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Friday, January 31, 2020

The Magnolia Sword: A Bullad of Mulan Review - Multicultural Children's Book Day Book Review #MCBD2020 #ReadYourWorld

Being white with an Asian child, I've had to be more conscious of multicultural issues, especially since becoming a father. While it is nearly impossible to find books with characters specifically from Kazakhstan, except a dimwit named Borat, I've tried to find publishers with Asian-themed topics. These typically aren't one off books for a large publisher but instead a whole imprint with those topics in mind. If you're not familiar with the term imprint as far as publishing goes, it is basically the name of the publisher you see on the book. Like, for The Magnolia Sword, the imprint is Tu Books. Lots of times, these imprints are part of a larger publishing house, where just that smaller imprint has books more focused on diversity of characters. In the case of The Magnolia Sword, Tu Books is a part of a larger publishing house, Lee & Low. The difference here, though, is that all of Lee & Low is focused on diversity of characters. Tu Books is just those titles for a subset age range, specifically middle grade and young adult.

As far as The Magnolia Sword: A Ballad of Mulan goes, it is the story of a character who is not a Disney princess. They do share some commonality though, as they're both based on the Chinese Ballad of Mulan folklore where the main character goes off to fight against the Romans because dad is too old and brother is too young.   

I found the book itself to be an interesting read. While I'm somewhat familiar with the folklore, the book's story is told in totally different light here. Since the story is from the 5th century, there is no strategic advantage given in the vendor's site specifically.

Unlike Oprah's book club selection American Dirt, where the story is written by a women who identifies as white, but is writing about the story of a stereotypical Mexican immigrant, The Magnola Sword is written by an Asian who understands the cultural significance of the time period and writes about it accordingly. Diversity of producer

Now to get my son to read this. He just turned 13, so we hit the target age range perfectly.  He was an early reader, so even if more complex, he should be able to handle it. What would scare him the most though is the roughly three hundred and fifty pages of the book. He has read some books that long The sheer number of chapters sits at 23.
This book review is part of the Multicultural Children's Book Day event. Don't miss the 1/31 Twitter party.

*Read my Disclosure


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