Critical Multicultural Analysis of Children's Literature: Mirrors, Windows, and Doors, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Critical Multicultural Analysis of Children's Literature

Mirrors, Windows, and Doors, 1st Edition

By Maria José Botelho, Masha Kabakow Rudman


354 pages

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"Children’s literature is a contested terrain, as is multicultural education. Taken together, they pose a formidable challenge to both classroom teachers and academics…. Rather than deny the inherent conflicts and tensions in the field, in Critical Multicultural Analysis of Children’s Literature: Mirrors, Windows, and Doors, Maria José Botelho and Masha Kabakow Rudman confront, deconstruct, and reconstruct these terrains by proposing a reframing of the field…. Surely all of us – children, teachers, and academics – can benefit from this more expansive understanding of what it means to read books." Sonia Nieto, From the Foreword

Critical multicultural analysis provides a philosophical shift for teaching literature, constructing curriculum, and taking up issues of diversity and social justice. It problematizes children’s literature, offers a way of reading power, explores the complex web of sociopolitical relations, and deconstructs taken-for-granted assumptions about language, meaning, reading, and literature: it is literary study as sociopolitical change.

Bringing a critical lens to the study of multiculturalism in children’s literature, this book prepares teachers, teacher educators, and researchers of children’s literature to analyze the ideological dimensions of reading and studying literature. Each chapter includes recommendations for classroom application, classroom research, and further reading. Helpful end-of-book appendixes include a list of children’s book awards, lists of publishers, diagrams of the power continuum and the theoretical framework of critical multicultural analysis, and lists of selected children’s literature journals and online resources.


"This book is particularly useful for teachers, teacher educators, and researchers interested in designing curriculum for reading children’s literature with a sociopolitical context in mind….By thoughtfully integrating both classroom practice and theory across the book, Botelho and Rudman equip readers with valuable reading strategies to "guide children in reading dominant discourses of race, class, and gender and identify how ideology is rendered in the materials they read" (p. 94)."--Language Arts

Table of Contents

Foreword, Sonia Nieto



Chapter 1 The Metaphors We Read By: Theoretical Foundations

Chapter 2 The Historical Construction of Children’s Literature

Chapter 3 Reading Literacy Narratives

Chapter 4 Deconstructing Multiculturalism in Children’s Literature

Chapter 5 Theorizing Critical Multicultural Analysis of Children’s Literature

Chapter 6 Doors to the Diaspora: The Social Construction of Race

Chapter 7 Leaving Poverty Behind: The Social Construction of Class

Chapter 8 Genres as Social Constructions: The Intertextuality of Children’s Literature

Chapter 9 Cinderella: The Social Construction of Gender

Chapter 10 Shock of Hair: The Endurance of Hair as a Cultural Theme in Children’s Literature

Chapter 11 Teaching Critical Multicultural Analysis

Further Dialogue with Mingshui Cai, Patrick Shannon, and Junko Yokota


Appendix A Children’s Book Awards

Appendix B Children’s Book Publishers

Appendix C Power Continuum: How Power is Exercised

Appendix D Critical Multicultural Analysis

Appendix E The Publishing Practices of the Mexican American Migrant Farmworker Text Collection

Appendix F Children’s Literature Journals

Appendix G Online Resources

About the Authors

Maria José Botelho, Ed.D., was a faculty member at the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education of the University of Toronto and is currently Assistant Professor of Literacy Education in the Language, Literacy, and Culture Concentration of School of Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Masha Kabakow Rudman, Ed.D., is Professor of Children’s Literature and Multicultural Education in the Language, Literacy, and Culture Concentration of School of Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

About the Series

Language, Culture, and Teaching Series

This series of texts for undergraduate- and graduate-level teacher education courses focuses on the intersections of language, culture, and teaching – specifically on how language and culture inform classroom practice. Books in the series are intended as primary or supplementary texts in the growing range of courses that address issues such as, but not limited to, foundations of multicultural education; multicultural children’s literature; teaching diverse populations; foundations of bilingual education; teaching English as a second language; and sociocultural issues in teaching.

The primary objectives of the series are to challenge traditional biases about diversity and about students of diverse languages and cultures, and to reframe the conventional idea of the textbook by envisioning classroom practice as critical, creative, and liberatory.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Multicultural Education
EDUCATION / Teaching Methods & Materials / Reading & Phonics