PaperTigers 10th Anniversary: What a Smilestone!

The world of multicultural books doesn’t have geographical borders. Instead, it is generous in space, content and heart. ~ Nathalie Mvondo

The PaperTigers website went live in 2002 and has since become a major reference, drawing millions of visitors from around the globe, bringing children and books together, and engaging book lovers in topics related to multicultural children’s books and world literacy.

Having helped raise the Tiger from cub to young adult (2004-2010), I consider myself a permanent honorary member of its clan. Like a proud mama (one of them, anyway—it takes a village), I remember its first words and first steps; I remember my pride when it grew old enough to have its own blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts; and the moment it realized it could help alleviate the plight of others less fortunate by reaching out in more direct ways. I know I share with all who helped raise it (all dear, dear friends) a real pride and joy in how our cub has grown and matured.

With multiculturalism as its cornerstone and the Pacific Rim and South Asia as a special focus, and weathering the ups and downs of the economy, PaperTigers (PT) has evolved throughout the years from one person’s vision and another person’s unwavering belief and support––thanks, Elisa Oreglia and Peter Coughlan––to a full-fledged group of activities centered on multicultural books and access to clean water as ways to help better the lives of children and communities around the world (read more about PT’s international outreach program here).

In addition to all this great work, PT has also given me much, personally. The books I discovered during my many years as web managing editor were formative literature for both me and my daughter, who was always ready to listen to and read the review copies that crossed my desk. The worlds we both encountered and the things we learned from those books have left a cultural and emotional imprint in us and are now very much a part of who we are (and isn’t that precisely the power of books?). When teachers mention my daughter’s kindness, empathy, and respect for all living things, I think of PT and the role it has played (and continues to play, albeit less directly) in her upbringing, and I am deeply grateful. PaperTigers wasn’t just a job for me; it was a journey into the heartland of motherhood, into the heartland of the world and our shared humanity.

It is so satisfying and heartwarming to look back and realize that, in the past ten years, children in schools, libraries, homes and communities across the world have benefited from PaperTigers’ web resources and outreach program, and to know that I played a part in this reality. When PT was created, the world of resources dedicated to multicultural children’s books was very small. Ten years and many hard-working people later, PT stands in good company as a widely respected organization, as well as an inspiration for the development of similar endeavors.

Ten years… What a “smilestone”! Here’s to you, PT (Peter, Marjorie, Corinne, Tree, past and current bloggers, book reviewers and contributors). Thank you for all you have given me, without even knowing, and all the beautiful work you do.

Filled with memories of amazing books and remarkable people, I raise a glass of fresh, clean water in your honor––lucky that I am to have easy access to it. May more and more of the less fortunate people in this world soon have books, book memories and their own glassfuls of water to salute you with.

Happy 10th anniversary, my dear PaperTigers, and many happy returns!

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