Publication Year

2013

Keywords

literature, children's literature, multiculturalism, elementary curriculum, characters

Disciplines

Children's and Young Adult Literature | Comparative Literature | Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Educational Sociology | Elementary Education | English Language and Literature | Race and Ethnicity

Abstract

I am continuously exited and perplexed by the images included in elementary school textbooks. It seems as though in each picture, there is a multicultural representation of our culture: a Caucasian, an African-American, a Hispanic-American, an Asian-American, and a Mid-Eastern, or some combination of shades of hair and skin color dominates. The visual smorgasbord is complemented by names of characters in the books: Guillermo, Maria, Zara, Sarah, Ming and Amir. What is perplexing however, is the underlying question of whether or not children are taught enough of concepts of multicultural awareness to function in their world? In an increasingly globalized world, the need to raise awareness and be sensitized to other cultures is somewhat of a matter of urgency. Yet, it appears that for most people, it is not until higher levels of education, and in most cases, college, that students are introduced to some of these ideas. Through literary textual analysis, this project, in part, argues to undo some of these existing pedagogies and to introduce children at much younger ages to the negotiations of cultural difference. For example, how would it be if children in second grade were taught not only the fun and creativity of Curious George but also to appreciate the power imbalances between the man in the yellow hat and George? Using some of these ideas as a premise, I argue that it is of paramount importance that we infuse existing elementary school curricula with postcolonial pedagogies.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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