Multicultural Children’s Book Day
This January 27th, 2016 Mami Tales will be celebrating Multicultural Children’s Book Day! I was paired with author Quentin Holmes, who has a series for kids 8 to 12 called “Real Street Kidz.” Mr. Holmes graciously provided me with copies of his three books to read and make a review of.
The Real Street Kidz Series
Book #1 – Chasing Action
The Real Street Kidz are Chasing Action! Join Q, Lucky, Los, and Chase — a diverse group of preteens who must pull together in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles–in this unique coming of age story. When rumors fly around Long Beach that Chase, a rising skateboarder, cheated to defeat his former best friend in the Annual Long Beach Skateboard Competition, Chase becomes very determined to get a rematch to prove everyone wrong. But Chase and his new crew must rely on the plans of Q, the new kid, to get an all-new skate park at the local neighborhood center for the rematch despite many unforeseen obstacles. Will the Real Street Kidz trust Q’s plans? Will they form a tight bond or will their differences tear them apart? Will Chase get his rematch? Join Q and the crew to find out!
Book #2 – Art of Authenticity
Q, Chase, Los, and Lucky are back for another big adventure. However, this time the boys may have more trouble than they can handle! With each boy taking turns telling the story, they are still Chasing Action, when they meet an odd local t-shirt designer named Art. Art is a nice guy, but totally clueless about business. He’s about to be put out of business by a ruthless designer named Shyne O.C. The boys attempt to help Art save his business but are soon faced with one of the biggest decisions they’ve ever had to make… be themselves and probably lose, or be like Shyne and win. The boys won’t be able to do anything alone, this time they enlist the help of Jazz…and her friends! Find out whether the kids can put aside their differences and save the day, or learn the lesson that true victory comes by being yourself!
Book #3 – Good Ideas
Q, Jazz, Chase, Ginger, Los, Kawena, and Lucky, are the adventure seeking Real Street Kidz. An extraordinary group of kids who live life in a big way and prove that you’re never too young to make a difference. During the summer the Real Street Kidz Chased Action and mastered the Art of Authenticity, but with the arrival of a new school semester the RSK are in serious need of Good Ideas. The kids are immediately faced with frustrating challenges from a rigid new school’s “Pilot Program,” that includes excessive pop-quizzes, strict dress codes, and a disgusting “healthy choice” menu. Things really get worse when their old rival Junior puts the entire school in jeopardy with his “Me First” re-election campaign for school president. Q and Jazz decide to run against him to stop Junior’s reckless campaign from ruining the student body, but that’s when things become even worse! The entire school becomes divided and everyone is desperate for an infusion of Good Ideas to help put things back together again. Whose side will the friends choose? Which side would you choose? Making the wrong choice could cost everyone a lot more than just a school election; it could cost everyone a better world!
I read all three books fairly quickly. They are very entertaining and easy to read, and the story on each of them flows nicely. My favorite, by far, was the first one. It is all told from the point of view of Q, a 14 year-old who has just lost his father, is now an orphan and living with his grandparents. Originally from New Jersey, Q finds himself plucked from life as he new it and transplanted into the sandy beaches of Long Beach California. While trying to make sense of his new reality he meets a group of odd characters: Lucky, an Asian kid with a love for music and a great heart; Los, a Hispanic Einstein who is always inventing some new gadget or crazy contraption; and finally Chase, a white skater boy with ADD. Q turns into the glue that brings all these characters together, always working for the good of the community.
I love the main character, Q, and how we really delve deep into what is going on in his mind. I like how the author weaves in Q’s inner struggle to deal with his Dad’s loss – and his feeling like a fish out of water- with the solving the main problem of the plot by giving a sense of purpose to all the odd Kids to work together towards a joint goal.
In the second and third book I feel that the stories are not so well put together as with the first one. The second one, Art of Authenticity, was entertaining but felt a little contrived in both the set up and the solution. The idea of seeing the story told from the kid’s different point of views I think helps the story plow along, but it doesn’t really do very much to give us a deeper insights into the different characters.
Finally, I do believe that the series would greatly benefit from a critical editing eye. There were a few spelling mistakes in at least a couple of the books, and on the first book I recall seeing repeated information. I know these books are self-published and it is wonderful to have these stories be told, but as a reader it pulled me out of the story at times.
All in all, I believe many kids will enjoy these series quite a bit. I know my 7 year-old daughter would enjoy reading them.
Finding Good Ideas
As part of the Multicultural Children’s Book Day, we were encouraged to find an activity to go with our post and review… I have to say that the best activity I can think of was actually suggested and promoted by the author, putting out a youtube video urging kids to think of Good Ideas to better their communities. Here’s the video for you to see, and hopefully inspire you and your children to come up with good ideas too!
About Author Quentin Holmes
Author, entrepreneur and brand creator, Quentin “Q” Holmes has dedicated his life to empowering the world’s youth through trendsetting literature, media, and fashion. The son of a hard-working father whose career advancement moved the family to nearly every region of the country, Quentin gained exposure to people from all walks of life. Quentin earned his bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from the University of Michigan, further enriching his perspective on social diversity. The Real Street Kidz book series, created in 2009, promotes positive life messages to modern day youth. Examples of multiculturalism, along with heightening positive individual differences to achieve success, are a continuous theme across the books of this exceptional series. This type of awareness builds reading patterns of success for kids everywhere. Through reading Chasing Action, Art of Authenticity, and Good Ideas, Quentin hopes that kids will begin thinking “outside the box” and realize that teamwork and individuality are the greatest formula for success.
What is the Multicultural Children’s Book Day about?
The MCCBD team’s mission to spread the word and raise awareness about the importance of diversity in children’s literature. Our young readers need to see themselves within the pages of a book and experience other cultures, languages, traditions and religions within the pages of a book. We encourage readers, parents, teachers, caregivers and librarians to follow along the fun book reviews, author visits, event details, a multicultural children’s book linky and via our hashtag (#ReadYourWorld) on Twitter and other social media.
Multicultural Children’s Book day 2016 Medallion Level Sponsors! #ReadYourWorld
MCBD also has 12 amazing Co-Host and you can us the links below or view them here.
All Done Monkey, Crafty Moms Share, Educators Spin on it, Growing Book by Book, Imagination Soup, I’m Not the Nanny, InCultural Parent, Kid World Citizen, Mama Smiles, Multicultural Kid Blogs, Spanish Playground