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Multicutural Literature and Gifted Black Students: Promoting Self-Understanding, Awareness, and Pride.

In a multicultural curriculum, there are few stimuli with greater potential to move people to action than literature. Because it tells the stories of human events and the human condition and not simply the facts, literature does more than change minds; it changes people's hearts. And people with changed hearts are people who can move the world.

-- Rasinski & Padak, 1990, (p. 580)

Few educators would disagree that literature can have a powerful impact on students' lives. Many educators, namely teachers, have recognized the importance of books as critical sources of self-understanding and social understanding. Books have the potential and the power to help children to learn about themselves and others. Books are used in classrooms, for example, to teach not only basic academic skills, but also social skills. Most often, however, teachers use books for academic purposes, such as teaching and reinforcing basic literacy skills. In other professions, the role of literature in counseling is different. In the counseling profession, hundreds of articles have addressed how books can be used to increase students' motivation and engagement, to increase students' achievement, and to improve their sense of self (e.g., self-esteem, selfconcept, self-efficacy, etc.). This approach to self-understanding or insight, known as bibliotherapy bibliotherapy /bib·lio·ther·a·py/ (bib?le-o-ther´ah-pe) the reading of selected books as part of the treatment of mental disorders or for mental health.

, has also been recognized in gifted education Gifted education is a broad term for special practices, procedures and theories used in the education of children who have been identified as gifted or talented. Programs providing such education are sometimes called Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) or . Jeon (1992), Hebert (1991), Halsted (1994), Reis and Dobyns (1991), Frasier and McCannon (1981), and Frasier (1982) have compiled extensive lists of books appropriate for use with gifted students. Whereas Hebert targeted gifted males, Reis and Dobyns focused on gifted females, and Frasier focused on economically disadvantaged students. This article focuses on recommended literature for gifted Black and other minority students. The use of bibliotherapy with gifted students is described and recommendations are presented for using multicultural literature, along with guidelines for selecting high quality multicultural literature. An annotated bibliography An annotated bibliography is a bibliography that gives a summary of the research that has been done. It is still an alphabetical list of research sources. In addition to bibliographic data, an annotated bibliography provides a brief summary or annotation.  of 10 books in which the main character is a gifted Black student is listed, followed by a discussion of strategies for using multicultural literature with gifted students.

The Power of Bibliotherapy

The printed word as part of the solution of personal problems and the promotion of mental well being has a long history. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 Jeon (1992), early Egyptians considered literature to be the nourishment nour·ish·ment
Something that nourishes; food.
 of the soul. Even so, while counselors have recognized the power and potential of literature to transform lives, few educators have used literature to address affective affective /af·fec·tive/ (ah-fek´tiv) pertaining to affect.

1. Concerned with or arousing feelings or emotions; emotional.

 or socioemotional issues and concepts.

Bibliotherapy is a process of dynamic interaction between the literature and the personality of the reader (Moses & Zaccaria, 1969). Hoagland (1972) recognized the power of literature to fulfill needs, to alleviate pressures, and to help readers to develop personally. Essentially, bibliotherapy is both a strategy and a process, not a oneway transaction where the text sits passively on the page. In bibliotherapy, texts can be highly active, particularly if they present readers with an image of themselves (Fox, 1993).

In one of few books on gifted students and bibliotherapy, Halsted (1994) described four stages of bibliotherapy: identification; catharsis catharsis

Purging or purification of emotions through art. The term is derived from the Greek katharsis (“purgation,” “cleansing”), a medical term used by Aristotle as a metaphor to describe the effects of dramatic tragedy on the spectator: by
; insight; and universalization In social work practice and psychotherapy, universalization is a supportive intervention utilized by the therapist to reassure and encourage his/her client. Universalization places the client’s experience in the context of other individuals who are experiencing the same, or . In identification, the reader identifies with one or more of the major characters in the book. This sense of commonality com·mon·al·i·ty  
n. pl. com·mon·al·i·ties
a. The possession, along with another or others, of a certain attribute or set of attributes: a political movement's commonality of purpose.
 may be due to the reader recognizing similar personalities, experiences, and/or problems with the character(s). In the catharsis stage, readers experience some type of reaction or emotion as a result of identification. In other words Adv. 1. in other words - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
put differently
, readers experience emotions either first hand or vicariously vi·car·i·ous  
1. Felt or undergone as if one were taking part in the experience or feelings of another: read about mountain climbing and experienced vicarious thrills.

 based on the connection they make with characters or events in the literature. Catharsis is more than an intellectual recognition of commonalities, it involves an empathetic em·pa·thet·ic  

empa·theti·cal·ly adv.
, emotional reaction (Halsted, 1994). Thus, readers feel and experience the character's problems.

