Thursday, October 21, 2010

Multicultural Literature

Show Way Written By Jacqueline Woodson in 2005

                                                Multicultural Children's Literature

                     Multicultural literature helps to introduce children to other cultures and enhances respect for other individuals. Children are able to learn about different races, cultures, and historical events. There are four major ethnic groups that have contributed to the world of multicultural literature which are, African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans. My focus for this blog is on African American stories, which are mostly based on oral storytelling and many have to do with slavery.
                   The book that I chose for this week's blog is Show Way written by Jacqueline Woodson.  I was first introduced to this author a couple of weeks ago and I hope that many of you will add her to your libraries.  I plan on using her for my author study because her work is important and teaches children valuable lessons. Jacqueline Woodson was born on February 12, 1963 in Columbus, Ohio.  Her family eventually moved to Bushwick Brooklyn, where Jacqueline grew up with her Grandmother.  Her work is filled with African American themes and is generally written for a young audience.  Show Way was awarded a Newberry Honor Award, which is given to prestigious children's books.
                Show Way is a relevant multicultural children's book because it tells a true story about the lives of women during the time of slavery, all the way up to the present.  Jacqueline wrote this story to provide her children with the knowledge of their family history. The story is told through nine generations of women in her family all the way up to her daughter Toshi.  The reader is first introduced to an unnamed girl who is sold away to her family at the age of seven and learns to sew quilts that show her the way to freedom, called show way.  As the story goes on, the daughters in the family learn how to sew the quilts and sell them for a living.  Near the end of the story we learn that some of the daughters learn to read, become teachers, and one in particular becomes a writer who sews quilts, and has a daughter named Toshi. Who is this, might you ask? Well it is the author, Jacqueline Woodson of course.  Each generation of women in her family passed down the knowledge of the quilt, to teach their children about their past and help them live better lives.
              This story was one that I will always want to share with my students.  Jacqueline Woodson does an excellent job of introducing children to the history of slavery and the affect it had on African American women. While reading, I was able to make many connections by thinking about my own family history and the traditions that have been passed down for me to learn and pass down to my future children. This story and its meaning can cross over many different cultures and it is extremely important to share.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading your blog this week. You did a good job on explaining multicultural literature. You described the story very well. "Show Way" does sound like it’s a good book. I would also share this book with my class. Allowing children to learn about slavery through a true story is very powerful. I could never imagine myself being sold to some other family. But there is a family member on my grandmother’s side who was sold away. During that time families in China were only allowed to have two kids and he was the third one. The family had no choice but to sell him. I believe in every family there is a story to tell regardless of race, or culture. That is why it is important to have a multicultural section books in the classroom library.