It is essential to know how to choose high-quality works; but it is equally important to know which criteria are operative and which audience or objective is served by particular choices. It is also important to know what not to select and, more importantly, why and how such decisions are made and who is affected by those determinations. Systemic biases are conspicuous, but gauges of value based on unearned privilege or the freedom of a life lived unconsciously is a subtle distinction that typically is unappreciated. The accommodation of "traditionaquot; curriculum standards, therefore, must incorporate a reciprocal accommodation of selection guidelines for classroom, library, media and resource center, and teacher education materials.
The following recommended works epitomize instructional models for the practical application of new curriculum standards. Each volume is a treasure trove of the high-quality works that combine integrated curricula and social education.
With one exception (noted with an asterisk) "multiculturaquot; is used in an inclusive sense (that is, multiethnic, multiracial, and multireligious experiences are considered). Many cited works also explore the issues of physical or mental ability, gender, and sexual orientation. Regrettably, at present there is no recommended volume dealing exclusively or primarily with various Asian and/or Asian-American experiences.
Recommended Volumes for Materials Selection and Collection Development
Emery, F. L. (1995). That's me! That's you! That's us! Selected current multicultural books for children and young adults presenting positive, empowering images. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: The Multicultural Resource Center. viii + 362 pp.; $29.95 pap. An especially useful volume for classroom instruction, curriculum development, reference, and independent reading (by assignment or at will). Compiled with an introduction and numerous indexes by a former teacher, principal, and dean of instruction, this comprehensive, annotated bibliography of current multicultural literature for children and young adults contains more than 2,782 entries (of 1,172 titles).
Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., School Department staff. (1993). The African-American experience. Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc. vii + 139 pp., ISBN 0-15-3020-10-5, $9.90 pap.
An annotated bibliography of resources in history, multicultural education, and children's literature designed as a K-8 reference for parents and teachers. Included are Books for Parents and Teachers (with topics such as Africa and the Caribbean, United States History, and Contemporary Issues); Resources for Multicultural Education (with materials on Theory and Practice); and Award-Winning and Notable Books for Children (with fiction and nonfiction listings in a variety of subject areas).
Kirk, E. (1993). The Black experience in books for children and young adults. Ardmore, OK: Positive Impact. 112 pp., intro., app., ind. ISBN 0-9634900-4-4, $14.95 pap.
An interdisciplinary compendium of current titles and selected out-of-print resources with categories of achievers; history; folktales, legends, and myths; Africa and the Caribbean; picture books; fiction for beginning, middle, and young adult readers; poetry; music and the arts; activity books; and references. Also included are Coretta Scott King Award-winning titles, children's book awards, a publishers' directory, indexes, and listings of several titles useful for adults unfamiliar with the Black experience.
*Kruse, G. M., & Horning, K. T. (Eds.). (1991). Multicultural literature for children and young adults, 3rd ed. Madison, WI: Cooperative Children's Book Center. xiii + 78 pp., no ISBN, Bulletin No. 1923; $5 plus pstg. (in Wisconsin); $10 plus pstg. (elsewhere).
Highly regarded bibliography of bias-free, gender-fair titles (picture books, fiction, poetry, biographies, and nonfiction) compiled by noted children's librarians. Regrettably, in this work, "multiculturaquot; refers primarily to people of color.
Lindgren, M. V. (Ed. ). (1991). Cultural substance in literature for children and young adults. Fort Atkinson, WI: The Highsmith Co., Inc. xi + 195 pp., ISBN 0-917846-05-2, $29 pap.
Analytical essays, literary resources, and appendixes.
The commentaries by publishers, authors, editors, and critics of color on the availability and quality of published materials are especially valuable.
Manna, A. L., & Brodie, C. S. (Eds.). (1992). Many faces, many voices: Multicultural literary experiences for youth. Fort Atkinson, WI: The Highsmith Co., Inc. xxiii + 183 pp., ISBN
0-917846-12-5, $29 pap.
Informative articles from The 8th Annual Virginia Hamilton Conference on content assessment of culturally diverse materials. Includes annotated resource lists and a description of papers in the Virginia Hamilton Manuscript Collection.
Miller-Lachmann, L. (Ed.). (1992). Our family, our friends, our world: An annotated guide to significant multicultural books for children and teenagers. New Providence, NJ: R. R. Bowker. xiii + 710 pp.; ISBN 0-8352-3025-2, $44.95 lib. ed.
Critical bibliography of fiction and nonfiction includes references and resources not only for the American mosaic but also for the diversity within international ethnic communities. Of special value are James P. Comer's Foreword, Miller-Lachmann's Introduction, and the pedagogical apparatuses.
The Peoples Publishing Group, Inc. staff. (1994). The peoples multicultural almanac: America from the 1400s to the present. Rochelle Park, NJ: The Peoples Publishing Group, Inc. 171 pp., b & phot. ISBN 1-56256-199-5, $16.95 pap.; $15.55 for 10+ copies.
Isolated or "speciaquot; presentations of peoples and cultures (with emphases primarily on heroes and holidays) should be discouraged, but this perpetual calendar-based compendium of date-specific ethnic/cultural references is a useful way to integrate curricula or inspire activity-based projects. Featured are multiple daily listings (five entries for each day of the school year; one or two entries for each day of the summer) of the achievements, contributions, history, and interactions of African-, Asian-, "Hispanic"- (Latino/a), European-, and Native Americans. The ratio of males to females and the integration of the obscure and the famous, the commonplace and the extraordinary, the personal and the historical are impressive.