In the third stage, insight, the reader applies their life situation to that of the character(s). Readers not only recognize similarities between themselves and one or more of the book's characters and situations, they also begin to apply this new self-awareness and understanding to real life situations. For example, after reading a piece of literature on procrastination, readers may start applying strategies to stop delaying tasks. In the final stage, universalization, readers recognize that their difficulties and problems are shared by others and, as a result, they feel less isolated and alienated al·ien·ate  
tr.v. al·ien·at·ed, al·ien·at·ing, al·ien·ates
1. To cause to become unfriendly or hostile; estrange: alienate a friend; alienate potential supporters by taking extreme positions.

Our collective experiences as educators and/or counselors suggest that bibliotherapy can be particularly appropriate for and effective with gifted students for several reasons:

* Many (perhaps most) gifted students enjoy reading and are avid readers. Thus, bibliotherapy represents a good fit between students and this strategy.

* Some gifted students feel uncomfortable with their abilities. For instance, a gifted minority student may face negative peer pressure to achieve poorly in school. Many Black students are accused of acting white if they excel in school. (See Ford, 1996, for more detail). Similarly, some gifted females may experience negative pressures to lower their aspirations aspirations nplaspiraciones fpl (= ambition); ambición f

aspirations npl (= hopes, ambition) → aspirations fpl 
 (e.g., Reis & Dobyns, 1991), and gifted males may feel negative peer pressures to excel in sports rather than academics (e.g., Hebert, 1991). Reading literature about other students who are learning (and have learned) to accept their abilities and differences can be powerful for these gifted students.

* Some gifted students face unrealistically high expectations from others and may not feel comfortable sharing their concerns. For example, showing signs of weakness may contribute to some gifted students becoming perfectionists Perfectionists: see Noyes, John Humphrey. . Reading about gifted students who effectively handle pressures and failures can be empowering for gifted students.

As described below, selecting the right piece of literature is important in bibliotherapy. Topics that have the potential to interest gifted students might focus on learning to express feelings, setting realistic goals, making appropriate choices, handling competing pressures (peer, school, family), improving social relationships, being persistent, improving problem solving problem solving

Process involved in finding a solution to a problem. Many animals routinely solve problems of locomotion, food finding, and shelter through trial and error.
 skills, and coping with change (e.g., going to college).

The Power of Multicultural Literature

The images children glean glean  
v. gleaned, glean·ing, gleans

To gather grain left behind by reapers.
1. To gather (grain) left behind by reapers.

 from books have a powerful impact on their sense of self and their view of others. Books reflect appearances, relationships, thoughts, and feelings. In particular, multicultural literature offers minority children opportunities to see themselves in the materials they read. Books also act as windows, giving children an opportunity to look outside of themselves, an opportunity to see another person's perspective or another group's worldview world·view  
n. In both senses also called Weltanschauung.
1. The overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world.

2. A collection of beliefs about life and the universe held by an individual or a group.
. Multicultural literature has special appeal for all children. Through encountering children from other cultures and those with different lives, students learn to value the similarities and differences among people (Ford, 1998; Stoodt, Amspaugh, & Hunt, 1996).

Children reflect the culture into which they are born. When they attend school, children bring knowledge of the world that is unique to their cultural background, including their concepts of family, morality, rules, gender roles, and beliefs about culture. All of these factors play roles in students' adjustment to school and their crosscultural or multicultural competence. Because students' values and beliefs are modifiable, literature can influence these values and beliefs. Not all books, however, are the same. Books that are affirming have a positive influence on students' self-worth and identity, while books that hold stereotypes can have a negative influence (Ford, 1998; Ford & Harris, 1999; Tyson, in press). Likewise, books containing stereotypes can have a negative influence on students' views about others. In essence, multicultural literature has the power to serve as a catalyst for social action, for helping students to appreciate their similarities and their differences, and for increasing students' cultural awareness and sensitivity (Ford & Harris, 1999; Tyson, in press).

