Toppsta - Childrens Books – Reviews

FCBG Children's Book Award Blog Tour: Mixed

4th March 2019

FCBG Children's Book Award Mixed by Arree Chung

We are absolutely delighted to be hosting, Mixed by Arree Chung, one of the four Picture Book titles in the 2019 FCBG Children's Book Award Blog Tour. It's our second year on this tour and we love supporting these awards. There are lots of other children's book awards (you can see all the Children's Book Awards 2019 Shortlists and Winners here) but the FCBG Children’s Book Award is the only national award voted for solely by children from start to finish. Members of the Federation of Children's Book Groups vote on the Longlist and then any children can vote on the Shortlist. So like Toppsta, it recommends books which children truly enjoy, rather than those books which adults THINK children should be reading. And the great news is, thanks to the generosity of the publishers, over 10,000 books are donated to hospitals, women’s refuges, nurseries and disadvantaged schools by the voting groups at the end of the process. Scroll to the bottom of the page for information on how you can vote and a run down of this year's blog tour.

So back to the book! Mixed is written by Arree Chung, a Chinese-American author-illustrator who grew up in California, USA. Having started his career at Pixar, in 2003, he decided to study illustration at the Art Centre College of Design in California and since then, has written and illustrated five picture books (you can see the other picture books by Arree here) but Mixed is his latest book, published by Macmillan Children's Books in 2018. 

Arree has his own Youtube channel and has posted some great videos including this one about how he creates picture books and how any budding author/illustrators can develop theirs:

He also has some great activities and colouring sheets over on his website. When contacted about the award, Arree kindly sent this back, "I'm thrilled that Mixed is a top 10 book and nominated for the FCBG Children's Book Award. My friends and family are people from all backgrounds so I wanted to tell a story about diversity and love. When we love each other like family, we truly make the world a more colorful place." 

If you're not familiar with Mixed, here's a lovely animated video of Arree reading the book (just to say, that this is the US version, the UK version uses the spelling "colour").

Like many picture books, Mixed works on many different levels. From a child's perspective it is a beautifully simple story, appropriate for all ages. 

"In the beginning, there were three colours: Reds, Yellows and Blues."

And as the story develops, it shows you visually how other colours are created,

"But Yellow and Blue loved each other so much, they decided to MIX"

Mixed by Arree Chung

Which, for a younger child is a lovely way of teaching colours, wrapped up in a story. And it doesn't stop there. Aside from the visual representation, it teaches new words, with their colour associations, such as "Jade", "Lavender" and "Amber".

But there is a deeper message here, about love and acceptance and this picture book would be a great way of opening up a discussion with older children about diversity and race, either at home or in the classroom. The simplicity of the illustrations and the sparse text means that it's very accessible and could be applied to either diversity in the playground or diversity in a global sense.

From an adult's perspective, this is a very timely message. Reading this with my children, I was overwhelmed by a sense that here we have an important message we're trying to communicate to children, which so many adults fail to grasp. You can't help but get to the end of this book and conclude that this should be essential reading for adults as well as children. Even the end papers communicate this, with the inside cover showing the primary colours and the inside back cover showing the many different colours.

This a brilliant picture book with a complex message (if you want to delve into it) and a book I would highly recommend for home or school. 

Thank you FCBG for letting us review it on this blog tour.

If you'd like to follow other blogs on this year's blog tour, you can find them below.

1st March 2019: Fiona Barker Blog - The Wondrous Dinosaurium by John Condon & Steve Brown (Maverick)

4th March 2019: Toppsta - Mixed by Arree Chung (Macmillan)

8th March 2019: ReaditDaddy Blog - The Last Chip by Duncan Beedie (Templar)

11th March 2019: The Reader Teacher Blog - What Do You Do If Your House is a Zoo by John Kelly & Steph Laberis (Little Tiger)

13th March 2019: FCBG Blog - Picture Book Round Up

The voting will open shortly here: and if you'd like to keep up with all the FCBG news, you can follow them on Twitter.

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