It’s finally the big day! For the final day of our Multicultural Children’s Book Day series, we have the picture book The Big Day* by Terry Lee Caruthers and illustrated by Robert Casilla (For more MCBD events, see our review of Hello, Mandarin Duck! and the links below.)
About the Book
The Big Day captures the momentous occasion when Agnes Sadler became the first Black woman to cast a vote in Knoxville, Tennessee on September 6, 1919. This fictionalized account is told from the first person point of view of a young girl named Tansy.
There on the bed lay my best dress, stocking socks, and my black patent leather shoes. I thought about what Big Mama said, Big day ahead.
The story reveals what life would have been like in 1919. Historical touches include what Tansy ate for breakfast, how she did her hair, and how she and her mother traveled to the voting location via streetcar.
The colorful watercolor illustrations are also contain subtle historical details, like the milkman making a delivery in the background of one scene, the clawfoot bathtub in the bathroom, and Big Mama’s feather-adorned hat.
The extensive back matter includes an Author’s Note, biography of Agnes Sadler, a woman’s suffrage timeline and map, plus Sources. To add authenticity, included is an image of an actual Tennessee newspaper article that reported the first women to vote in each ward that day, which lists Agnes Sadler’s name. The endpapers offer even more images of newspaper articles and headlines about suffrage.
Although the road to getting the right to vote was long and hard for Black women, the book focuses on the positive, on the celebratory feel of this one historically significant day.
The Big Day is perfect to share for Black History Month (February), Women’s History Month (March), and around elections. Children, particularly budding historians, are going to be fascinated by this glimpse into an important time. Delve into a copy today!
1. Visit your local historical museum.
Find out if your local historical museum has information about when women won the right to vote in your area. Check to see if they have displays or information about life in the early 1900s, as well. If your area doesn’t have a physical museum, check with your local librarian about your library’s historical collections.
2. Voting activities for kids
Accompany the book with information and activities about voting for children. There are many resources for lessons online, for example:
- PBS Kids for parents has lessons and activities about voting called Let’s Vote.
- ALSC has a collection of links and activities about information literacy and voting.
Terry Lee Caruthers is a special projects librarian with the Knox County Library System. A native of Knoxville, Tennessee, she grew up surrounded by strong, female role models who nurtured her imagination and imbued her with a love of reading, writing, and storytelling. The Big Day is Terry’s first book with Star Bright Books. Terry resides in South Knoxville where she shares her life with four rescue cats.
Robert Casilla was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, to parents from Puerto Rico. He received a bachelor of fine arts at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Robert has illustrated over 30 children’s books, including picture book biographies and multicultural titles. Robert won a Pura Belpré Honor Award for his illustrations in First Day in Grapes. The Big Day is his first book with Star Bright Books. Robert lives and works from his home in New Fairfield, Connecticut, with his wife, Carmen.
Reading age : 4 – 8 years
Publisher : Star Bright Books (October 30, 2020)
ISBN-10 : 1595729135
ISBN-13 : 978-1595729132
Disclosure: As part of the MCBD celebrations, I was gifted a copy of The Big Day by Star Bright Books, a MCBD Bronze Sponsor. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.
Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2021 (1/29/21) is in its 8th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those book into the hands of young readers and educators.
Eight years in, MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves continues. Read about our Mission & History HERE.
MCBD 2021 is honored to be Supported by these Medallion Sponsors!
Bronze Sponsors: Agatha Rodi and AMELIE is IMPRESSED!, Barnes Brothers Books, Create and Educate Solutions, LLC, Dreambuilt Books, Dyesha and Triesha McCants/McCants Squared, Redfin Real Estate, Snowflake Stories, Star Bright Books, TimTimTom Bilingual Personalized Books, Author Vivian Kirkfield, Wisdom Tales Press, My Well Read Child
MCBD 2021 is honored to be Supported by these Author Sponsors!
Poster Artist: Nat Iwata
Authors: Author Afsaneh Moradian, Author Alva Sachs & Three Wishes Publishing Company, Author Angeliki Stamatopoulou-Pedersen, Author Anna Olswanger, Author Casey Bell , Author Claudine Norden, Author Debbie Dadey, Author Diana Huang & Intrepids, Author Eugenia Chu & Brandon goes to Beijing, Green Kids Club, Author Gwen Jackson, Author Janet Balletta, Author Josh Funk, Author Julia Inserro, Karter Johnson & Popcorn and Books, Author Kathleen Burkinshaw & The Last Cherry Blossom, Author Keila Dawson, Maya/Neel Adventures with Culture Groove, Author Mia Wenjen, Michael Genhart, Nancy Tupper Ling, Author Natalie Murray, Natalie McDonald-Perkins, Author Natasha Yim, Author Phe Lang and Me On The Page Publishing, Sandra Elaine Scott, Author Shoumi Sen & From The Toddler Diaries, SISSY GOES TINY by Rebecca Flansburg and B.A. Norrgard, Susan Schaefer Bernardo & Illustrator Courtenay Fletcher, Tales of the Five Enchanted Mermaids, Author Theresa Mackiewicz, Tonya Duncan and the Sophie Washington Book Series, Author Toshia Stelivan, Valerie Williams-Sanchez & The Cocoa Kids Collection Books©, Author Vanessa Womack, MBA, Author Veronica Appleton & the Journey to Appleville book series
MCBD 2021 is Honored to be Supported by our CoHosts and Global CoHosts!
MCBD 2021 is Honored to be Supported by these Media Partners!
Check out MCBD’s Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board!
FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day:
- Diversity Book Lists & Activities for Teachers and Parents
- Homeschool Diverse Kidlit Booklist & Activity Kit
- FREE Teacher Classroom Activism and Activists Kit
- FREE Teacher Classroom Empathy Kit
- FREE Teacher Classroom Kindness Kit
- FREE Teacher Classroom Physical and Developmental Challenges Kit
- FREE Teacher Classroom Poverty Kit
- Gallery of Our Free Posters
- FREE Diversity Book for Classrooms Program
TWITTER PARTY! Register here!
Join us on Friday, Jan 29, 2021, at 9 pm EST for the 8th annual Multicultural Children’s Book Day Twitter Party!
This epically fun and fast-paced hour includes multicultural book discussions, addressing timely issues, diverse book recommendations, & reading ideas.
We will be giving away an 8-Book Bundle every 5 minutes plus Bonus Prizes as well! *** US and Global participants welcome. **
Follow the hashtag #ReadYourWorld to join the conversation, connect with like-minded parts, authors, publishers, educators, organizations, and librarians. See you all very soon on Twitter!
Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.