Introducing the MCBD Board of Advisors! These fine folks were hand-picked based on their commitment and passion for diversity in children’s literacy are on the front lines of education and community building.
Amanda Hsiung-Blodgett is the founder of Miss Panda Chinese, an online Chinese language, and cultural resource that provides engaging and playful communicative teaching materials for parents and educators. She has been teaching Chinese and ESL for over 15 years and has extensive international teaching experience with children in Canada, Ecuador, Morocco, Taiwan, and the United States. Amanda is registered and director-qualified with Hawai’i Careers With Young Children (PATCH), and received the highest possible score on the Chinese Proficiency Test administered by the Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. Department of State. She is a member of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Amanda graduated from Shih Hsin University and The University of Texas at Austin.
Kenneth Braswell has spent over 27 years in the service of family and community. Husband and father of 5, Braswell continues to see the world through the eye of his own children. In 2004 he created Fathers Incorporated (FI). With national and international missions; the agency has provided capacity-building services to thousands of organizations working to ensure that fathers contribute to the healthy well-being of their children. FI is currently the prime contact for National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse. Braswell is the author of “When The Tear Won’t Fall: One Man’s Journey Through The Intimate Struggles of Manhood and Fatherhood.” He is also the author of three children’s books Daddy, There’s A Noise Outside and Daddy Is Feeling Blue and “Daddy’s Family Tree”. In addition to writing books, Mr. Braswell is also the creator of three powerful documentaries: “Spit’in Anger”, “Dark Hearts” and “A Queen’s Discovery. He is a much sought-after keynote speaker, presenter, trainer, and media consultant on issues related of Faith, Family & Fatherhood; with an intentional focus on Black Men and Boys.
His current work is focused on literacy and his program; Real Dads Read (RDR). The work is aimed at pre-school and school-aged children (0-18) and their fathers/male caregivers with the goals of 1) encouraging children to develop a love of reading, 2) improving children’s literacy skills and educational outcomes, and 3) strengthening bonds between fathers/caregivers and their children. Real Dads Read is a two-generation approach to engaging and improving outcomes for both men and the children for which they are responsible.
You can follow on Twitter – @braswellkenneth and online at www.kennethbraswell.com
Deedee Cummings is a licensed attorney and therapist in Louisville, KY. She is a graduate of the first Historically Black College for women in the country, Bennett College in Greensboro, NC, and the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville. Deedee holds a Bachelor’s of Psychology, a Master’s of Education in Counseling Psychology, and a Juris Doctorate degree. Over her career spanning more than two decades, she has experienced how easy it is for us to become discouraged, even to the point of giving up. Working in foster care proved especially tough.
Deedee began writing books as a way to help process the trauma of this work, and also has assisted dozens of foster children with writing their own stories. She focuses her writing on powerful, inspiring, and uplifting messages intended to center us, connect us, motivate us, and remind us all to begin again. Deedee and her husband Anthony experience a wide range of growing pains with three children ranging in age from 9 to 25! You can learn more about her and her work on her website makeawaymedia.com.
Becky is has been the Project Manager for the MCBD initiative since Day One and she can honestly say that she loves her job. As the mom to two beautiful kids, she is the voice of “invisible disabilities” like ADHD, severe anxiety, and childhood eating issues.
Her oldest son is also adopted, and she is as proud as proud could be to be an adoptive mommy. She also has her very first diverse picture book coming out in the Fall of 2018 through Audrey Press Publishing. Connect with Becky at Becky (at) Multiculturalchildrensbookday.com
Pam considers herself a champion of the underdog and protectorate of multicultural children’s literature. She holds a degree in English Writing, a post-baccalaureate certificate in Elementary Education, and a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science. Pam can often be found singing many of The Wiggles songs while simultaneously reading a book in rhyme and drinking coffee. She reviews books at Unconventionallibrarian.com, guest posts on Good Enough Mother host adult and tween book clubs, and literary tea parties where she dons a tutu and tiara.
