Thu, Feb 17 5:30pm-6:30pm
1 day before
The Importance of Multicultural Literacy
Black history should be celebrated all year long. Multicultural literature serves as a powerful tool in enabling students to gain a better understanding of history and both their own culture and the cultures of others. Through this deeper knowledge, relationships can be strengthened, bridging the gap between students from diverse cultural backgrounds (Hseu & Hetzel, 2000).
Children's books, at their best, invite children to use their imaginations, expand their vocabularies and gain a better understanding of themselves and others. And, if the titles reflect the diverse groups of people in the world around them, children can learn to respect not only their own cultural groups but also the cultural groups of others. Children's literature serves as both a mirror to children and as a window to the world around them by showing people from diverse groups playing and working together, solving problems, and overcoming obstacles. At its best, multicultural children's literature helps children understand that despite our many differences, all people share common feelings and aspirations. Those feelings can include love, sadness, fear, and the desire for fairness and justice.
Tamara Shiloh is the author of two books in the seven-book series for children highlighting African American inventors and scientists Just Imagine...What If There Were No Black People in the World? as well as an elementary-grade picture book for Scholastic. She pens the weekly Black History column for The Richmond Post and has a podcast, Once Upon a Time in Black History.
Owner of the Multicultural Bookstore and Gifts in Richmond, Calif., Shiloh has a non-profit, Just Imagine KidZ, that offers after school and summer Black History programs and classes for kids. Teaching children about the history of Blacks in America has been her mission for more than 25 years. She is persistent with advising educators that Black History is American History and can and should be taught all year.
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