Multicultural Literature and Response

Affirming Diverse Voices

by Lynn Atkinson Smolen and Ruth A. Oswald, Editors


When multicultural literature is integrated into the curriculum, it enriches the context for learning in important ways, validating the cultures of individual students and developing understanding and respect across the student population. Consider that minority students make up almost half of public school enrollment, and it becomes clear why multicultural literature is such an effective teaching tool.

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Cover image for Multicultural Literature and Response

December 2010

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 453
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Librarian's Instructional Role/Curriculum and Instruction, K-12

This compelling book emphasizes the critical role of quality multicultural literature and reader response in today's schools and libraries.

All students need access to books in which they can see themselves—not just their physical appearance, but their culture and language, as well. Multicultural Literature and Response: Affirming Diverse Voices was written to help teachers and librarians find and use the best multicultural books in the service of reading comprehension and more.

Underscoring the necessity of selecting quality literature that authentically, sensitively, and accurately portrays different groups, the book defines multicultural literature and provides a strong argument for its importance in schools and libraries. Expert contributors guide users to multicultural authors and illustrators who portrays U.S. ethnic and cultural groups, and they suggest ways to integrate this literature with writing, fluency development, storytelling, and audiovisuals. Extensive lists of books and websites that feature multicultural literature, as well as of authors, illustrators, and publishers of multicultural literature, make it easy to include such works in programs across the curriculum.


  • Contributions from 29 experts on topics related to multicultural literature
  • Response activities
  • Writings and drawings by children in response to multicultural literature
  • References at the end of each chapter
  • A list of multicultural authors and illustrators
  • A list of publishers that feature multicultural literature


  • Shares information about outstanding authors and illustrators who write about diverse groups
  • Explains how to use multicultural books for the development of reading comprehension, reading fluency, writing, storytelling, and artistic expression
  • Shows how to select and use quality multicultural literature to develop PreK-8th grade students' awareness and appreciation of diversity
  • Suggests ways to enhance students' appreciation of literature about different cultural and ethnic groups through Internet sites, videos, DVDs, CDs, Playaways, and other media
Author Info

Lynn Atkinson Smolen, PhD, is professor of literacy and teaching English as a second language at the University of Akron, Akron, OH. She was formerly an elementary teacher and a Title I Reading teacher. Smolen authored a chapter on Latino folklore in Happily Ever After and has contributed articles on literacy and multicultural literature to numerous journals. In 2004, she was presented a Service Award by the Multilingual Multicultural Education Program, Cleveland Municipal School District, Cleveland, OH. She was awarded the Outstanding Teaching Award by the College of Education, University of Akron in 2000 and was the recipient of the Presidential Commendation Research Award by the Eastern Educational Research Association in 1995.

Ruth A. Oswald, PhD, is associate professor of literacy at the University of Akron, Akron, OH, with 25 years teaching experience in elementary classrooms. She coauthored a chapter on using written response for reading comprehension in Teaching New Literacies and has also published numerous articles on early literacy development. Oswald was co-recipient of the Outstanding Teaching Award in the College of Education at the University of Akron in 2007. In 2008, she was inducted into the Ohio Council of the International Reading Association Reading Hall of Fame.

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