The Generous Fish: MCBD Book Review

Happy Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2021! Celebrating books that allow children to read their world—to see themselves in books and to see the rich human diversity of this planet we share—is a good way to start any year, and especially the one following 2020. I am honored that this year I celebrate Multicultural Children’s Book Day as a member of its Board of Advisors. You can read my thoughts on joining them late last year here.

I am grateful to Wisdom Tales Press for gifting me with a review copy of The Generous Fish, written by Jacqueline Jules and illustrated by Frances Tyrrell. Jacqueline Jules is the author of over forty books for children, including multiple award winners and some that were already on our family’s shelves.

The Generous Fish has the feel of a classic Jewish folktale, inviting readers to ponder its ideas and enjoy it again and again. However, the story was created by Ms. Jules, who was inspired by two Jewish folktales, as she describes in an Author’s Note. In her story, young Reuven befriends a fish with whom he shares his bread. When he discovers that the fish’s scales are made of real gold, he begins to sell them. Both the fish and the boy are generous, and Reuven sells more and more scales to help villagers who always have good reasons for wanting more. But the fish cannot grow back his scales quickly enough and is eventually harmed. When Reuven and the villagers see the impact on the fish, they decide to stop taking scales and help it recover.

Like any good folktale, there are timeless lessons in this story. Though Reuven and the villagers have good intentions, they miss that their actions are having a negative impact. I like that this complexity encourages children to look deeper and consider consequences. In her Author’s Note, Ms. Jules relates this lesson to the environment, which we humans have taken from to the point of harm.

The story is populated with characters and names typical of an old Ashkenasi Jewish town. It is refreshing to see them by the sea. Frances Tyrrell’s illustrations are gorgeous with detailed traditional dress, and colorful nautical borders and insets. The book has the feel of both honoring traditions and providing something fresh and relevant. What a lovely combination for Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2021!

See below to learn more about Multicultural Children’s Book Day, its generous sponsors, and free resources available for educators and librarians. Their website includes links to hundreds of reviews of multicultural children’s books. #ReadYourWorld.

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!

FOUNDER’S CIRCLE: Mia Wenjen (Prgamaticmom) and Valarie Budayr’s (Audreypress.com)

Platinum Sponsors: Language Lizard Bilingual Books in 50+ Languages, Author Deedee Cummings and Make A Way Media

Gold Sponsors: Barefoot Books, Candlewick Press, CapstoneHoopoe Books,  KidLitTV, Peachtree Publishing Company Inc.

Silver Sponsors: Charlotte Riggle, Connecticut Association of School Librarians, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Pack-N-Go Girls

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 & IntrepidsAuthor 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 FletcherTales 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.

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9 Responses to The Generous Fish: MCBD Book Review

  1. Thank you for your wonderful review of The Generous Fish and for your support of Multicultural Children’s Book Day!

  2. Yael Golton says:

    I enjoyed your review of The Generous Fish book.

  3. Leanna Guillen Mora says:

    This is looks wonderful! I love Wisdom Tales books. Thank you for participating in Multicultural Children’s Book Day!

  4. What a beautiful folklore! I love the selflessness of the boy in trying to share in contrast with the greed of the town taking catching the fish. The illustrations are soft and lovely! Enjoyed your review.

    • Thank you–that is sweet to hear from one of my very favorite book reviewers. One interesting thing about this story is that the townspeople really don’t come across as greedy. They want to do things like buy clothes for their children, continue their studies, and buy a cane to walk more easily. So there’s an interesting conflict about balancing these good intentions with depleting a resource.

  5. schmelzb says:

    Jacqueline Jules is a jewel. I love everything she writes for all ages! Cannot wait to read this book.

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