What is Multicultural Literature and Why the Importance?

Children are like small sponges. They absorb everything. Books can have the most significant impact on a child’s mind as it allows them to unleash the full power of their imagination. Reading is among the most enduring influences on shaping a child’s social conscience and world view; therefore, it is essential that a child has access to literature that presents many cultures to them in a positive and encouraging light. These stories can help a child to appreciate not just a stronger understanding of him or herself, but others around them. We live in a multicultural world and giving them a positive and accurate insight into the ideas and values of people who offer a different perspective in society teaches them valuable lessons about tolerance, equality, and cross-cultural friendships. Conversely, multicultural literature can also help boost self-esteem in immigrant children who are looking for role models and representations of people who look like they do, while they seek to learn English as a second language. All too often, bookstores and libraries are stocked with mainstream books that don’t reflect all members of the community. Stressing a selection where multiculturalism is embraced, so that every child may learn about the cultures and experiences of everyone within that community, will benefit children of every background.

Books that put diversity at the forefront will go a long way towards developing strong and meaningful relationships, and incorporating an element of bilingual learning can introduce a child to seek out new languages other than their own. This also makes a world of difference for children who are learning English as a second language, as both situations can foster a more compassionate and substantial curiosity about other cultures for native-born and immigrant children alike. Some stories are universally relatable, and presenting them to children with a focus on diversity and cultural contrast can also discourage the typical stereotypes and often unfair depictions that only divide us, instead of bringing us all together.

Lectura Books is dedicated to providing accessible books for children as young as infants and toddlers all the way to teens. Our heartwarming, educational, and uplifting stories teach lessons about personal responsibility, love, and the importance of heritage and cultural tradition, all while maintaining a focus on English language learners and promoting parental involvement in reading and learning. These books can also be used in conjunction with The Latino Family Literacy Project, which helps teach parents how to become more actively engaged in reading with their children and improve English vocabulary together as a family, so that this new language can be used in the home, where a large part of a child’s learning a second language takes place.