Maritza Martinez Mejia
Maritza Martinez Mejia, Colombian poet, writer, and speaker who lives in Florida. She is the founder of Proyecto de Escritura LuzDelMes an online Group whose objective is to create bridges of communication and collaboration between English and Spanish authors and Cultural Promoter of “Desayuno Literario Internacional LuzDelMes” to promote Bilingual Literature.
For her service to the community, she is the award recipient of the Crystal Apple Award 2006. Maritza received the Virtues Christian Poetry Award 2015, Latino Book Awards for Best Translation English to Spanish, and Best eBook non-fiction 2016. Nominated to the Carmen Luisa Pinto 2016, Author’s Talk Book Show 2017, and Foundation Somos Poetry 2018. Collaborator to Radio Sion, NY at the “El Mágico Mundo de los libros”, Visítame Magazine, and Southern Writer’s Magazine.
Six bilingual books published, Vanilla and Chocolate (2012 & 2017), Grandma’s Treasure (2014), Poems, Thought s and more (2015), and memoir Hazel Eyes (2010) translated into Spanish as Ojos Avellana (2016), Luz del mes (2018).
Graduated from Colegio Mayor de Cundinamarca in Commerce and Foreign Language, A.S. in Travel Industry Management from Broward State College, and obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Humanities and Certificate in Women’s Studies from Florida Atlantic University.
Member of Florida Writer’s Association, South Florida Writer’s Association, Multicultural Children’s Book Reviewer, and Academia Norteamericana de Literatura Moderna Internacional Capitulo Florida.
Jodi Murphy is the founder of Geek Club Books, an autism nonprofit committed to creating a world where autistic individuals are fully accepted, valued and have a voice. She is the producer of the Dorktales Storytime Podcast, a family-fun series of geeky retellings of classic fairy tales and true stories about hidden heroes of history. Previously, Jodi was a freelance marketing specialist working for clients in a variety of industries, a journalist in the luxury lifestyle industry, and co-founder of Nesting Newbies, one of the first independent lifestyle digital magazines.
Valerie L. Williams-Sanchez
Valerie is a certified project management professional with a long career in the overlapping fields of communications, journalism, and literacy. In addition to authoring three children’s books and being a doctoral candidate (literacy), she has more than 20 years’ experience in marketing and communications and has worked with private clients and for major corporate brands including Volvo, Disney, and Deloitte.
In healthcare and medical communications and marketing, Valerie most recently worked at Columbia University Medical Center in the department of ophthalmology, where she consulted and collaborated to develop and execute innovative and award-winning marketing communications for the department’s clinical faculty and sponsors, as well as promotional activities around the department’s Precision Ophthalmology initiative. Valerie served on the CUMC Strategic Communications Task Force, and other cross-functional teams.
Earlier in her career, Valerie managed to sponsor healthcare systems and medical device and diagnostic company’s marketing communications messaging for Disneyland Park. Prior to that, she served as a healthcare writer and marketing communications manager for the former Medical Data International, which was acquired by Information Handling Services, Inc.(IHS).
Valerie has written and contributed news, peer-review journal articles, and essays in publications for and including Associated Press, The Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, Orange County Business Journal, and More magazine, online in the U.S. and in Spain. She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Karin Fisher-Golton is the author of the award-winning board book, My Amazing Day: A Celebration of Wonder and Gratitude, four folktales for a reading program for people with dyslexia, and poems in several anthologies. As a freelance children’s book editor, she helps authors realize their visions and reach young audiences effectively. She’s given particular attention to how children’s books reflect our world since studying children’s literature in an Elementary Education program, almost thirty years ago. Her writing life has been interspersed with teaching children in a variety of lively settings, most recently as an afterschool poetry teacher.
Karin worked with the MCBD team to change the yearly date of MCBD so that it would not conflict with International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a day designated by the United Nations “to instill the memory of the tragedy in future generations to prevent genocide from occurring again.” Read more about that here: https://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/tag/karin-fisher-golton/.
Based in the San Francisco Bay Area—just a few miles from Berkeley, California where she was raised—Karin feels fortunate to live in one of the most diverse areas in the world. Learn more about Karin and her work at: https://karinfisher-golton.com.