Multicultural Children’s Book Day Book Review I – Vaccines Explained by Ohemaa Boahemaa

Happy Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2022! I am honoured to be selected as a book reviewer for Multicultural Children’s Book Day, and have been gifted a few digital books in exchange for my honest review, to promote book diversity on children’s bookshelves. Here’s the first one.


Multicultural Children’s Book Day Book Review #1

Vaccines Explained by Ohemaa Boahemaa

This book could not have come at a better time. The COVID-19 vaccine has just been approved in Australia for 5-11, so my child is being vaccinated soon.

I was gifted various language versions of this eBook, and have decided to read the Simplified Chinese- English version, since my child is learning English, Cantonese and Mandarin. She is learning Traditional Chinese characters, but I also expose her to Simplified Chinese characters, so it was not confusing for her when I read the book to her. I am a fan of bilingual books, especially when one is stronger in one language than the other, as it provides scaffolding. I even had a peak at the French and Spanish version to pick up some vocabulary from there. (I have a little knowledge of French and Spanish. )

Vaccines Explained does what its title says, and gives a great overview of vaccines- the history, how it works, and why they are important. It lays the facts out clearly and concisely, both via the narrative as well as the colourful illustrations, and can be easily understood by a young child.

There is also a glossary at the back of the book and it was useful to teach my kid vaccine related words in both English and Chinese. These words were in bold throughout the narrative, making it easy for me to point them out. As a heritage speaker I have some gaps in my expressive Cantonese vocabulary, and this book, being easy to read and bilingual has helped me to learn (and teach) vaccine-related terms and to talk about vaccines in Cantonese.

I was especially pleased to see illustrations of female doctors and scientists, as so many books feature male doctors and female nurses. I want my kid to know that girls can be anything they want to be. The book also features a diverse range of people – various ethnicity, various ages including young and old, with and without glasses, with a cane, in cultural attire and so forth. This was a good talking point for us, as I read through this book with my child. There were children getting the vaccination too, which is an important point for us.

The author, Ohemaa Boahemaa, is a public health expert originally from Ghana, who studied cellular and molecular biomedical sciences at John Hopkins University and Columbia University. She has a passion for making scientific and medical information accessible and easily understood as she believes (as I do too) that education is the key to making informed decisions.

Check out this video where she explains the importance of the book. (Also read the video description for the inspiring work she is doing. My child loved hearing about her.).

Indeed, vaccines are such a big part of most of our lives, especially the children. This is not just for the COVID vaccine, but also all the vaccines under the immunization schedule. While we have always explained to our child about them, a book might have made the concept of vaccines and immunity easier to grasp when she was younger. The book also provides links to further child-friendly information about vaccines, which would be useful for older kids who need more in-depth information.


Additional information about the book

There are thirteen language editions of the book available on the Language Lizard website, and possibly more in the works:

  • English only
  • Arabic-English
  • Brazilian Portuguese-English: Como Funcionam as Vacinas
  • French-English: Les Vaccins expliqués
  • Haitian Creole-English: Eksplikasyon sou Vaksen yo
  • Hindi-English
  • Korean-English
  • Simplified Chinese-English: 疫苗解读
  • Somali-English: Talaalada
  • Spanish-English: Todo Sobre Las Vacunas
  • Swahili – English: Chanjo Zaelezwa
  • Russian-English
  • Vietnamese-English: Giải thích về Vắc xin

The books are available in both digital and physical formats.

There is audio available in English and Spanish (accessed via a QR code) as well as extension activities including lesson plans (for teachers).

If you are looking for books to explain about vaccines and immunity to your young child, do check out Vaccines Explained.

You might also enjoy reading:


For More Information about Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2022 (28.1.22) is in its 9th 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 books into the hands of young readers and educators. MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves. Read about our Mission & History HERE.

FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day

MCBD 2022 is honoured to be Supported by

Check out MCBD’s Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest BoardJoin MCBD on Friday, Jan 29, 2021, at 9 pm EST for the 8th annual Multicultural Children’s Book Day Twitter Party! Be sure and follow MCBD and Make A Way Media on Twitter! 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.

2 thoughts on “Multicultural Children’s Book Day Book Review I – Vaccines Explained by Ohemaa Boahemaa

    • Cantonese For Families says:

      Thanks Mia. I’m glad you liked the review. The Multicultural Children’s Book Day is an awesome initiative and kudos to you and Valerie for your hard work, and I learnt quite a lot! Hoping that there will be more Traditional Chinese and Cantonese books next year. Happy Lunar New Year!

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