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Multicultural Literature

There is no single definition of the term "multicultural literature" as it is applied to books for children and young adults. At the CCBC, we use the term to mean books by and about people of color.

All children deserve books in which they can see themselves and the world in which they live reflected. Multicultural literature belongs in every classroom and library -- on the shelves and in the hands of children, librarians, and teachers. The challenge for librarians, teachers and others is identifying authentic, reliable books by and about people of color. This page is designed to provide resources to aid in that search.

The CCBC compiles annual statistics on the number of books published annually by and about people of color. Over the years, we've seen those numbers grow, but multicultural literature still represents a small percentage of the overall number of books published for children and teenagers.

CCBC Resources

CCBC Bibliographies and Booklists: We strive to integrate multicultural literature into all of our work here at the CCBC. All of our bibliographies include books by and about people of color. Of special note:

Other CCBC-recommended books: check out the Advanced Search feature of our searchable database of CCBC-recommended titles. You can search by broad multicultural categories (i.e.: African/African American, American Indian, Asian Pacific/Asia Pacific American, and Latino). You can combine this with a specific word (e.g., Mexican) to further target your search.

Native Peoples of Wisconsin: A CCBC listing of books about Wisconsin Indian nations. Includes a resource section on books by and about American Indians.

Small Presses of Color: A CCBC listing of small publishers devoted to creating books by and about people of color

Spanish-Language Literature Resources: A CCBC listing of resources for identifying and purchasing Spanish-langauge materials

Recommended Links

Selected sites offering critical information and perspectives, as well as children's and young adult literature awards with a multicultural focus

Recommended Reading

Selected Articles:

Higgins, Jennifer Johnson. "Multicultural Children's Literature: Creating and Applying an Evaluation Tool in Response to the Needs of Urban Educators." New Horizons for Learning 2002.

Caldwell, Naomi, Gabriella Kaye and Lisa Mitten. "I is for Inclusion: The Portrayal of Native Americans in Books for Young People." Program for the ALA/OLOS Subcommittee for Library Services to American Indian People,
American Indian Library Association, June 2007.

Horning, Kathleen T. "An Interview with Rudine Sims Bishop." Horn Book Magazine v. 84 n. 3 (May/June 2008): 247-259.

Perkins, Mitali. "Straight Talk on Race: Challenging the Stereotypes in Kids' Books." School Library Journal v. 55 n. 4 (April 2009): 28-31.

Selected Books:

Bishop, Rudine Sims. Free Within Ourselves: The Development of African American Children's Literature. Heinemann, 2007.

Fox, Dana L. and Kathy G. Short, editors. Stories Matter: The Complexity of Cultural Authenticity in Children's Literature. National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), 2003

Harris, Violet H., editor. Teaching Multicultural Literature in Grades K-8. Christopher-Gordon, 1992.

Harris, Violet H., editor. Using Multiethnic LIterature in the K-8 Classroom. Christopher-Gordon, 1997.

Kaleidoscope: A Multicultural Booklist for Grades K-8. (4 volumes) National Council of Teachers of English, various years.

Molin, Paulette F. American Indian Themes in Young Adult Literature. Scarecrow Press, 2005.

Seale, Doris and Beverly Slapin. A Broken Flute. AltaMira / Oyate, 2005.

Sims, Rudine. Shadow & Substance: Afro-American Experience in Contemporary Children's Fiction. National Council of Teachers of English, 1982.

Slapin, Beverly and Doris Seae. Through Indian Eyes: The Native Experience in Books for Children. Indian Studies Center, University of California, c1998




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