|Type of paper:||Research paper|
|Categories:||Multiculturalism Child development Diversity|
There has been a lot of attention today given in regards to the diversity of children's literature which has shined light on lack of diversity giving reasons for the need of having literature that reflects on multicultural society. Professor and writer Gay Roxanne imposed a great challenge to the world when she reported that in 2011, almost 90% of the books reviewed by the New York Times were written by white authors. The world today has diverse cultures races and religions. The concern today is that children literature need to reflect their diversity but there has been dominated by Christian characters and white culture. Diversity in literature means having many products and library collection that refer to cultural diversity. Culture itself is defined as a shared characteristic that defines peoples thinking, lives and creates meaning. This paper revolves around the importance and potential of literature in children's social transformation when introduced to school curriculum more specifically in literature.
Roles in diversity are an important element in the Childs establishment and education because it creates a connection between the school environment and the outside world. Children's literature gives an important contribution to comprehending diversity and building their identity in the society. This reflects itself as a social performance that is steered by principles of equity and solidarity. Literature is the only way in which accurate guidance can be given which stands as a social responsibility to increasing diversity and also displays a relevant role in the transmission of principles. When literature educators and authors present their texts, it is predominantly presents feeling and emotions, articulating them with a constructive praxis which is also an important way of building an identity.
The education system in the United States today displays a colorful multifaceted pattern of students occupying desks. It is a good picture to look at but not in terms of literature because it reveals a monochromatic monotony that is widely dominated by white class character. For children that are able to identify themselves through the literature, it becomes an experience to them because they are able to affirm experience and elicit connections between their lives and the literature. For children who do not identify themselves with the literature feel that their reflections are absent hence possess a feeling of invisibility.
Children at the very young age of development are sensitive and receptive to the ideas and images encountered in the literature during their school experience. The stories and texts they read from books can have an influence on their believes, understanding and their motivation to read. Landt (22) indicates that what children read is important because of the influence it has on their developmental concept of self and what they hear also become part of their attitude. The children understanding and attitude to others are also predisposed by literature. When this literature is shared among children, it also offers them the exposure to ways of thinking about other human's beings. The child knows is that the texts and illustrations are combined creating a particular view of groups of people on individuals indicating their characteristics. It is important for children to always encounter literature that features on their lives and families and also different from their own. Children need to make the connection between characters who share similar problems and experience because it will build their capacity to make sense of the world and also how they view themselves and others. For instance, Susan (22) indicates that when children are presented with occasional books about ethnic or racial groups where the majority of the literature in on whites or white norms, it creates a picture and an impression, communicating to them that other groups are superior. It is important that literature provided ensures that children are able to make a connection and realistic review of their pluralistic society.
Landt (23) study indicates that literature is an important path for a child becoming a proficient reader. The reason for this is that children at an early age always relate to the content of literature for literacy to develop. When a child sees a self-reflected image of text it becomes a powerful stimulant to academic success because they will be motivated and build an interest in reading because they are able to make connections with the literature. It is through literature that children are able to create interests enticing them motivating them to continue reading and also enhancing their developing literacy skills. In this case, literature is viewed as a motivator and a key determinant of children reading success as indicated by Landt (23). Landt (23) indicates that white children who are represented in literature make more text to world, text to self and text to text than non-white children. When children are not able to relate themselves to the literature they are more likely to be frustrated rather than feel pleasure.
Social-cultural psychology which has been the work of Vygotsky informs that culture and language plays a significant role in the Childs identity and social development. Social practices and cultural traditions have the ability to moderate the way a child learns and thinks. The Childs view on culture and the overall belonging to the society is a factor that influences their self-esteem. Naidoo (2) indicates that children use express media which is for instance literature in books, movies or videos to understand the world. Yokata (67) acknowledges that the power of literature influences the child's perception and also serves as a mirror that reflects the child's life and culture or as a way they can be able to peer into others people's lives. It is from early childhood that children state to develop and getting informed about the world around them. Diversity in the literature that is in multiple cultures and languages has a positive influence on children self-image which Yokata (67) indicates that it helping them build bridges of cultural understanding. It is through the diversity of literature that children are able to meet cultural authentic material that allows them to meet people that they can relate to them hence developing an appreciation for the beauty of their culture and that of others.
Naidoo (3) submits that negative literature that provides inaccurate, categorized depictions of cultures and diverse languages has also influenced on the child development. When children are consistently and constantly exposed to literature that represents their culture and language negatively, Naidoo (3) indicates that it internalizes their social messages making them develop a poor sense of self. Literature is believed to be the earliest forms of education development reaching the children about diversity in the world.
Diversity in the literature which according to Naidoo (4) is referred to as 'library programming' allows children develop an appreciation of their culture and cultural literacy and that of other people. Presenting literature that offers programs that highlight linguistic and cultural diversity provides the children with opportunities of beginning to develop cultural competence and also the realization and appreciation of their cultures and contributing to other cultures. It is also a way of strengthening their interactions across diverse cultures and also lay an understanding to the children on how cultures are integrated within the larger society (Yokata 70). It is through the introduction of diverse culture that children will be able to promote cultural competence creating an environment where the positive sense of self is developed together with the larger world, and also making them be able to celebrate the events of people from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds.
Recognition welcomes children to connect, discover and explore the world where literature play a significant role in helping them respect and understand other people from diverse linguistic and diverse cultures. As improvements are laid on diversifying literature, it is important for children to understand their roles in culture and other people cultures in creating a global comprehensive culture reverential of differences. The importance of diversity in children helps them brand cross-cultural connection and develops skills obligatory to function in a culturally pluralistic society.
The only way of building cultural bridges is by integrating dependable modern children's literature on diversity into early education development to promote global understanding and cultural literacy serving and an introduction for children to rich cultures. Diversity in literature stands as the primary roadmap to achieving cultural competence and developing global understanding (Yokata, 70). It is through cultural responsive programs that diversity if accepted and understood based on ethnicity, culture, linguistic, physical ability, religion, and sexual orientation.
In conclusion, there is still more effort to be in providing children with access to diverse perspective as representation in literature. At the moment, the magnitude of the available literature does not provide equality and equity in terms of learning material for children development. It is clear the cultural diversity literature is needed today because it is the central point for children learning. These books on diversity need to be well selected based on high-quality literature which will have a positive impact on the child's sense of self and sense of others. The belief is that multicultural literature to be increasingly inclusive for diversity to be seen in future. The hope is to have a positive generation of the multicultural literature of writers and readers. It is through the introduction of diverse culture that children will be able to promote cultural competence creating an environment where the positive sense of self is developed together with the larger world. Social practices and cultural traditions have the ability to moderate the way a child learns and thinks. It is important for children to always encounter literature that features on their lives and families and also different from their own. Children need to make the connection between characters who share similar problems and experience because it will build their capacity to make sense of the world and also how they view themselves and others.
Landt Susan. Children's Literature with Diverse Perspectives: Reflecting All Students. Journal of the Children's Literature and Reading Special Interest Group. Volume 32, 2013, pp. 21-31.
Naidoo, Jamie C. The Importance of Diversity in Library Programs and Material Collections For Children. Chicago: Association for Library Service to Children, American Library Association, 2014. Internet resource.
Yokata Junko. Learning through Literature That Offers Diverse perspectives: Multicultural And International Literature. Chapter 7, pp 66-72.
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