Rochman, H. (1993). Against borders: Promoting books for a multicultural world. Chicago, IL: ALA Books/Booklist Publications, 288 pp., pref., intro., b& phot. and artwork, n., ind. ISBN 0-8389-0601-X, $16.95 pap. ($15.25 ALA member price).
In spite of considerable flaws, this volume is recommended for its accomplishments: It is both an account of a personal journey of revelation (the author is a white South African now living in the U.S.) and a compendium of selection guidelines intended to inform rather than dictate. Unfortunately, however, ethnicity is too often equated with "oppression studies" and limited to "minorities"; discussions of "conflict" are limited to holocaust studies and apartheid, while references to persistent global animosities between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland, Armenians and Turks, Arabs and Black Africans, for example, are entirely absent; and entries are listed in distinct and rigid categories that belie the work's title and intent. Fiction, nonfiction, and videos for a variety of reading levels and areas of interest are included, and topics hold particular interest for the targeted group (The Hero and the Monster, Outsiders, Friends and Enemies, and Family Matters, for example). Criticisms of the author's premises aside, the books critiqued are noteworthy (for readers in grades 6-12), and the indexes are useful and admirable.
Schon, I. (1993). Books in Spanish for children and young adults: An annotated guide-Series VI/Libros infantiles y juveniles en Espaol: Una gua anotada-Serie no. VI. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press. xiv + 291 pp., bilingual pref., app., ind. ISBN 0-8108-2622-4, $35 lib. bdg.
Highly recommended compilation of fiction and nonfiction, bilingual books, and translations published primarily after 1989. An essential purchase for core collections or for collection enhancement in preschool through high school facilities. Also authored by Dr. Schon and available from Scarecrow are Books in Spanish for Children and Young Adults: An Annotated Guide/Libros Infantiles y Juveniles en Espaol: Una Gua Anotada in Series II/Serie No. II (1983; -1620-2, $22.50 lib. bdg.), Series III/Serie No. III (1985; -1807-8, $22.50 lib. bdg.), Series IV/Serie No. IV (1987; -2004-8, $29.50), and Series V/ Serie No. V (1989; -2238-5, $20 lib. bdg.). See catalog for additional titles which complement these.
Schon, I. (1994). Contemporary Spanish-speaking writers and illustrators for children and young adults: A biographical dictionary. Trans. from the Spanish by Jason Douglas White. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. 248 pp., pref., ind. ISBN 0-313-29027-X, $49.95 lib. bdg.
Biographical and bibliographical information on more than 200 individuals from Mexico, Spain, the U.S., and the Spanish-speaking countries of Central and South America are compiled in this reference. The greater value of this guide, however, is the personal author/illustrator commentary, the range of countries of origin and cultural frameworks, and the scope of literary/artistic coverage. Recommended as a selection sourcebook and cultural resource for classroom teachers, teacher educators, and librarians in school, resource, and academic facilities.
Slapin, B., & Seale, D. (Eds.). (1992). Through Indian eyes:
The Native experience in books for children, 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: New Society Publishers. viii + 312 pp., ISBN 0-86571-212-3, $49.95 cl.; -213-1, $24.95 pap.
This exhaustive compendium of in-depth essays, literary excerpts, lengthy reviews, annotated resources, with a selected bibliography and an annotated bibliography (the latter for young adults) is the definitive reference on the Native experience. The sensitive, informative lessons on materials analysis, however, are models of anti-bias evaluation for classroom teachers, teacher educators, resource personnel, librarians, and collection developers in all subject fields, serving all ethnic, racial, and religious groups at all age levels. This extraordinary work should be mandatory reading for all public- and private-sector education professionals.
Smith, K. P. (Ed.). (1994). African-American voices in young adult literature: Tradition, transition, transformation. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press. xxxv + 405 pp., intro. with text n. and ref., contrib. n., text n., ref., t., charts, fig., ind. ISBN 0-8108-2907-X, $45 lib. bdg.
Highly informative essays addressing author/audience identification, class consciousness and representation, Diaspora experience, gender, genre, and intergenerationalism. Included are discussions of identity and self-imagery; mother/daughter, father/son, and paternal relationships; poetry, periodicals, and supernatural and horror fictions; color, class, and adolescent consciousness. In spite of its title, this work contains myriad insights for professionals in preschool and K-12 environments.
Albrecht, L. (1993). Bibliography: Jewish/Palestinian Middle East peace perspectives (with a focus on feminist activist work). MultiCultural Review, 2(4),19.
Ford, M. T. (1994, July 18).
The cult of multiculturalism. Publishers Weekly, pp. 30-33.
Mitchell-Powell, B. (1994, December 12).The trouble with success. Publishers Weekly,
Torres-Saillant, S., & Hernndez, R. (Eds.). (1992). Minorities, education, empowerment. Punto 7 Review: A Journal of Marginal Discourse. [Special issue]. 2(2),
About the Author
Brenda Mitchell-Powell, formerly a language arts instructor, reviews books and contributes articles on literature, literacy, and education to several national and international publications. She is the Founding Editor of Multicultural Review.