. It is also very important to make children from diverse multicultural boundaries feel seen, represented and valued.
Why Multicultural Education Is Important To Me
As a Latino-American, my cultural heritage has always been an important part of my identity. Both of my parents were immigrants, and I grew up in a household that primarily spoke Spanish in a country where English is the dominant language. My family is from Uruguay, a small but proud country in South America, known for its beef industry (grass-fed only) and rich fútbol (aka football or soccer) heritage. Fun Fact: Uruguay was the first country to host and win the World Cup! I was fortunate enough to spend a lot of time there during my childhood.
Throughout my life, I have lived in cities known for their multicultural diversity, such as Barcelona, New York City, and Miami. Through these experiences, I have come to understand the value of learning from and appreciating different cultures. This is why, when I began writing the Red Racer Books series, I made a conscious effort to include diversity and multiculturalism in several forms. I even created a series of values for my books, two of which are directly related to this.
How Does Multicultural Education And Diversity Fit Into Book About Motorsports For Kids?
One of my values for Red Racer Books is full representation. From my perspective, that means aiming for gender diversity and racial diversity throughout the series.
Formula 1 racing, as well as motorsports as a whole, has traditionally been a male-dominated field. However, in recent years, we are seeing more women involved in racing, both behind the scenes and behind the wheel. Despite this progress, there is still much work to be done to achieve gender parity in motorsports. This issue is important to me personally, as I have a daughter and want her to have the same opportunities as her brother. Unfortunately, the underrepresentation of women in motorsports makes it harder for my daughter to see role models and career paths in the field, but I make sure to celebrate all those that do!
There are already many accomplished women in motorsports, such as pioneering racers, engineers, journalists, and presenters, serving as great role models. Organizations and individuals are working to create new pathways and opportunities for women in motorsports, but it is a process that will take time. While I understand that my children's book alone cannot solve this problem, I hope that by including more female characters and writing for a diverse audience, young children will be exposed to a wider range of opportunities at an early age. Additionally, we are seeing a change in the composition of the audience for F1 racing, and I wanted to reflect that in my books. For example, in "P for Podium," there is a girl driver on the podium alongside two boys, and Roxy the Engineer is featured as the winning driver's engineer.
When I got into Formula 1 racing, it was during the summer of the Black Lives Matter movement, which had a significant impact on the sport. Many drivers and teams across not only Formula 1 but other motorsports as well, made diversity and inclusion a much higher priority.
Sir Lewis Hamilton, the only Black race car driver in Formula 1, has always been an inspiration to me, not only for his story of overcoming adversity and succeeding as an outsider in a sport not known for racial diversity, but also for his actions off the track. He has done a lot to bring attention to diversity issues in the sport, and has donated both time and money towards this mission. One example is the Hamilton Commission, a research report that highlighted the lack of diversity within the engineering profession, which is crucial to motorsports.
I see motorsports as an excellent platform to engage kids in a way that other sports can't. STEM learning is a big part of that, but so is representation and diversity, which is why the two go hand in hand. With my first books I have just begun to scratch the surface these issues, but I plan to delve deeper into diversity and the characters in future books, particularly in fiction.
Linguistic and Cultural Diversity:
Another on of Red Racer Books' brand values is "Multilingual and Multicultural"
Formula One Racing is a global sport that takes place on five continents throughout the season, with the potential to expand to six in the future. This means that each race offers an opportunity to explore a new culture, and by including different languages in the books, children can learn about the different cultures and traditions associated with the sport. This also helps to promote multicultural education and global learning.
Why Does Representation Matter In Children’s Books?
One of the most rewarding things for me to hear as an author, is when teachers or customers tell me that their kids are excited to see characters that look like themselves in my books. Representation in literature is crucial for children, as studies have shown that it can have a profound impact on their self-esteem and sense of belonging. It is also important for children to see characters who are different from themselves, as it helps to foster empathy and appreciation for diversity.
Books are one of the first and most common ways that children learn about the world and the opportunities it offers. They also teach children about the roles they may one day come to inhabit and can have a significant impact on their future career choices.
When you think back to your favorite books from childhood or the classic children's books you read to your own children, you may notice that the majority of central characters are male. It can also be difficult to find diverse characters represented in these books.
