MCBD: #ReadYourWorld Book Review of Vy’s Special Gift by Ha-Giang Trinh, Illustrated by Evi Shelvia

Good evening all,

Today was Multicultural Children’s Book Day. If you haven’t heard of it or missed the Twitter discussion/party, hop on over and check out the beautiful discussions.

This my second year taking part in this amazing event and learning more and more every time! There are so many amazing books to discover as well as discussion to be had about children seeing their world represented in the book they read and learning about other cultures and experiences that are different from their own.

This year I had the absolute pleasure of being gifted the book Vy’s Special Gift by Ha-Giang Trinh, illustrated by Evi Shelvia to review. All opinions are my own. This is a stunningly beautiful book is filled with hope, kindness, creativity, and generosity, things we all need usually and need so much more in these harsh times in our world.

The story begins with a young girl, Ivy, running late to get in line for rice all by herself. She is concerned she won’t get rice but quickly focuses her energy on entertaining herself and other young kids who are waiting in line through songs, poems, and art. As the line moves slowly, we meet more wonderful characters who are beautifully drawn, mostly in black, white, and gray (the colors left for the more important parts like the beautiful imagination that comes from the songs, stories, and art). In the end, the Ivy’s fears are realized: there’s no rice left, but through the kindness of other, that makes me tear up just thinking about it, Vy is able to bring food to her family that night.

Sneak peek of this beautiful book

Beautiful and powerful books like there are so important to share with our children. For children who experience something similar, this book shows them they’re not alone. For children who are lucky enough to have never gone hungry, or close to it, this can help them become more aware, empathetic, and understanding. If you’re able, I encourage you to get a copy of this book to share with the children in your life.

Here is a photo of Ha-Giang Trinh writing and the information about the wonderful collaboration that created this story.

Ha-Giang Trihn was kind enough to share the inspiration for this story:

“I often draw inspiration from the real world and “Vy’s Special Gift” is no exception.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been many charities in Vietnam providing rice to low-income families at the grassroots level. The very long lines of people waiting to get their food rations left a strong impression on me.

Shortly after that, Room to Read organized a global workshop where authors and illustrators from 10 countries work together to produce the best stories for the children of their countries during the times of coronavirus.

During the brainstorm session, a common pattern emerged to me: the pandemic makes life difficult for everyone, but more for some than others. Those who are worse off, like children of low-income families in third-world countries, can have their whole future compromised. They may never return to school because they need to feed themselves and their families first.

I just couldn’t get that thought out of my head. Among the 40 ideas I drafted, it became one about a little girl standing in line to get a food ration during the pandemic. The setting is melancholic, but the story is hopeful.

When I discussed the idea with others during the workshop, everyone was enthusiastic about it, including the story coach of Room to Read. So I ran with it and finished it as “Vy’s Special Gift”.”

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2021 (1/29/21) is in its 8th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those book into the hands of young readers and educators.

Eight years in, MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves continues. Read about our Mission & History HERE.

MCBD 2021 is honored to be Supported by these Medallion Sponsors!

FOUNDER’S CIRCLE: Mia Wenjen (Prgamaticmom) and Valarie Budayr’s (

Platinum Sponsors: Language Lizard Bilingual Books in 50+ Languages, Author Deedee Cummings and Make A Way Media

Gold Sponsors: Barefoot Books, Candlewick Press, CapstoneHoopoe Books,  KidLitTV, Peachtree Publishing Company Inc.

Silver Sponsors: Charlotte Riggle, Connecticut Association of School Librarians, Author

Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Pack-N-Go Girls

Bronze Sponsors: Agatha Rodi and AMELIE is IMPRESSED!, Barnes Brothers Books, Create and Educate Solutions, LLC, Dreambuilt Books, Dyesha and Triesha McCants/McCants Squared, Redfin Real Estate, Snowflake Stories, Star Bright Books, TimTimTom Bilingual Personalized Books, Author Vivian Kirkfield, Wisdom Tales Press, My Well Read Child 

MCBD 2021 is honored to be Supported by these Author Sponsors!

