Celebrating Diversity through Explorations of Arab Children's Literature

Incidents of terrorism and other forms of heinous violence around the world are so dramatic and painfully wrenching that they often dictate change: in politics, in social convention, in battle, and in the classroom. The five years since the 9/11 attacks, in particular, have brought about huge shifts in the collective global view of Arabs, and it is certainly timely to examine how educators treat the literature of the people in that part of the world. While language arts teachers may feel like throwing up their arms in frustration at being asked to learn about yet another body of children's literature, it has never been more important to represent a clear-headed and balanced view of a people, their culture, and their literature. In the United States, Arabs and Arab Americans have become a minority of suspicion, and enormous misconceptions and biases exist about these people and their culture. Mindful of all teachers' efforts to establish cultural pluralism in their classrooms, the authors offer some guidance in defining these issues relative to children's literature that accurately reflects some of the cultural norms of the Arab world.

Al-Hazza, Tami and Lucking, Bob
Association for Childhood Education International
United States
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