Tuesday, January 26, 2016

2016 Multicultural Children's Book Day: I Want Cake! by Daniel Kairys, M.D., illustrated co-authored by Jo Ann Kairys

Today is Multicultural Children's Book Day (#ReadYourWorld)

And to help celebrate this event, I read a book called I Want Cake!  Now, it just so happens that my very favorite thing to eat in this world is a chocolate devil's food cake with white icing - every birthday, every celebration, every chance I get.  So when Leen woke up one morning and told her sister Ya Ya that she wanted cake for breakfast, I was right there with her.

First, they decide to ask their dad, a doctor who is busy packing up crates of medical supplies.  But, there is not cake to be found anywhere in to crates.

With little brother Jaden tagging alone, Ya Ya and Leen decide to ask Mom if she has cake.  She tells them it's too early for cake and offers them some lambi ak jon jon or snails with mushrooms instead.

Perhaps their neighbor Yucely has cake.  Sadly she only has uno llanta de bicicleta, a bicycle tire, and besides that, she's busy collection worms.

When they ask Maman, their grandmother tells in Haitian Creole "Ay, pit a men!" You never want good food, but maybe Ya Ya, Leen and Jaden could help fold her clothes from the clothesline.

Instead, they go find their Grandpop.  But he's busy moving his books and only has some vegetable knishes to offer if they will help him.

Now there is no one left to ask.  Will Leen ever get some cake for breakfast?  Maybe big sister Ya Ya has one more idea left.

Like so many kids nowadays, Ya Ya, Leen and Jaden come from a family and live in a neighborhood that is really a microcosm of multiculturalism.  And as the kids go from person to person on the quest for cake, the are offered something traditional from the family member's culture and the opportunity for further discussion about each one.  One of the best things about this book, though, is how well the siblings get along.    

I Want Cake is based on the storytelling author Daniel Kairys's noticed his own children making up and who he writes in his Dedication, are the icing on his cake.  So, perhaps the reason this book will capture the imagination of young readers is because this story comes right from minds of kids themselves.

The illustrations is quite striking.  Artist Jo Ann Kairys took photographs of what I assume are the Kairys children Ya Ya, Leen and Jaden and are layered over brightly colored painted and collage illustrations.  From these, these mixed media illustrations off depth and lots more detail that should really spark some conversations.

YaYa, Leen, Jaden and Mom
Kids will surely delight in seeing themselves in this book, whether in the illustrations, or in the quest for cake.  And you will find a delicious recipe for a Vegan Vanilla Cake courtesy of Papa Ganache Vegan Bakery in Matawan, NJ.  And as much as I loved devil's food cake, some of the best cakes I have ever eaten have been vegan.

More about Multicultural Children's Book Day:

Our Mission: 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.The co-creators of this unique event are Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom and Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book/Audrey Press. You can find a bio for Mia and Valarie here.
Our Sponsors:
Multicultural Children’s Book day 2016 Medallion Level Sponsors! #ReadYourWorld

Our Co-Hosts: 
Multicultural Children’s Book Day has 12 amazing Co-Host and you can meet them here.


  1. Thanks for the review Alex! Great to participate in Multicultural Children's Book Day!

    1. You're welcome. It was my pleasure to review.

  2. Super review, Alex. Really enjoyed your take on this new picture book.

  3. Hello Alex, I love the sound of this book – such a fun idea and lots of new things to learn about. I also like the way the author describes his children as the icing on his cake – what a great saying. I feel just like that about my grandchildren but could never have explained it in such a way.

  4. Thanks for your review Alex. I have this book and I love the illustrations! Thanks for participating in MCCBD2016!

  5. Hi Alex !! Thanks for celebrating MCCBD with us!!! I'm a cake lover too and have eaten it for breakfast plenty of times. So good to know I have a kindred spirit in this endeavor. I love this book and I'm so glad you did too.

  6. We really enjoyed reading this book and the illustrations were delightful! I know I am late, but THANK YOU for participating in MCCBD2016!


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