Children love to learn about other cultures and experience new concepts.
When they learn about other parts of the globe, it expands their mental palette and invites learning and awareness about the world around them. Multicultural literature is a great way to enhance children’s knowledge about the earth and those that inhabit it.
A 2008 study noted the significance of international education in a globally linked society (Crawford & Kirby). The need for global awareness is necessary for fostering a consciousness of worldwide citizenship. Kids often naturally identify with others and when they learn about them, empathy and world appreciation further develop as well as the ability to think about world issues.
Reading is a way to connect to other worlds. Usually, you can find a variety of free multicultural educational resources for any age if you check with a local library or school librarians and teachers.
Also look through online compilations like International Children’s Digital Library; Multicultural Education Internet Resource Guide; 50 Multicultural Books Every Child Should Read; and Multicultural Literature for Children.
In picking books it is great to steer them toward choices, but also let some self-selection happen. What cultures interest them? Let them lead a bit and then do some following up. Find other sources for them in the subject areas they pick, and you can also use activities to go along with their reading selections.
Providing opportunities to act out what they are learning increases knowledge that can be used as a springboard toward global mindfulness. For example, younger children may like to try out native arts and crafts based around a book, while adolescents may want to host a cultural feast in honor of their read. You can find some neat activities at Multicultural Education Through Miniatures and Multicultural Projects for Adolescents.
Supplying international literature can also help to raise environmental awareness. Children who connect with the understanding that the world is a vast and varied place in which they are an integral part can be more apt to realize the importance of their own influence. When you see the world with global eyes, you more appreciate the interconnection with it and the significance of adopting sustainable behaviors that benefit all.
Crawford, E.O. & Kirby, M.M. (2008, January). Fostering Students’ Global Awareness: Technology Applications in Social Studies Teaching and Learning, 2(1). Retrieved from: Journal of Curriculum and Instruction
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