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Multicultural Children's Literature

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ariana amin

on 8 June 2017

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Transcript of Multicultural Children's Literature






Graduate Studies
(CSUS): Education
(Instruction & Curriculum)
(CSUS): Single Subject
(Social Science)
Bachelor of Arts
(CSUS): Sociology
: Middle East, Near East,
Islamic Studies


SJUSD EL Saturday Program
Salam Academy

Natomas Unified School District
- Eldercreek Community Center
- New Haven Unified School District

Multicultural Literature?
"Multicultural children’s literature is about the sociocultural experiences of previously underrepresented groups. It validates these groups’ experiences, including those occurring because of differences in language, race, gender, class, ethnicity, identity, and sexual orientation”
Why is multicultural literature important?
Ariana Amin

Culturally Relevant Curriculum: Challenging the Single Story Narrative
in Public School Classrooms

Students can see similarities between themselves and others – fostering understanding.

• Students become aware of prejudice and discrimination and can become active in its elimination.

• Promotes engagement, positive self-image, and affirmation of self for students belonging to minority groups.

• Formation of text-to-self connection.

Expanding Literacy Through Multicultural Literature
Implications of Multicultural Literature & Common Core/ELD Standards

• Include a combination of classical and contemporary literature and challenging informational texts on a variety of topics. The chosen texts must help students to “gain insights, explore possibilities, and broaden their perspectives" (CA Common Core 2014).

• The Common Core mandates specific content: classical myths and stories from around the world, Shakespeare, American literature, and foundational U.S. documents. This suggests we must include folklore and multicultural literature (CA Common Core 2014).
Multicultural Education Theorists
Gloria Ladson-Billings
Culturally Relevant Teaching: But That’s Just Good Teaching! The Case for Culturally Relevant Pedagogy

• Ladson-Billings explains the significance of culturally relevant
instruction to the overall academic achievements of minority
students in inadequately funded public schools.

• Her research emphasizes the importance of providing culturally
relevant literature as essential to acquiring sustaining knowledge,
especially for students in urban schools.

Paulo Freire
Pedagogy of the Oppressed

The Danger of A Single Story
Chimamanda Adichie

Historical Portrayal of Middle East/Muslim Culture in Text
• Generally ignored in literature
• Textbooks included generalizations or inaccurate information
• Information was from Western perspective
"So far as the United States seems to be concerned, it is only a slight overstatement to say that Moslems and Arabs are essentially seen as either oil suppliers or potential terrorists. Very little of the detail, the human density, the passion of Arab-Moslem life has entered the awareness of even those people whose profession it is to report the Arab world. What we have, instead, is a series of crude, essentialized caricatures of the Islamic world presented in such a way as to make that world vulnerable to military aggression" (Said, 1978).
Current Portrayal of Middle East/Muslim Culture in Text

Vague and inaccurate:
“Over-portrayal of deserts, camels and nomads” in the chapter on the Middle East. Even some well-intentioned teachers use the Bedouin image as somehow typifying the '[Middle Eastern] culture' " (MESA & MEOC, 1995).

Dominant Western Perspective:
“Apparently, when writing about topics that concern the Middle East, American writers do not feel any need to consult world area experts. As a result, several texts offer serious misinformation and frequently only America-centered perspectives” (Barlow, 1995).

Exclusion of narratives from Middle East/Muslim Perspectives
(Said, 1997).

Why is it Critical to Integrate Middle East/Islamic Literature into the Classroom?
• Opportunity for educators to rectify misinformation about the Middle East and Islam

• Cultural Relevancy: Provides Middle Eastern/Muslim American students a source of connection to curriculum

• Introduces all students to an accurate portrayal of a misrepresented group to bridge understanding and cooperation

• A source of empowerment for Middle Eastern/Muslim American students

Examples of Middle East/Muslim American Literature
Primary Grades

My Father’s Shop

(Satomi Ichikawa)
Age Range: Pre K- 3
Summary: A little boy in the Moroccan carpet shop meets tourists from around
the world and learns about different languages: English, Spanish, Japanese, French.

Travelling Man: The Journey of Ibn Batutta 1325-1354
(James Rumford)
Age Range: K-4
Summary: Rumford retells the story of Inb Battuta through pictures and maps weaving the
tale of not just a traveler in a world long gone, but of a man on his journey through life.

Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors

(Hena Khan)
Grade Level: Pre K-2
Summary: From a red prayer rug to a blue hijab, everyday colors are given special meaning as young readers
learn about clothing, food, and other important elements of Islamic culture, with a young Muslim girl as a guide.

