This Land Is Our Land: A Guide to Multicultural Literature for Children and Young Adults

This Land Is Our Land: A Guide to Multicultural Literature for Children and Young Adults

This Land Is Our Land: A Guide to Multicultural Literature for Children and Young Adults

This Land Is Our Land: A Guide to Multicultural Literature for Children and Young Adults

Synopsis

How do you select the best recent works of fiction, oral tradition, and poetry about African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic-American, and Native-American Indian experiences and traditions from the profusion of titles being published today? This annotated bibliography of titles for children and young adults published from 1985 through the end of 1993--with 60% published since 1990--provides a one-stop selection tool. The authors, who are recognized authorities in children's literature and have written six previous references, provide insightful critical appraisals of 559 books, as well as information about an additional 188 recent books and 90 earlier books of importance. An advisory board of librarians and teachers, each of whom specializes in the literature of a particular ethnic group, have provided expertise and guidance in the selection of titles.

Excerpt

This Land Is Our Land: A Guide to Multicultural Literature for Children and Young Adults involves books of fiction, oral tradition, and poetry published from 1985 through the end of 1993 suitable for young people from preschool through high school. It deals with four major ethnic groups within the United States: African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native-American Indians. It contains 570 entries on 559 books (a few are considered in more than one category, e.g., anthologies of both fiction and poetry). Also included in these entries is information about 188 other books by these writers published during this period. In addition, 90 related earlier books are cited to help identify the writer and amplify the information about the book. (We use the term “writer” throughout because retellers and editors are represented as well as authors.)

As teachers for more than twenty-five years of children’s literature to college students, most of whom are prospective teachers, we have long been concerned with the issue of quality in multi-ethnic books of imaginative literature. We ourselves have read and considered all the books included here and have judged them primarily on such literary values as plotting, style, and characterization. An example of how important evaluating such literary features can be appears with stereotypes. However sympathetically portrayed, stereotyped characters may engage the reader’s emotions but do not promote real understanding.

Our work has been aided by a board of advisors representing the four ethnic groups, all of whom examined lists of books we had compiled, pointed out those they found unsuitable, explained why, and added works they thought we should consider that were not on our lists. We found their advice invaluable, as we have found the suggestions of many other people who work with children, including our students. The final selections, however, have been our own.

Our biggest challenge arose in delineating the scope of inclusions in order to fit the allotted space. When we considered the number of books that have

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