As Age Increases Books Increase The Content Of Multiculturalism

2972 words - 12 pages

As Age Increases, Books Increase the Content of Critical MulticulturalismAccording to McLaren (1994), a critical multiculturalism must include both difference and sameness perspectives. Five books obtained from a recent web site titled Fifty Multicultural Books Every Child Should Know and presented in this essay attempt to embrace multiculturalism and pass it onto >the universal child=. Unfortunately, some of these books fall short of the expectation this web site leads one to place on these books. The books designed for younger children adopt a more conservative view, perhaps attempting to, as McLaren puts it, create a 'soothing balm= created so that a child will not lose their >innocence=. However, the books aimed for older age groups manage to present a more multicultural perspective in an effort to increase a child's educational outlook on the world.The books chosen from the preschool and five to seven age groups demonstrate a conservative position, as the Oxford Dictionary of Current English states, Amoderate, avoiding extremes@ (p.177). As mentioned by Daniels (2002) these books illustrate what many parents feel books should concentrate on, Athe happier side of life@ (p.161). The preschool book, Do You Know What I=ll Do?, is essentially void of the duality that McLaren assumes to be a critical multiculturalism. The book tells a story of what a little girl will do to make her younger brother happy. The tale is very obviously written by a typical North American. It incorporates all the seasons, mentioning that to make her brother happy, she will build him a snowman or bring him a shell from the ocean. This books describes a middle class, white female girl whom has all the opportunities she desires. The only stereotype that exists in this book would be the way the female is positioned, as it does not break the traditional boundaries usually set upon a female character (Bjerring, 1996). The little girl is continually attempting to please the male figure in this book thus demonstrating to the young female audience that females are the caregivers and generally dominated by a male figure. The last answer to Do You Know What I=ll Do? is that the little girl will grow up, get married and bring her baby for her brother to hug, further illustrating the constraints of female and the sexism of this book.The illustrations of this text maintain what Moebius (1986) states as Athe intangible and invisible@(p.133). From its illustrations the concept of love, the love the little girl has for her brother, is depicted. However, Moebius mentions that without illustrations, Apicturebook texts do not fare well@(p.132) but in Do You Know What I=ll Do?, the reader can understand and visualize the text and would be able to do so without the aid of the illustrations. Even the concept of love is available in the words of this book. Thus the illustrations neither complement nor limit the text, instead they merely put onto paper what one could imagine in the...

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