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Children's Literature Portraying Religious Diversity in the US

Introduction

As our nation continues to become more culturally diverse, it is imperative that teachers address the changing diversity in their classrooms. Many scholars have called for classroom teachers and teacher educators to embrace a culturally responsive pedagogy due to this influx of students from diverse backgrounds in the United States (Gay, 2002; Ladson-Billings, 1995; Phuntsog, 2001). 

Religion, a part of our multicultural landscape, is often avoided and considered uncomfortable or too controversial to teach.  

The books highlighted in this guide, Children's Literature Portraying Religious Diversity, were specifically chosen as quality books that focus on authentic expressions of religious diversity for children grades K-4.  Their selection emerged from an empirical study designed to:

  • Develop a rubric for evaluation of multicultural literature that represents religious diversity and can be used in early childhood classrooms.
  • Explore and select multicultural literature that represents religious diversity and can be used in early childhood classrooms.

These books represent but a small sample of powerful pieces of children’s multicultural literature that we believe fosters understanding and respect and can be used as a vehicle for raising children’s awareness of religions and religious traditions in our world.