Sie sind auf Seite 1von 4

Just like everybody, I was a child too, way back when I was 10 years old.

The thing that I always do when I was younger was asking questions about the people around me. Why am I a slightly tan than my friend Chai Man Lei? Why Loshneey does not eat beef like I do? I like beef! I think this applicable to all children. Children are much curious instinctively and enthusiastic learners than us. It is these kinds of simple questions that intrigue a childs mind. The environment that they live in is the closest stimulus for them to engage on a journey of discovery. As an adult, what should we do? Should we just watch idly from the side and let the children know the world on their own? No! The adults act as messengers to the children and spread the knowledge about the world to them. A great messenger possess the knowledge and information about the cultures around the world and able to present it to the children with no means of adding a one-sided or bias opinion about the culture. That is why the multicultural literature is greatly emphasised in the early part of childrens childhood because through story, we can nurture a spirit of understanding open a bridge to unity where the children treat each other with equality without any cultural or racist presumption getting in the way. Multicultural childrens literature is about the socio-cultural experiences of previously underrepresented groups. It validates these groups experiences, including those occurring because of differences in language, race, gender, class, ethnicity, identity, and sexual orientation. (Chapter 1: Introduction to Multicultural Literature, 2011) The notion that multicultural is important is true. According to The Cooperative Childrens Book Centre (CCBC) All children deserve books in which they can see themselves and the world in which they live reflected. I agree with this because through multicultural stories, a child can out himself in a position where the world he lives in revolves around many culture and lifestyles. We have to let them know that the Earth is a colourful painting and not a black and white comic. Furthermore, reading multicultural literature can help children gain a better understanding of people from other countries and ethnic backgrounds (Iglesia, 2012) I sometimes imagine that the lives we live in are represented through different shapes. A black boy may be living in a square box while a Chinese girl lives in a pyramid and I probably living in a cone. Though we have different shape representing us, we are still neighbours. As neighbours, we should hold the responsibility to love and care for each other as one community on Earth. The thing that matter is the interaction between these two selected individuals can create a learning experience and also bridged an understanding of one another.

The purpose of multicultural literature is to actually expose the children to the diversity of cultures and lifestyle around them. This kind of literatures which allow the children to imagine out of their tiny little box and compare their life with another person actually help in developing their interpersonal skills. According to Howard Gardner (2002), Interpersonal skills are one of Gardners eight frames of mind and it covers the ability of the children to understand and effectively interact with others. (REF) The multicultural literatures help the children to boost their confidence to socialize with their friends and open up to share their experience to others. Furthermore, multicultural literature possess the tool of informing and empowering children with the knowledge of cultures that circulate around the children and also cultures that are present throughout the world. According to Mingshui Chai (2006), To help students to empower themselves, we need activities that adopt an issue-driven approach and thought-provoking books that challenge children to think about issues that they may face. The teacher is responsible to choose a perfect book that provide new information about the world that the children do not know (inform) and then challenge the childrens mind with intriguing questions to let them think critically (empowerment) One of the example of a multicultural childrens literature is a wonderful book entitle Little Treasures: Endearments from Around the World written by Jacqueline K. Ogburn that enlightens the readers with various endearing terms used around the world. The book entails a page to page introduction of terms of endearment from one country to another. The loving words from all over the world spread out across the 32 pages with colourful and beautiful illustrations from Chris Raschka. Whether it is Fofinho which is cutie in Portugese or Dhanaya that means a part of my existence in Arabic, the book functions as one of the best multicultural literature for children. The variety of cultures presented in the book provides opportunities for the children to experience the worlds diversity and allows them to explore new vocabulary from different language and from different parts of the world. The connection of various cultures through language is one of the brilliant approaches to let the children discover the world. Sometimes, even adult are blind by their ignorance to see that the world is connected geographically and emotionally. In the book, there is a popular sentence that says, whether they say sweetie pie, mera chanda, angelito, or use their own special sweet names, they are all saying the same thing: I love you, child. This phrase catches my heart and I realise that the love of a parent have for their children is spread across the land on Erath. Thus, I know that we are not alone. In Malaysia, books that reflect the cultures and situation of this country are rarely found since our children books usually took the reference of American culture and British pop culture

(Lin, 2010).Why? Are we just too embarrassed to use our culture as the focus of a story or do we not bother to uphold our own traditions? The editor of OneRedFlower Press Daphne Lee (2010) which specialises in multicultural literature for children and young adults said that We lack quality literature for children reflecting our culture in all its diversity, In my opinion, Malaysian writers should reflect the society and culture in Malaysia because one of the thing a children love is the realization that part of his life is written in a story they read. This is true. Referring to Michele de la Iglesia (2012) saying about multicultural literature, Reading literature about people from other cultures has been proven to have positive developmental affects on children of all backgrounds. For the children of a specific ethnic minority, reading positive stories about their own ethnic group can increase self-esteem and make them feel part of a larger society. The similarity between the characters and the child who reads it is actually very important. In my stand, the similarity creates a connection between children and the character thus providing a strong foundation of focus and interest of the children towards the message that the story brings. An a example of book that able to promote an interesting connection to the children in Malaysia would probably be a book entitle The Five Chinese Brothers by Claire Huchet Bishop and Kurt Wies. It tells a story about five clever brothers from Chinese-heritage who holds different extraordinary ability. The brothers helped each other to escape a falsely-account execution until the villagers finally gave up and claimed that the brothers are innocent. Though the story may not set in Malaysia however, the story involve a certain minority Chinese population in Malaysia. This kind of book will let the Malaysian children to know a litt ebit of how a traditional Chinese people from China dress and look during the olden days. This book carries out a great lineage of cultural expect from the Chinese heritage and the plot is also funny and interesting. The best part of this book is that it includes the Chinese ethnics that the MalaysianChinese can relate to. The purpose of using this book is to let the children relate their surrounding environment with the story. All in all, the multicultural literature allows the children to explore and understand the people around them. A Malaysian child may now know that an English child eats Pancakes or waffles for breakfast instead of Nasi Lemak. A Japanese child probably aware that the phrase Aishiteru that brings the meaning I love you in Mandarin is Wo Ai Ni. Language, distance and seasons may separate us in culture, but through multicultural literature, the world is connected through understanding and accepting each others cultures.

REFERENCES

Bishop, C. H. (1996). Claire Huchet Bishop. United of State Of America: Puffin Publisher. Cai, M. (2006). Multicultural Literature for Children and Young Adults: Reflections on Critical Issues. United States of America: IPA publisher. Center, C. C. (2012). Multicultural Literature. Retrieved September 1, 2012, from http://www.education.wisc.edu/ccbc/books/multicultural.asp Chapter 1: Introduction to Multicultural Literature. (2011). Retrieved September 1, 2012, from http://www.sagepub.com/upm-data/34101_Chapter1.pdf Iglesia, M. d. (2012). Multicultural Literature for Children. ipl2 Pathfinder. Joyce Stallworth, L. G. (2006). Its not on the list: An exploration of teachers perspectives on using multicultural literature. International Reading Association. Lin, R. (2010). Telling our tales. Retrieved September 1, 2012, from http://thestar.com.my/lifestyle/story.asp?file=/2010/1/17/lifebookshelf/5062515&sec=lifeb ookshelf Little Treasures: Endearments from Around the World. (2012). Retrieved September 1, 2012, from http://www.pandelibros.com/?p=338 Ogburn, J. K. (2012). Little Treasures: Endearments from Around the World. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Books. Santrock, J. W. (2011). Child Developement (13th ed.). New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.