It is very important for children to learn the life skill of literacy. Learning to read and write are the abilities which serve as the building blocks for other skills and knowledge. Having children read literature is one of the best ways to teach children how to read and write.
Children’s literature can be instructive in more ways than one. Other than teaching literacy, literature could also instruct children on culture and society. Multicultural books are often written by persons of color from the context of their own perspective and culture. They are literature that features characters, knowledge, and themes from various cultures around the world, and can provide children with a lot of educational benefits.
Teaching Children to Learn about Different Cultures
Emily Dickinson wrote about how books can transport you all over the world without leaving the comfort of your own home. Multicultural books can provide children with an authentic and unprejudiced view of the culture and society of various people around the world. They could learn about landmarks in Europe, life in Africa, and food and delicacies from Asia.
Reading multicultural books can teach children that various cultures differ from one another. People from different corners of the world differ in their religion, beliefs, traditions, and social customs. They could also highlight how people from all corners of the world may not have the same festivities and celebrations.
Recognizing Human Emotions and Removing Stereotypes
Since multicultural books often hold stories where the characters are children from different cultures, it will be easier for children to relate to the characters. They could recognize the human emotions that the characters are experiencing and understand the challenges that they face. Multicultural books can also teach that although children from other cultures may be different, they could identify that there are universal experiences as well that all children go through.
Multicultural books are also highly effective in teaching students to recognize cultural and social stereotypes and so that they can choose to move away from them. People from different cultures should not be defined by racial slurs or stigmatized characteristics such as the politeness of Canadians or Asians being bad drivers. Reading multicultural book can teach children to dispose of these stereotypes early on.
Teaching Understanding and Respect for other Cultures
The most important reason why children should be taught to read multicultural books is that it will teach and influence them to understand and respect different cultures. Evident in the present world are fatal disagreements and conflicts due to the difference in culture and beliefs. Providing children with multicultural books and education can be the stepping stone needed to address these issues.
Multicultural education teaches children the importance of social and cultural diversity along with respecting them. Although people may come from different backgrounds and have different perspectives, uniting and working with them towards the common good is still possible. Multicultural books teach children that having differences should not be despised or feared; instead, they should be respected and celebrated.