ALAN v25n3 - A REVIEW ESSAY- Multicultural Literature for Children and Young Adults

Multicultural Literature for Children and Young Adults:
A Selected Listing of Books by and about People of Color, Volume Two, 1991-1996

Barbara FoulksBoyd

Horning, Kathleen T., Ginny Moore Druse and Megan Schliesman. Multi cultural Literature for Children and Young Adults: A Selected Listing of Books by and about People of Color, Volume Two, 1991-1996. Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC), 1997.

This annotated collection of multicultural literature is a thoughtful selection of children's and young adult books published in the United States and Canada between 1991 and 1996. This volume addresses most recently published books; volume one covered multicultural literature for children published from 1980-1990. The authors have defined multicul-tural literature as "books by and about people of color: Africans, Afro-Carribeans and African Americans; American Indians; Asians, Asian Pacific Peoples and Asian Americans; and Latinos" (p. 1). Over 500 books are included with a thorough and descriptive annotation of content and illustrations, consisting of approximately 150 words each. This is not a review of all published multicultural books but only those that "the Cooperative Children's Book Center recommends: high quality children's and young adult literature innovative in style, accurate in content, important in theme, and/or unusual in insight" (p. vii).

With each entry, the author, title, publisher, international standard book number (ISBN), and age range are listed. Entries are grouped by age, including categories as: Books for Babies and Toddlers, Concept Books (for the very young), Picture Books, Children (age ranges 7 to 14), and Teenagers (age ranges 11 to 16 to adult). Entries are also grouped by topic, including, among others: Seasons and Celebrations, Issues in Today's World, Understanding Oneself and Others, and Historical People, Places, and Events. An index allows the reader to easily locate an entry by author, title, or subject.

Appendices provide (1) the racial background of some of the people of color who created the books listed in the bibliography, (2) book titles and location (in the bibliography) categorized by the nation and ethnic or cultural group represented in the content of each book, and (3) resources and awards for multicultural literature issues. The authors demonstrate respect for and recognition that issues of race and ethnicity are complex and multifaceted. This is of particular importance in the identification and labeling of racial and cultural groups by specific subgroups, for example, American Indian cultures are identified by individual tribes, not by regional areas.

The authors have shown sensitivity to authenticity and appropriateness both in the areas of children's literature and multicultural issues and aspects. The Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC), in Madison, Wisconson, is "committed to identifying excellent literature for children and adolescents" (p. 99). The Center has outstanding collections, includes a book examination center and research library, and has expert staff in book arts, book evaluation, multicultural literature, alternative press publishing, and intellectual freedom. The Center is acknowledged as a leader and a catalyst for change in literature for children and young adults.

Barbara FoulksBoyd is an associate professor of Education at Radford University and a specialist in early childhood and elementary education. She is active in the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) and the Virginia affiliate.