Week 12: Multicultural YA Literature

An article called Multicultural Young adult literature as a form of counter story telling gives readers a understanding of how we can make Multicultural materials better represented. “Culturally relevant literature allows teens to establish personal connections with characters, increasing the likelihood that reading will become an appealing activity (Heflin and Barksdale-Ladd 2001, 818). It helps them identify with their own culture, and it engenders an appreciation for the diversity that occurs both within and across racial and cultural groups.” Multicultural literature is more than just a story about a culture, it is a way of communicating and connecting with readers who are from this culture and understand the stories that are being written. Teens can learn more about themselves and not feel so alone in the world. It is like their own voice through the pages and this can lead to inspiration.

Some works give one stereotype to a race or culture not realizing this will affect all kinds of people of that race or culture. For instance if a young black male is written as a scary, gangster type then the other types of young black males are ignored. What about the hispanic woman who are depicted as teen moms in literature? These kind of stories do not inspire hispanic women or young black males to read. As stated in the article, “It also allows teens in the majority culture to see how the world looks from someone else’s perspective. It challenges their assumptions, jars their complacency, and invites them to action.” Although this is about more than just getting teens to read, books are  how a lot of people like to escape from reality or get lost in a good story. They like to curl up with a book but can just as easily put it down if it is does not feel real.

Books like El deafo by Cece bell and Yaqui Delgado wants to kick your ass offer fresh perspectives that feel real as the story progresses. Knowing  there is a book out there about being deaf that can one day reach the hearts of new readers is a good feeling. As a future librarian, I hope to inspire readers by bringing people together by the  multicultural literature that should surround us.

Reference:
Hughes-Hassell,Sandra. (2013). Multicultural young adult literature as a form or counter storytelling. The Library Quarterly 83. No 3. Pages 212-228.

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