Poster Artist: Nat Iwata

Authors: Author Afsaneh Moradian, Author Alva Sachs & Three Wishes Publishing Company, Author Angeliki Stamatopoulou-Pedersen, Author Anna Olswanger, Author Casey Bell , Author Claudine Norden, Author Debbie Dadey, Author Diana Huang & IntrepidsAuthor Eugenia Chu & Brandon goes to Beijing, Green Kids Club,  Author Gwen Jackson, Author Janet Balletta, Author Josh Funk, Author Julia Inserro, Karter Johnson & Popcorn and Books, Author Kathleen Burkinshaw & The Last Cherry Blossom, Author Keila Dawson, Maya/Neel Adventures with Culture Groove, Author Mia Wenjen, Michael Genhart, Nancy Tupper Ling, Author Natalie Murray, Natalie McDonald-Perkins, Author Natasha Yim, Author Phe Lang and Me On The Page Publishing, Sandra Elaine Scott, Author Shoumi Sen & From The Toddler Diaries, SISSY GOES TINY by Rebecca Flansburg and B.A. Norrgard, Susan Schaefer Bernardo & Illustrator Courtenay FletcherTales of the Five Enchanted Mermaids, Author Theresa Mackiewicz, Tonya Duncan and the Sophie Washington Book Series, Author Toshia Stelivan, Valerie Williams-Sanchez & The Cocoa Kids Collection Books©, Author Vanessa Womack, MBA, Author Veronica Appleton & the Journey to Appleville book series

MCBD 2021 is Honored to be Supported by our CoHosts and Global CoHosts!

MCBD 2021 is Honored to be Supported by these Media Partners!

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

FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Diversity Book Lists & Activities for Teachers and Parents

Homeschool Diverse Kidlit Booklist & Activity Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Activism and Activists Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Empathy Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Kindness Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Physical and Developmental Challenges Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Poverty Kit

Gallery of Our Free Posters

FREE Diversity Book for Classrooms Program

TWITTER PARTY! Register here!

Join us on Friday, Jan 29, 2021, at 9 pm EST for the 8th annual Multicultural Children’s Book Day Twitter Party!

This epically fun and fast-paced hour includes multicultural book discussions, addressing timely

issues, diverse book recommendations, & reading ideas.

We will be giving away an 8-Book Bundle every 5 minutes plus Bonus Prizes as well! *** US and Global participants welcome. **

Follow the hashtag #ReadYourWorld to join the conversation, connect with like-minded parts, authors, publishers, educators, organizations, and librarians. See you all very soon on Twitter!

Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

Thank you all for reading, sharing, learning, and growing, and I hope you consider joining in the conversation now and taking part next year if you weren’t able to this year! Please share in the comments what appeals to you about this book.


Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez

13 thoughts on “MCBD: #ReadYourWorld Book Review of Vy’s Special Gift by Ha-Giang Trinh, Illustrated by Evi Shelvia

  1. Loved your post, Kaitlyn…I connected with Giang also and posted about Vy’s Special Gift earlier this month…but I waited until Multicultural Children’s Book Day to share it on the MCBD linky. What a wonderful collaboration that was. It’s heartening to know that there are people who care about stories like this.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Kaitlyn, I have looked for a copy of this book and it doesn’t come up in any search but Good Reads. Not Amazon, Barnes and Noble or my indie, Powell’s. I put in a request for help finding a copy to my indie. I think my grandson would really like it! Please let the author know- Kelly

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Kelly this is so wonderful to hear! I asked Giang and she shared this:
      “Sorry I forgot to mention that you can read the book for free online:

      As far as I know, only the Vietnamese version will be”❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Isn’t Multicultural Children’s Book Day so wonderful? Sounds like the book you were paired with is absolutely amazing. I will go to the link and read it when I finish this.

    I came here after reading today’s Storystorm post about writing for children who have challenges in their lives, too. Seeing their struggles and writing a story that gives them hope is a precious thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree with you about Vy’s Special Gift. It is a very special book for all the reasons you gave. I was lucky enough to read it via a link in Vivian Kirkfield’s review.
    I also participated in #MCBD and am proud to be a part of it. While the world needs more diverse books, more people need to know about them too. This is a great way to get the word out there.


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