Multicultural Children's Literature in the U.S. Since the 1960s
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Multicultural children’s literature benefits children from minority cultures because it enables them to relate to characters and encourages them to value reading. This research project concentrates on the history of multicultural children’s literature in the United States, specifically focusing on how African American and Hispanic Latinx portrayals in American picture books have evolved since the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. It examines how poor-quality literature perpetuates stereotypes whereas quality literature is culturally authentic. The project discusses modern-day guidelines of quality multicultural children’s literature and explores the meaning of cultural authenticity. It draws on peer reviewed articles, content analyses of children’s literature, personal interviews, books, statistics from the United States Census Bureau and the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, and two picture books that exemplify multiculturalism. The statistics discussed in the project demonstrate that the amount of available multicultural children’s literature in the United States does not adequately reflect the minority population. The research project argues that since multicultural children's literature validates minority children’s experiences and helps children adjust to living in a culturally diverse nation, it needs to have a stronger presence in the literary world of the United States.