Multicultural Children’s Book Day Book Review: The Case of the Portrait Vandal

Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCCBD) #ReadYourWorld

The Portrait Vandal



The MCCBD team’s mission is to raise awareness about the importance of diversity in children’s literature. Young readers need to see themselves within the pages of a book and experience other cultures, languages, traditions and religions.  The MCCBD team encourages readers, parents, teachers, caregivers and librarians to follow the fun book reviews, author visits, event details, and multicultural children’s book linky via the hashtag #ReadYourWorld on Twitter and other social media.

The co-creators of this unique event are Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom and Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book/Audrey Press.  Multicultural Children’s Book Day has 12 amazing Co-Hosts and you can view them here.


Thank you to MCCBD for providing this amazing event, and to Capstone Publishing for sending Steve Brezenoff’s The Case of the Portrait Vandal for me to review.


This is one of six books (at the time of this post) in Brezenoff’s newest series, Museum Mysteries.  He is also the author of many middle-grade chapter books, including the Field Trip Mysteries series, the Ravens Pass series of thrillers, and the Return to Titanic series.  Lisa K. Weber provides bright, colorful illustrations for the Museum Mysteries series.

Interest Level:  Grades 3-6

Reading Level:  Grades 2-3


The Museum Mysteries series:  Meet four friends solving crimes in the Capitol City museums where their parents work.

The Case of the Portrait Vandal takes place in the American History Museum where priceless artifacts are being vandalized.  The young sleuths work together to catch the culprit and clear Raining Sam from the suspect list.

The story is fast-paced and engaging as the reader gathers clues and makes (and revises) predictions along the way.  Students can jot down notes or draw a picture as they read – tracking the rooms, the clues, and their predictions.

Informational content weaves its way through the story as the kids search the museum for clues.  It’s fun learning quick facts about the different flags of our country in the Flag Room, the Articles of Confederation and the U.S. Constitution in the Hall of Documents, famous Americans such as Sally Ride, Sacagawea, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Parade of Great Americans, and U.S. bills and coins in the Currency Hall.  (Learn more about the American History Museum).

While they are working to solve the case, the culturally diverse detectives encounter situations involving prejudice and stereotyping.  Raining is referred to as “that Indian kid,” and Amal is told, “You’re wearing a head scarf.  I know what that means.”  Brezenoff has provided a great opportunity to bring these important issues into our conversations with children both during and after the story.

I created this poster and graphic organizer for identifying examples of strong character traits in the story.  You can download it here.



Discussion questions and writing prompts are included in the back of the book.  These are great for small group discussion and journal writing.

Check out more books in the Museum Mysteries series.


Multicultural Children’s Book day 2016 Medallion Level Sponsors! #ReadYourWorld

Platinum: Wisdom Tales Press * StoryQuest Books*Lil Libros

Gold: Author Tori Nighthawk*Candlewick Press,* Bharat Babies

Silver: Lee and Low Books*Chronicle Books*Capstone Young Readers

Tuttle Publishing ,NY Media Works, LLC/KidLit TV

Bronze: Pomelo Books* Author Jacqueline Woodson*Papa Lemon Books* Goosebottom Books*Author Gleeson Rebello*ShoutMouse Press*Author Mahvash Shahegh* China*Live Oak Media




  1. jumpintoabook on January 27, 2016 at 9:03 am

    Happy Multicultural Children’s Book Day !!!!! Your activities with these books are fantastic. I think they’re fun reads too. Thanks for sharing and celebrating with us.

    • julieyeros on January 28, 2016 at 5:27 pm

      Thank you! What a great event – I was thrilled to be a part of it.

  2. Jennifer Brunk on January 29, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    This looks like such a fun series of books! I really appreciate your character activity too. Thank you for sharing the book and printable!

    • julieyeros on February 3, 2016 at 3:39 pm

      Thanks! After reviewing this one, I’m looking forward to checking out more of the books in this series.

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