I think this is my fourth year reviewing books for Multicultural Children's Book Day ! If you need ideas for multicultural children...

'A-Train Allen' Book Review - Multicultural Children's Book Day


I think this is my fourth year reviewing books for Multicultural Children's Book Day! If you need ideas for multicultural children's books to add to your home or school library, MCBD is a great resource. They also have free classroom kits and other resources for bringing diversity into story time. Anyway, this year I was gifted a copy of "A-Train Allen" by Lesley Younge to review. This book was a grand prize winner of the Own Voices, Own Stories Award from the Cherry Lake Publishing Group. The Own Voices, Own Stories Award is offered every year to a new author from historically marginalized groups. This award helps get diverse books in bookstores and on bookshelves!

So first, let me say CONGRATULATIONS!! to Lesley Younge for winning the award and getting her book published. And now, I can tell you a bit about the book! 

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission on qualifying purchases - at zero cost to you. 

As soon as I read the title, "A-Train Allen," my brain immediately jumped to the song "Take the A Train" by Duke Ellington. If you're not familiar, go ahead and give it a listen! Because of that, before I even opened the front cover, I was transported to New York City - there may be A-Trains in other cities, but as a Jersey girl that's the one I'm familiar with!

One of the first things I noticed was the creative use of font - capital bold letters caught my attention, as did the assortment of words that all evoked movement and excitement. Barreling, flapping, bouncing, whooshing, flying, bounding, bolting, speeding...what an amazing example of using strong interesting verbs! How boring would the story be if Allen simply ran the whole time?? I recently did a literacy lesson with my kids focusing on using strong verbs in writing and I will have to use this book for a refresher!

Page after page, the illustrations took me right to New York. Kids playing basketball, a woman feeding pigeons, men playing chess...all things that could be seen in Central Park, or any number of New York's other parks. The streets are crowded, the sidewalk is crowded - that's the city alright! I will also mention that aside from the illustrations being bright and lively and full of movement, the people are racially diverse. 

One of my favorite pages shows a hot dog vendor squirting mustard onto a hot dog. You can't forget about dirty water dogs!! If you have no idea what I'm talking about, NYC hot dogs are sometimes called dirty water dogs because the water the hot dogs are kept warm in isn't actually just water, but a seasoned broth which makes it look like, you guessed it, dirty water. If you want to make your own dirty water dogs, try this recipe from Eat Like Men.

After all that running, Allen finally arrives at the elevated subway station and we discover what all the rush was about! I'm not going to tell you though, that would spoil the ending! Instead you can listen to Lesley Younge read it to you and find out for yourself. She also explains a bit about her inspiration for writing this book (and yes, I found out the illustrations are loosely based on the Bronx!). 

"A-Train Allen" would be a wonderful addition to a classroom or home library. I'm sure children who live in cities could imagine themselves in Allen's shoes and for children unfamiliar with big cities, this book is a fantastic reflection of the diversity and hustle and bustle of city life. I hope you all check out "A-Train Allen" for yourselves!

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2024 (1/25/24) is in its 11th year! Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen founded this non-profit children’s literacy initiative; they are two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural diverse books and authors on the market while also working to get those books into the hands of young readers and educators.

Read Your World’s mission is to raise awareness of the need to include kids’ books celebrating diversity in homes and school bookshelves. Read about our Mission and history HERE.

Read Your World celebrates Multicultural Children’s Book Day and is honored to be Supported by these Medallion and Ruby Sponsors!

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

🏅 Super Platinum Sponsor: Author Deedee Cummings and Make A Way Media

🏅 Platinum Sponsors: Publisher Spotlight, Language Lizard Bilingual Books in 50+ Languages, Lerner Publishing Group, Children’s Book Council

🏅 Gold Sponsors:  Barefoot Books, Astra Books for Young Readers

🏅 Silver Sponsors: Red Comet Press, Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Lee and Low Books, Cardinal Rule Press

🏅 Bronze Sponsors: CK Malone, Tonya Duncan Ellis, Anita Crawford Clark, Star Bright Books, Blue Dot Kids Press, Brunella Costagliola, Red Fin, Fabled Films 

🔴Ruby Sponsor: 🖍️ Crayola 

Poster Artist:  Rebecca Burgess 


Classroom Kit Poster: Barefoot Books 

MCBD 2024 is honored to be Supported by these Author Sponsors!

Authors: Gwen Jackson, Josh Funk, Eugenia Chu, Sivan Hong, Marta Magellan, Kathleen Burkinshaw, Angela H. Dale, Maritza M Mejia, Authors J.C. Kato and J.C.², Charnaie Gordon,  Alva Sachs, Amanda Hsiung-Blodgett, Lisa Chong, Diana Huang, Martha Seif Simpson, DARIA (WORLD MUSIC WITH DARIA) Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou, Gea Meijering, Stephanie M. Wildman, Tracey Kyle, Afsaneh Moradian, Kim C. Lee, Rochelle Melander, Beth Ruffin, Shifa Saltagi Safadi, Alina Chau, Michael Genhart, Sally J. Pla, Ajuan Mance, Kimberly Marcus, Lindsey Rowe Parker

MCBD 2024 is Honored to be Supported by our CoHosts and Global CoHosts!

MCBD 2023 is Honored to be Supported by our Partner Organizations! 

Check out MCBD's Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board!

📌 FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day

📌 Register for the MCBD Read Your World Virtual Party

Join us on Thursday, January 25, 2024, at 9 pm EST celebrating more than 10 years of  Multicultural Children's Book Day Read Your World Virtual Party! Register here

This epically fun and fast-paced hour includes multicultural book discussions, addressing timely issues, diverse book recommendations, & reading ideas.

We will be giving away a 10-Book Bundle during the virtual party plus Bonus Prizes as well! *** US and Global participants welcome. **

Follow the hashtag #ReadYourWorld to join the conversation, and connect with like-minded parts, authors, publishers, educators, organizations, and librarians. We look forward to seeing you all on January 25, 2024, at our virtual party!