Academic journal article The Journal of Negro Education

Beyond Heroes and Holidays: A Practical Guide to K-12 Anti-Racist, Multicultural Educational and Staff Development

Academic journal article The Journal of Negro Education

Beyond Heroes and Holidays: A Practical Guide to K-12 Anti-Racist, Multicultural Educational and Staff Development

Article excerpt

Beyond Heroes and Holidays: A Practical Guide to K-12 Anti-Racist, Multicultural Educational and Staff Development, edited by Enid Lee, Deborah Menkart, and Margo Okazawa-Rey. Washington, DC: Network of Educators on the Americas, 1998. 460 pages. $20.00, paper.

Reviewed by Donna R. Walton, The George Washington University.

Working in collaboration with the Network of Educators on the Americas (NECA), a team of editors with extensive backgrounds in educational equity, created this book in order to ensure that multicultural education is seen as more than merely "learning facts and information about people's experiences, cultures, and histories" (p. x). Comprised of lessons and readings submitted by teachers and students, Beyond Heroes and Holidays empowers its readers by laying the groundwork for a critical analysis of the underlying causes of the racism and inequality that exist in a multicultural society. By doing so, it serves as a guide for K-12 classrooms and staff development, and provides a framework for school reform efforts.

The profusion of lessons, critical readings, and classroom activities assembled in this book, drawn from the actual experiences of teachers and students, are certain to evoke interactive discussions. Each of the book's 10 sections focuses on an interrelated set of topical subjects. One section, for example, includes over 20 pages of essays and poems that explore homophobia, disability, and youth gangs. This reading is enriched by the inclusion of case studies, plans for guided classroom discussion activities, and numerous bars, graphs, and charts of useful data related to these topics. The book also includes a resource guide in which readers can find an annotated list of selected resources available on the Internet as well as information on how to obtain print and audiovisual materials.

Several of the topics covered in Beyond Heroes and Holidays can be easily adapted into classroom lessons that meet the needs of children from kindergarten through 12th grade, or they can be used as the foundation of more extended workshops and courses. A case in point is an exercise in personal cultural history, submitted by co-editor Margo Okazawa-Rey, that requires participants to be both interactive and reflective. …

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