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Multicultural Children’s Literature

Multicultural Children’s Literature
A Critical Issues Approach

April 2010 | 288 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Preparing K-12 teachers to address today's social, cultural, and critical issues using multicultural children's books

Written in an engaging style, this comprehensive text prepares K-12 teachers to address a wide range of contemporary social issues—such as violence, gender, war, terrorism, child labor, censorship, and disabilities—through multicultural children's literature. Each chapter includes sample lessons plans designed to encourage critical and creative thinking at the elementary and secondary levels and an annotated bibliography that makes it easy for teachers and librarians to choose multicultural children books that address specific critical issues.

Key Features

  • The evolution of multicultural children's literature is covered, including discussion of controversies and issues around its definitions and uses.
  • Reflection Questions for the Teacher provide readers with practical techniques they can use as they prepare lessons around a given critical issue.
  • Sample Response Lessons demonstrate how to address critical issues using multicultural literature in K-12 classrooms.  
  • An Annotated Bibliography at the end of each chapter lists specific multicultural children's books organized around each critical issue.

Part I: Taking a Critical Issues Approach
1. Introduction to Multicultural Children’s Literature: A Critical Issues Approach
Children’s Literature Defined

Multicultural Children’s Literature

A Brief Historical Overview

Role of Multicultural Children’s Literature in Today’s Schools

Critical Literacy and Multicultural Children’s Literature

Forming Issues Into and Through Critical Literacy Lessons

Reflection Questions for the Teacher

Sample Response Lesson 1.1: Forming a Critical Literacy Lesson Using Educational Drama

Examples of Responses to Lesson 1.1

Selected Annotated Bibliography


2. The Essentials and Foundations of Multicultural Children’s Literature
Tracing a Brief History of Multiculturalism

Multiculturalism to Multicultural Children’s Literature

Multicultural Children’s Literature and Levels of Multiculturalism

Defining Multicultural Children’s Literature

The Need for Multicultural Children’s Literature


Reflection Questions for the Teacher

Sample Response Lesson 2.1: Check for Authenticity

Selected Annotated Bibliography


3. Choosing Books and Reading Critically
Choosing Critical Children’s Books

Reader Response

Reading Aloud and Transactional Theory


As the Experts: Authors, Parents, Educators, and Teachers

Reflection Questions for the Teacher

Sample Response Lesson 3.1: Change Is Not Easy

Example of Response to Lesson 3.1

Sample Response Lesson 3.2: Negotiating a Deal

Selected Annotated Bibliography


Part II: Exploring Issues in Multicultural Children’s Literature
4. Responding to Censorship, Book Banning, and Controversies
What is Censorship?

Intellectual Freedom and the First Amendment

Why Are Books Censored?

What Does Censorship Really Do?

What do Authors, Publishers, Teachers, and Parents Say About Censorship?

Useful Resources

Reflection Questions for the Teacher

Web Sites of Organizations

Sample Response Lesson 4.1: Censorship

Selected Annotated Bibliography


5. Gender, Sexuality, and Equity
Gender Roles Portrayed in Children’s Literature

Children’s Reading Preferences

Gender Equity and Finding a Balance

Some Considerations and Recommendations

Children’s Books and Sexuality

Sexuality Portrayed in Children’s Books

Using Children’s Books to Promote Equity and Understanding

Reflection Questions for the Teacher

Sample Response Lesson 5.1: Gender Roles

Sample Response Lesson 5.2: Gender and Coming of Age

Selected Annotated Bibliography


6. Understanding or Justifying Violence
Defining Violence

Justifying Violence in Children’s Books

Steps to Counter Violence in the Media

Gang Violence

Traditional Tales and Violence

Real Life, History, and Violence

Understanding Violence

Reflection Questions for the Teacher

Sample Response Lesson 6.1: Violence

Sample Response Lesson 6.2: Violence

Selected Annotated Bibliography


Part III: Realities in Life and Multicultural Children’s Literature
7. War, Terrorism, Justice, and Freedom
Making Meaning: A Historical Perspective

Making Meaning: A Current Perspective

Making Meaning and Critical Connections

Using Children’s Books to Address War, Terrorism, Justice, and Freedom

Past Depictions

Current Depictions

Reading Authentic Accounts

Finding Resilience in the Face of Adversity


Reflection Questions for the Teacher

Sample Response Lesson 7.1: Exploring Issues of War Using Educational Drama

Example of Responses to Lesson 7.1

Selected Annotated Bibliography


8. Prejudice, Bullying, Abuse, and Other Challenging Situations
Defining and Discussing Challenging Situations






Child Labor

Reflection Questions for the Teacher

Sample Response Lesson 8.1: Poverty

Sample Response Lesson 8.2: Foster Care

Selected Annotated Bibliography


9. Disabilities and the Special Child
The Need for Representating Disabilities and Special Needs in Classrooms

The Special Child

Disabilities as a ‘Multicultural’ Group

Children Who Are Health Impaired

Reflection Questions for the Teacher

Sample Response Lesson 9.1: Children With Special Needs

Sample Response Lesson 9.2: Children With Special Needs

Selected Annotate Bibliography


10. Influences of a Digital World
The Internet, Television, and the Video Industry

Digital Age Literature

Computer Books and Programs


Reflection Questions for the Teacher

Sample Response Lesson 10.1:

Sample Response Lesson 10.2:

Selected Annotated Bibliography


About the Author
About the Contributing Author

This is a great text for my Literature for Children course. This text provides perspectives on critical multicultural analysis, which is the focus of my course.

Dr Kim Archung
School Of Education, Claflin University
December 2, 2010

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781506359359

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