Examining Multicultural Picture Books for the Early Childhood Classroom: Possibilities and Pitfalls
Early Childhood Research and Practice 3 2, 2001 Fall, 31 pages
Children's picture books have an increasingly significant place in early childhood classrooms. Picture books that depict the variety of ethnic, racial, and cultural groups within U.S. society (known generally as multicultural picture books) allow young children opportunities to develop their understanding of others, while affirming children of diverse backgrounds. This paper discusses the possibilities and the pitfalls involved in the selection of multicultural literature for use with young children, examines two books featuring Mexican American protagonists to illuminate issues and problems in the images the books present of Mexican Americans, discusses some contemporary theories on race as ways of understanding such issues and problems, and considers possible actions for early childhood educators and teacher education programs to take.