“Ethnic Books” – Blind Spot – Multicultural, Multiracial, Multi-ethnic Children’s Literature

Photo Credit:  mitikusa.net yoshiyasu nishikawa

Photo Credit: mitikusa.net yoshiyasu nishikawa

Education Week’s Early Years Blog reports that preschool teachers cannot name books with non-white protagonists, even as 40% of our students are non-white in the United States:

A group of more than 100 current and future educators in Shelby County, Tenn., could identify no tales about Asians, Native Americans, Latinos, or multicultural people, said Sabrina A. Brinson, associate professor of early childhood education and child development in the College of Education at Missouri State University in Springfield, Mo. Brinson published the outcomes in the Winter 2012 edition of Multicultural Education, a journal available by subscription.

Furthermore, a majority of the 113 participants surveyed—many of whom teach Head Start, which often caters to minorities—could name only two books about African Americans.

When we don’t see ourselves in literature, it becomes hard to connect to literacy.

I am not a trained early childhood educator, my licensure area is Kindergarten – Eighth Grade, but I do love Children’s Literature and am passionate about helping kids find images of themselves and their own families in literature.  So to do my part, I would like to highlight some books that celebrate African, African American, Asian, Latino/a, Native American, Middle Eastern and Multi-racial protagonists.  Look for the first post later this week.