Multicultural Literature for Children and Young Adults: Volume 2, 1991-1996

Multicultural Literature for Children and Young Adults: Volume 2, 1991-1996

by Ginny Moore Kruse, Kathleen T. Horning, Megan Schliesman

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Susan H. Levine
Two different approaches to multicultural literature make life easier for librarians in putting together curriculum support, developing programs, and expanding one's own awareness of diversity. This review was written and published to address two separate titles, Multicultural Literature for Children and Young Adults by Kathleen T. Horning, et al., and The New Press Guide to Multicultural Resources for Young Readers edited by Daphne Muse. The New Press is a "not-for-profit, public interest book publisher founded in 1990 [and] established to serve audiences traditionally neglected by mainstream publishing houses." Its guide has more than one thousand critical reviews for students in kindergarten through eighth grade written by more than one hundred writers and educators. Each review contains bibliographic information; the multicultural category or categories the book is about; special editions of the work (translations into other languages, sound recordings); related titles, in some cases; a synopsis; a more detailed review (250 to 500 words); teaching suggestions (in some); and an evaluation. All reviews are not favorable. There is some criticism, particularly of classics, e.g., Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, for its racism in the depiction of the happy, slave-like pygmies. The book is organized by themes to "promote broad use of these resources across the curriculum and across the cultures." Multicultural is defined much more broadly here than in the CCBC title. Racial, ethnic (including European), religious, sexual, and disabled groups are included. There is information on multimedia resources; a timeline of major events in children's literature; and interesting essays that are informative, sometimes controversial ( a look at gender and ethnic stereotyping in recent Disney animated films), but always thought provoking (the Herbert Kohl essay on Rosa Parks is an eye opener). Drawbacks to the book include the small number of titles (basically only seventh- and eighth-grade titles-the categories are K-3, 4-6, and 7-8) that would be of interest to young adult librarians, the questionable inclusion/placement of titles (e.g., Bread Givers is pretty sophisticated for seventh/eighth graders, and one of the American Girls titles would be better in the fourth- through sixth-grade category instead of the older group), and the number of mistakes. Several that I saw were Francis Lea Block, Evelyn Cisneros for Sandra Cisneros, Yep Laurence for the reverse, and the resulting misplacement in the alphabetical sequence; and the lack of a street name in the address for the Washington, D.C., public library. The Cooperative Children's Book Center guide looks at multicultural books it recommends that were published in the United States and Canada between 1991 and 1996. A previously published volume looked at books published between 1980 and 1990. Multicultural has a much narrower definition in this book-"by and about people of culture"-and includes African, Afro-Caribbean, and African American; American Indian; Asian, Asian Pacific, and Asian American; and Latinos. Each entry includes bibliographic information, a short (several sentences) annotation, in many cases a one-sentence evaluation, and age level (covers age one through the teenage years). This is a more straightforward book-titles are arranged into sixteen categories (by genre or theme) with a detailed index and a separate listing of the books by ethnic/cultural categories (including individual countries and specific tribes). There is an additional listing of authors and illustrators of color by racial background. Both books have a section on the other reference tools devoted to multicultural literature and on literary awards. The two books vary in both of these listings, with the CCBC guide more limited and focused on books. However, the percentage of titles of interest to those working with teens appears greater in this latter book. The New Press book has a more attractive layout and more informative entries, is great for browsing, is more broadly defined, contains a greater variety of materials, has no high school level titles, is easier to use to get the titles for the age level wanted, but is harder to use to compile lists pertaining to specific racial/ethnic/cultural groups. The CCBC guide covers more ages, is narrower in focus, provides less information in each entry but still has good details, and has an easy-to-use appendix that categorizes titles by ethnic/cultural group. Index. Further Reading. Appendix. 1997, Cooperative Children's Book Center (4290 Helen C White Hall, 600 North Park Street, Madison, WI

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C. C. B. C., Incorporated
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