Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2021: Northbound

Written & Illustrated by: 

Michael S. Bandy, Eric Stein & James E. Ransome

For ages: 6-9 years

Language: English

Topics Covered:

  • History
  • Segregation
  • Activism
  • Jim Crow
  • Own Voices
  • Memory


Summary: This book is a wonderful story taken right from author Michael S. Bandy’s memories of a train ride during a segregated childhood. Michael and his grandmother are traveling from Alabama to Ohio to visit family, and he sees a boy his age in a different train car. But, they can only sit together sometimes. A chain with a “Whites Only” sign goes up and down in between the train cars depending on the state they’re traveling through. This is confusing and unfair, but also what Michael knows.

This book was chosen for #ReadYourWorld MCBD 2021 because of the historical topics it discusses, and the person connection to the narrative. Michael Bandy has turned his memories into a trilogy of books, actively discussing the racism and life during Jim Crow. I think it’s really important for young readers today to understand that there are many people alive today that have tangible and emotional memories of segregation and Jim Crow era living. James Ransome uses his brilliant artistic skill to bring bright water colors and the emotion of making friends throughout the story to show how easily children connect with each other.

Unfamiliar with the event? Learn more about MCBD:

As we enter our 8th year, we feel that Multicultural Children’s Book Day has achieved their goal of shining the spotlight on all of the amazing multicultural children’s books available to our young readers, teachers, librarians, and parents worldwide.

With each passing year, not only has the event itself grown exponentially, this non-profit initiative has expanded to offline classroom programs, celebrations, and we now have a global reach.

To date, this non-profit has donated over 8,000 books to kids and that number continues to climb.

The Founders

Valarie Budayr is the CEO of Audrey Press and is an award-winning children’s author of The Fox Diaries: The Year the Foxes Came to our GardenA Year in The Secret GardenThe Ultimate Guide To Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, andDragons Are Real. She is passionate about making kids’ books come alive and is proud to be a play and reading advocate. Valarie’s mission is to inspire children, families, and communities to experience our world together while having fun.

Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom is a Harvard grad with a love of children’s books, and sneaking in teachable moments in art, science, math, foreign language, and language arts. Mia is passionate about getting kids excited about reading, and helping parents ensure that their child is successful at school.

This book was sent by Candlewick Press to me, before MCBD publishers were assigned. Coincidentally, I was assigned this book for the event, but all opinions are my own!

Michael S. Bandy

Michael S. Bandy caught the creative bug at a very young age. Growing up in the deep south, he would act out roles he had seen on television to an audience of chickens, hogs, and an old bovine named Bessie on the family farm (scary, but true).

Bandy had no idea that his experience working a tough crowd would pay off years later when he began hosting industrial shows for a number of demanding Fortune 500 companies. He has been involved with shows including the Silver Anvil Award–winning Drive For Conservation, Not For Men Only and EC1—Lets Clear The Air About Air Pollution. 

Bandy, a founding member of the comedy troupe Comedy Shorts, has written for the European animated children’s series Star Street and has worked as a writer and production consultant on Animation Tune Factory’s Muscle Dogg. With co-author Eric Stein, Bandy wrote the children’s book White Water and the award-winning script of the same name. Bandy and Stein also penned the scripts Man of the Cloth, The Messiahfrom Madison, and Lemonade, a Gordon Parks Award finalist. 

Bandy, has appeared in a variety of productions, including The Mighty Gents, Purlie Victorious, Wine in the Wilderness, A Raisin in the Sun, The Madwoman of Challiot, Jacques Brels Is Alive and Well in Paris, and The Smokin Room, which he co-wrote and produced. His film and video credits include Not My Cab Buddy, Untogether, and The New People. He was also a regular for the Cincinnati CBS local access programs Dr. Kincaid’s Casebook and Juvenile Court.

His promotional and marketing company, Singer/Bandy Group, consulted with Hanna-Barbera to develop Hanna-Barbera Family Favorites, a book series from Bantam Double Dell. His company also produced story boards for the MCA’s production of The Little Engine That Could and created animation cell art for the fiftieth anniversary of Woody Woodpecker for Walter Lantz Productions. His creative and marketing talents were also utilized on a project for former Heavyweight Champion of the World Riddick Bowe.

While at the University of Cincinnati, Bandy was an announcer for campus radio station WFIB. In addition to producing and performing with the Black Rose Theater Guild and Mariemont Players, Bandy wrote, directed, and was executive producer of the community student film A Tragic Thang, which won critical recognition. 

His professional and civic affiliations have included the Animation Art Guild; Weingart Partners, a homeless advocacy organization; and Southern California Youth Conference. Bandy has received commendations from the California State Assembly, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Pacoima Inner City Organization, and the United States House of Representatives.

Eric Stein

Eric Stein, (right) grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, believes his interest in film and television was unintentionally spurred by his mom’s decision to make their household TV-less. While he feels that some may find that a bit strange, he doesn’t think it’s as odd as growing up lactose intolerant in the Dairy State.

James E. Ransome

The Children’s Book Council named James E. Ransome as one of seventy-five authors and illustrators everyone should know. Currently a member of the Society of Illustrators, Ransome has received both the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration and the IBBY Honor Award for his book, The Creation. He has also received a Coretta Scott King Honor Award for Illustration for Uncle Jed’s Barbershop which was selected as an ALA Notable Book and is currently being shown as a feature on Reading Rainbow. How Many Stars in the Sky?and Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt were also Reading Rainbow selections. PBS’s Storytime featured his book, The Old Dog. Ransome has exhibited works in group and solo shows throughout the country and received The Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance award for his book, The Wagon. In 1999 Let My People Go received the NAACP Image Award for Illustration and Satchel Paige was reviewed in Bank Street College of Education’s “The Best Children’s Books of the Year.” In 2001, James received the Rip Van Winkle Award from the School Library Media Specialists of Southeast New York for the body of his work.  How Animals Saved the Peoplereceived the SEBA (Southeastern Book Association) Best Book of the Year Award in 2002 and the Vermont Center for the Book chose Visiting Day as one of the top ten diversity books of 2002.  In 2004 James was recognized by the local art association when he received the Dutchess County Executive Arts Award for an Individual Artist.  He has completed several commissioned murals for the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis, The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the Hemphill Branch Library in Greensboro, NC. He created a historical painting commissioned by a jury for the Paterson, NJ Library and a poster for the 50th Anniversary Celebration of Brown vs the Board of Education.  His traveling Exhibit, Visual Stories has been touring the United States since 2003.  His work is part of both private and public children’s book art collections.