The Big Red Lollipop

(Rukhsana Khan)
Grade: Pre K- 3
Summary: Rubina has been invited to her first birthday party, and her mother insists that
she take her little sister along. Her little sister demands to win every game and after the
party she steals Rubina’s party favor, a red lollipop. What’s a fed-up big sister to do.

Saving Kabul Corner

(N.H Senzai)
Grade Level: 3-7
Summary: Senzai explores the lives of Afghan immigrants in California. A rival Afghan grocery store
opens near Ariana’s family store, reigniting decades-old feud tracing back to Afghanistan. The cousins,
Mariam, and their newfound frenemie, Waleed Ghilzai, must ban together to help the families find a
lasting peace before it destroys both businesses and everything their parents have worked for.

Examples of Middle East/Muslim American Literature

The Complete Persepolis
(Marjane Satrapi)
Grade Level: 9-12
Summary: The graphic novel approach to this memoir makes the story of a girl growing
up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution even more poignant. As Persepolis examines daily
life in Iran, it also deals with a child's view of parents, friends, and old and new heroes —
all within the mixed framework of family, politics, and growing up.

Kite Runner
(Khalid Hosseini)
Grade Level: 9-12
Summary: n this shattering story of betrayal and redemption set in war-torn Afghanistan,
childhood friends grow up as close as brothers, but face dramatically different fates when
one flees to America after the Soviet invasion and the other is left behind.

Mornings in Jenin
(Susan Abulhawa)
Grade Level: 9-12
Summary: Forcibly removed from the ancient village of Ein Hod by the newly formed
state of Israel in 1948, the Abulhejas are moved into the Jenin refugee camp. There,
exiled from his beloved olive groves, the family patriarch languishes of a broken heart,
his eldest son fathers a family and falls victim to an Israeli bullet, and his grandchildren
struggle against tragedy toward freedom, peace, and home. This is the Palestinian story,
told as never before, through four generations of a single family.

Specific Example: Shooting Kabul
Shooting Kabul
(N.H Senzai)
Grade Level:
Adjusting to life in the United States isn’t easy for Fadi’s family and as the events of September 11th unfold the prospects of locating his sister in a war torn
Afghanistan seem slim. When a photography competition with a grand prize trip to
India is announced, Fadi sees his chance to return to Afghanistan and find his sister.
But can one photo really bring Mariam home?

Based in part on the Mrs. Senzai’s husband’s
own experience fleeing his home in Soviet
controlled Afghanistan in the 1970s,
Shooting Kabul
is a powerful story of
hope, love, and perseverance.

(Shooting Kabul
video trailer)
Shooting Kabul
4th Grade Lesson Plan
How Can You Integrate Middle East/Muslim American Literature in your Classroom Curriculum to Facilitate Discourse and Understanding?
Thank You
(A. Gopalakrishnana,
Multicultural Children’s Literature: A Critical Approach
, 2011)
He argues that in order to promote a socially just classroom, and
in turn society, students must read, understand and critically
evaluate context and information from the experience of the
Freire challenges the systematic “culture of silence” in education.
Teaching Strategies for English Learners
Green, R.
Five Key Strategies for ELL Instruction
. http://www.teachingchannel.org/blog/2013/10/25/strategies-for-ell-instruction
EL's face the double challenge of learning academic content & the language in which it is presented. At Stanford's
Understanding Language
, they found ELs benefit from instructional approaches that treat language and content in an integrated way that is designed to help them build the language skills they need to succeed.

Key Teaching Strategies:
Scaffolding Understanding
: Provide ELs with strategic type of scaffolding, such as graphic organizers, visual aids, peer or home language help, and removing the support as students' skills develop.
Purposeful Grouping
: Extended interaction with peers of varying degrees of English proficiency levels to provide ELs with a range of models for how to use English words/structures.
Background Knowledge
: To activate their existing knowledge about a topic. Helps some EL's fill in contextual information (such as American cultural details) that they may not have due to coming from different cultural backgrounds (i.e. Thanksgiving, Independence Day, etc.).
Extended Discussions
: ELs learn new vocabulary best through extended discussion with their classmates after reading or between multiple readings.
Valuing Linguistic Differences
: Learn about ELs home cultures and languages. Treat their cultural/linguistic differences as resources rather than obstacles.
Please complete the post training survey and submit to your presenter.
Group Activity

Divide into groups of 4-6 members grade/subject specific

Decide on group member roles:

Decide on one book you could utilize into your classroom curriculum.

Create a lesson plan using content from the book your group has chosen with an emphasis
on critical literacy and social justice


Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelists, Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice - and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country a critical misunderstanding.
Full transcript