Literature about thesocioculturalexperiences of underrepresented groups. This literature includes those who fall outside the “mainstream” of categories such as race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, language. This literature is written by those who are members of these underrepresented groups and those who fall within the category of “mainstream.”
*When was the last time you used a book by/about an underrepresented group?*In what context did you use the book?*How often do you integrate these books into your typical curriculum?*Do you consciously consider incorporating these books into your curriculum?
Choices Annual Report 2011
Wereceived approximately 3,400 books at the CCBC in 2010. Of those,156 books had significant African or African American content102 books were by Black authors and/or illustrators22 books featured American Indian themes, topics, or characters9 were created by American Indian authors and/or illustrators64 had significant Asian/Pacific or Asian/Pacific American content60 books were created by authors and/or illustrators of Asian/Pacific heritage66 books had significant Latino content55 books were created by Latino authors and/or illustratorshttp://www.education.wisc.edu/ccbc/books/choiceintro11.asp
Shortage of books for newly independent readersShortage of books about contemporary African American children
Issues Surrounding Multicultural Literature
Authenticity (What is authentic? How do you know it when you experience it?)Insider/Outsider (Who has the right to tell a specific story? What are the socioeconomic/political implications here?)
Approaches to Multicultural Literature in the Classroom
Tourist—special holidays, study of a culture, special months, etc.Additive—pull in experiences and actual cultural insidersTransformation—reading to try and understand from the other perspectiveSocial Action—transforms students and brings them to action
“Categories” of Multicultural Literature
Culturally SpecificGenerically AmericanCulturally Neutral
Consider author/illustrator perspectiveAre the characters multidimensional? Recognizable? Not superficial?Do the illustrations depict real features? Is the story realistically resolved?Is the language authentic?If the characters have disabilities, are there reciprocal relationships? Does the story promote positive attitude towards/understanding of the disability? Does the character make choices? Are there high expectations for the character?Be sure to photocopy handout!
Why Do It?
Multicultural children’s literature offers representations and validation to/for groups that don’t typically have a voice.Those are members of a mainstream group become more aware of the true nature of our society and theirplace in it