How to Make Reading Fun for Kids
Overall, my books aim to make learning fun, engaging and relatable to kids through the use of Formula 1 racing and motorsports as a platform. They also teach children the importance of diversity and inclusivity in the world of motorsports and beyond. The books are not only for F1 fans, but for anyone who is interested in learning about cars, competition, teamwork, engineering, sciences and racing around the world.
I firmly believe that the sport can make learning about STEM and multicultural education more exciting and fun. The sport's global reach and diverse fan base provides an excellent platform for children to learn and appreciate other cultures.
When I started writing the Red Racer Book series, I knew I wanted to create something that could work in many different languages. Being fluent in Spanish and English, I began with those languages. I have received many requests and comments asking when other languages will be available. I am currently working on Italian and Dutch versions of the ABCs of Racing that are close to being ready for printing, and I have other languages in the works too. I am always looking for new fans to partner with me to further translate these different books and make sure I’m respectful of their local cultures.
That's why promoting diversity in various forms is crucial to my book series, and I am honored to be a part of this outstanding program.
Here are some of the great reviews I have received from teachers, educators, librarians, and parents so far:
Red Racer Books Presents ABCs of Racing My First Guide to Formula 1™ Racing
Speed, Race, Performance and learning the ABCs of Racing from scratch: A children’s book series. They say that if a line is being scratched into the earth, it is likely from a race held in soft terrain. Nothing soft about Red Racer Books, a new children’s book series that introduces young kids to the world of motorsports, starting with Formula 1. ABC’s of Racing, the first in the series, is a 34-page hardcover book for kids ages 3-8. Highlighting the letters of the alphabet from A-Z, each page covers a letter that matches basic concepts about F1 racing with beautiful illustrations, inspired by actual race- tracks and racing situations around the world.For example, A is for Aerodynamics, B is for Box, C is for champion, D is for DRS and so forth.
ABC’s of Racing is the perfect book for parents that enjoy the world of car racing and that want to share that joy with their children. It is a fun book to introduce children to the science and technology of Formula 1 racing and to basic STEM concepts!
Authored by Latino bilingual dad and car racing enthusiast Andy Amendola, and illustrated by Chinese Wei Ren, ABC’s is available in Spanish and English and soon to be published in Italian, Dutch and French.
Red Racer Book Series is designed as a platform that hopes to engage and educate multilingual, multicultural kids in the US and beyond, using motorsports as a vehicle to provide them with a global perspective on sportsmanship, diversity, science and technology.
- Maritere R. Bellas (Award-Winning Author, Parenting Topic Expert, Bilingual Parenting Mentor, Advocate for Bilingualism, Multilingualism & Multiculturalism)
The ABC’s of Racing is a fresh spin on an alphabet book. As someone who is no expert in F1 racing, Amendola’s text breaks down the basics of Formula 1 racing in a way that is easy to understand and digest while Ren’s illustrations capture the vibrancy and excitement of the sport through bold graphic style illustrations and bright/vibrant imagery. The story features diverse characters, bits of Spanish, and a range of different elements of the sport. The story is both fun and informative. A fun fact I learned was that the Grand Prix always falls on a Sunday. I can’t wait for the next book in the Red Racer series to learn more!
- Amanda Davis (she/her) Author-Illustrator and Art Educator
Red Racer Books Presents All about Race Cars - A Guide to Formula 1™ Race Cars
I'm super excited for Multicultural Book Day on January 26! In preparation, I read "All About Race Cars" by Andy Amendola. I love the fun facts and STEM facts that are included in the book about racing (these even helped this mom/teacher who knows nothing about cars)! As a multilingual teacher I love the diversity! Kids have a new nonfiction book to enjoy and learn from. Shout out to all of the authors and sponsors who make this event possible! #readyourworld #gifted
- Heather LaMarra
All books available at www.redracerbooks.com and Amazon
Not Affiliated with F1
Red Racer Books LLC is not associated in any way with the Formula One group of companies. F1, FORMULA ONE, FORMULA 1, GRAND PRIX and related marks are trademarks of Formula One Licensing B.V.