As a teacher, I always enjoyed the depth in which Patricia Polacco has written her books for children. I discovered a treasure when I happened across a copy of Tucky Jo and Little Heart. It is the true tale of the life of a young soldier and his relationship with a young girl who he only knows as “Little Heart” due to the heart shaped birthmark on her arm. Through their co-dependency in the surrounding circumstances, they become close friends who are able to help each other through many trials that effect his life and the lives of the villagers he is able to help. I would highly recommend this book to be used in the classroom especially for Memorial Day celebrations in which the hardships of soldiers in the field are seldom addressed after the fact.
The use of Multicultural books in and out of the classroom in this day and time is imperative. In today’s day and time, when so many children are coming from multi-racial and multi-cultural backgrounds, the need for them to see their reflection in books is one of the ways to encourage them to become life-long readers and learners as well. Maria Boles has written a wonderful article entitled The Effects of Multicultural Literature in the Classroom for her Senior Honors Theses in 2006.
In this article, she articulates the importance of children not only seeing themselves in literature, but being able to relate to the characters and situations that are a part of their own culture. This gives children an appreciation of their own culture heritage and past. While sharing literature in the classroom, I have always thrilled when the children connect personally with characters in the books. Nothing is more exciting than to hear them say, “We do that at our house.” Or “My grandmother did that for me.”
In order for children to engage in the reading process, they must be able to find themselves and their lives reflected in the books they read. Multicultural literature can open children’s minds, stimulate an understanding of diversity, and build an understanding of people in other cultures. Ms. Boles goes on to say “Literature is a powerful tool to weaken and dissolve racism.”
I could not have expressed my own sentiments about the importance of Multicultural Literature any better and applaud Ms. Boles for writing a masterful piece of work.
MCBD site: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/
Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta
Free Kindness Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teachers-classroom-kindness-kit/
Free Diversity Book Lists and Activities for Teachers and Parents: http://bit.ly/1sZ5s8i
Join the Twitter party (#ReadYourWorld) and book give-away January 27, from 9 p.m. – 10 p.m. EST. Multicultural, diverse and inclusive book bundles will be given away.