Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Marisol McDonald and Super Diversity (Day 6)

Another beautiful day, more beautiful books. I am slowly getting to the bottom of my pile o Spanish English picturebooks. I think I should finish them by Tuesday afternoon, and then I’ll spend Wednesday checking through and filling gaps. The gaps are there because as I go through the books I become aware of new columns of information I want to collect, and up until that point, I haven’t got the information for previously analysed books. (Does that make sense?)

There are two series of books I have been really amazed by today. The first is a series about Marisol McDonald, an eight year old who has ‘Flaming red hair and nut-brown skin’ and who prefers things not to match. Read more about the books here http://www.monicabrown.net/books/marisol.html
There are two of the series in the Marantz Collection. They are delightful tales of a feisty girl who doesn’t quite fit in. In one book we are shown how Marisol loves to do and wear things that don’t match (Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match/Marisol McDonald no combina), and in the second (Marisol McDonald and the Clash Bash/ Marisol McDonald y la fiesta sin igual) Marisol has a party where there isn’t a princess theme or a soccer theme or a pirate theme. She sends her friends different invitations and they all turn up dressed differently and she loves it. The illustrator, Sara Palacios, does absolute justice to the outrageous colour and energy needed to represent this wonderful little girl and her family. From the illustrations we see her mum has dark skin and black hair, and her dad fair skin and red hair. No comment is made on this in the text, though. It is interesting to read the note from the author, Monica Brown: “I wrote this book because, like over 6 million Americans, I am multiracial. I’m the daughter of a South American mother and a North American father, and my childhood was spent in a close community of cousins, tios, and tias [aunties and uncles]. Like Marisol, my cousins and I are mixed- indigenous Peruvian and Spanish mixed with Scottish and Italian and Jewish, not to mention Nicaraguan, Mexican, Chilean and African. One thing most of us do share are freckles….People sometimes ask us “What are you?”…..Our mothers told us we are Americans, yes, but also citizens of the world. My life (and I bet yours too) is bound up with the history of many peoples, and like Marisol McDonald, I open my arms wide and embrace them all”.

Wow. How about that for diversity. And how about that for a statement. While my background is not as diverse as Monica’s, I do see myself in some of the statements she makes, and I wish I had been able to read these to my own daughter whose heritage includes English, Scandinavian, Irish, Sinhalese, Dutch, and German.

Most of the books I am reading include notes about the authors and illustrators, and in most cases it seems authors are telling a story from their own lives, or retelling a story their parents or grandparents told them, or creating a story about an important person in South American or Latino American history. Lots and lots of windows for someone like me to look through, and lots and lots of mirrors for young readers in the US (and other places) to see their physical and/or linguistic reflections in.

That’s enough for one day. I’ll tell you about the second series tomorrow. It does amazingly creative things with language…J

1 comment:

  1. Hi Nicola I'm very much enjoying reading your blog, what an interesting and absorbing time you are having. I am in love with Marisol McDonald, what a girl! Keep reading :)