MCBD: Books and Bricks

Books and Bricks by Sindiwe Magona, Illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright


Published by Star Bright Books in 2017

A famous African proverb states “It takes a village to raise a child” but it also takes a village for a school to raise a school! Books and Bricks is based on a true story of Zerilda Park Primary School, in Cape Town , a community banding together to help their school succeed.

Manyano School is a school in Brown Veld Township, South Africa in a rough area. Many families are struggling to find work and there are issues around the school itself.  The fences have holes in them, vandals (skollies) are messing around in the school each night, breaking things, stealing things, until finally, they cut a whole in the school roof and steal computers. Everyone is devastated by the loss of potential education when these computers are stolen.

The principal invites the parents to come in the evening. He learns that the parents feel overwhelmed and unable to help the school with it’s vandalism and theft problem because they feel overwhelmed because of lack of work and other issues. The principal realizes that one way to help the parents is to allow them to use the school as a community center for meetings, and that’s when things get interesting. While discussing projects that the parents want to do for the community, it’s suggested that the fathers use the space to make bricks for the community. Then then fathers were able to sell the bricks and that allowed the community to make money. Once the whole community sees the school as a place FOR the community, the positive results radiated!

This is based on a true story, and afterword tells what Dr. Alistair Witten experienced while working to transform his school and community. He also gives a bit of a summary of what life was like under apartheid This book features Afrikaans phrases sprinkled throughout the books and a variety of historical notes and discussion questions.

The paragraph at the end of the afterword stuck with me. Educators are working to make sure that we meet our students needs, make them feel safe, and encourage them to stretch themselves, and it’s always empowering to hear voices speaking up for their students AND communities: “School should be a place where students feel safe and cared for. It should be a place where hard work and commitment are encouraged. And it should be a place where our children can dream their futures…and know that these futures can be achieved because their teachers and parents care and believe in them.”

FTC Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher, I received no monetary compensation for this review.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/18) is in its 5th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.  

Current Sponsors:  MCBD 2018 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board.

2018 MCBD Medallion Sponsors

HONORARY: Children’s Book Council, Junior Library Guild

PLATINUM:Scholastic Book Clubs

GOLD:Audrey Press, Candlewick Press, Loving Lion Books, Second Story Press, Star Bright Books, Worldwide Buddies

SILVER:Capstone Publishing, Author Charlotte Riggle, Child’s Play USA, KidLit TV, Pack-n-Go Girls, Plum Street Press

BRONZE: Barefoot Books, Carole P. Roman, Charlesbridge Publishing, Dr. Crystal BoweGokul! World, Green Kids Club, Gwen Jackson, Jacqueline Woodson, Juan J. Guerra, Language Lizard, Lee & Low Books, RhymeTime Storybooks, Sanya Whittaker Gragg, TimTimTom Books, WaterBrook & Multnomah, Wisdom Tales Press


2018 Author Sponsors

Honorary Author Sponsors: Author/Illustrator Aram Kim and Author/Illustrator Juana Medina

Author Janet Balletta, Author Susan Bernardo,  Author Carmen Bernier-Grand, Author Tasheba Berry-McLaren and Space2Launch, Bollywood Groove Books, Author Anne Broyles,  Author Kathleen Burkinshaw, Author Eugenia Chu, Author Lesa Cline-Ransome, Author Medeia Cohan and Shade 7 Publishing, Desi Babies, Author Dani Dixon and Tumble Creek Press, Author Judy Dodge Cummings, Author D.G. Driver, Author Nicole Fenner and Sister Girl Publishing, Debbi Michiko Florence, Author Josh Funk, Author Maria Gianferrari, Author Daphnie Glenn, Globe Smart Kids, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Author Quentin Holmes, Author Esther Iverem, Jennifer Joseph: Alphabet Oddities, Author Kizzie Jones, Author Faith L Justice , Author P.J. LaRue and, Author Karen Leggett Abouraya, Author Sylvia Liu, Author Sherri Maret, Author Melissa Martin Ph.D., Author Lesli Mitchell, Pinky Mukhi and We Are One, Author Miranda Paul, Author Carlotta Penn, Real Dads Read, Greg Ransom, Author Sandra L. Richards, RealMVPKids Author Andrea Scott, Alva Sachs and Three Wishes Publishing, Shelly Bean the Sports Queen,  Author Sarah Stevenson, Author Gayle H. Swift Author Elsa Takaoka, Author Christine Taylor-Butler, Nicholette Thomas and  MFL Publishing  Author Andrea Y. Wang, Author Jane Whittingham  Author Natasha Yim

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Scholastic Book Clubs: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/27/18 at 9:00pm.

Join the conversation and win one of 12-5 book bundles and one Grand Prize Book Bundle (12 books) that will be given away at the party!

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers:

Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators:

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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One thought on “MCBD: Books and Bricks

  1. Pragmatic Mom January 27, 2018 at 7:51 pm Reply

    Sounds like a wonderful solution. Thanks so much for sharing your great book review via the Multicultural Children’s Book Day linky and for being a reviewer!

    I hope you can join us tonight at our Twitter Party from 9-10pm EST. We will be giving away hundreds of diverse children’s books in the form of 13 book bundles. One will be given away every six minutes.

    The questions with the book prizes are posted here:


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