The number of multicultural books, or books with multicultural themes and culturally diverse characters, has increased in recent years, but still are few. In 1996, only 95 of the 4,000 children's books published were written by African Americans African American Multiculture A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. See Race. , representing approximately two percent (Cooperative Children's Book Center, 1997). Between 1991 and 1997, the percentages varied, but seldom exceeded two percent. Not all of these books met high literary anti-bias standards (see Figure 1). While less frequent, some recent books promote negative images and stereotypes of minority groups. For example, The Five Chinese Brothers (Bishop, 1938/1989) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Dahl dahl  
1. See pigeon pea.

2. or dal A thick creamy East Indian stew made with lentils or other legumes, onions, and various spices.
, 1964/1980) have been criticized for their cultural insensitivity in·sen·si·tive  
1. Not physically sensitive; numb.

a. Lacking in sensitivity to the feelings or circumstances of others; unfeeling.

 (e.g., stereotypes). Both portray minority groups in negative ways. Bishop's illustrations are very stereotypical and contain exaggerated features. However, teachers now have the option of choosing alternative versions of these books. One might use Mahy's (1989) The Seven Chinese Brothers, for example, whose pictures portray the Chinese brothers (and, thus, the Chinese in general) in a positive rather than stereotypical manner. Likewise, hundreds of versions of popular fairytales exist, all of which can give students a view of other cultures and their traditions, customs, values, and ways of living.

Figure 1
"Isms" or Attitudes that Diminish Us All

Ism or Attitude   Central Question

Ageism            Is a distorted picture frequently and
                   consistently given by showing older people as
                   silly, helpless, frail, mean, or useless?
Chauvinism        Is a belligerent demonstration frequently and
                   consistently shown of someone's zealous devotion
                   to a cause?
Classism          Is subordination, lack of dignity, and loss or
                   respect frequently and consistently shown for
                   someone because of social and/or economic status?
Elitism           Are persons frequently and consistently portrayed
                   as subordinate because of social position,
                   economic status, or lifestyle?
Ethnocentrism     Is the portrayal of events consistently and
                   frequently from the perspective of one
                   ethnic/racial/cultural group (often primarily
                   White and middle class)
Handicapism       Are persons frequently and consistently shown as
                   subordinate or inferior because of special needs?
Racism            Is one race/culture/ethnic group frequently and
                   consistently pictured/depicted to the exclusion
                   of others?
Scapegoatism      Is an image of someone/something consistently and
                   frequently shown with blame or failure assigned
                   to it?
Sexism            Is a limitation frequently and consistently shown
                   in the roles and options for one gender versus
                   the other?
Tokenism          Is a very limited number of one type/kind of
                   person shown frequently and persistently?
Religious         Is a malicious or false image frequently and
defamation         consistently shown that defamation injures the
                   good reputation of another's religion?
Stereotype        Is an oversimplified image frequently and
                   consistently shown, usually with derogatory
                   implications for all members of a group?
Propaganda        Is a slanted portrayal of information consistently
                   and frequently shown for the purpose of helping
                   or harming a group?

NOTE: One or two instances of these `isms' and attitudes are not worrisome. Frequent and consistent examples are troubling. Hence, the use of the terms/qualifiers 'frequently' and `consistently'. Adapted from Considine, Haley & Lacy (1994).

Strategies for Promoting Multicultural Awareness and Understanding Using Literature

One of the primary goals for using multicultural literature is that such books can teach children to empathize em·pa·thize
To feel empathy in relation to another person.
 with others. Sensitivity and empathy empathy

Ability to imagine oneself in another's place and understand the other's feelings, desires, ideas, and actions. The empathic actor or singer is one who genuinely feels the part he or she is performing.
 (an ability to understand the emotions and feelings of others) are two characteristics of many gifted students. Thus, high quality multicultural books can provide students with opportunities to learn to empathize with others, to understand another person's point of view. Three strategies that facilitate empathy are effective questioning, role playing role playing,
n in behavioral medicine, learning exercise in which individuals assume characters different from their own. The individual may also be asked to simulate a particularly difficult situation and apply the characteristics that are common to his
, and simulations. Questions help students to dig inside themselves to understand others (e.g., "How would you feel if you were Maria?" "How does it feel to be discriminated against?"). Likewise, when students are placed in life-like situations and asked to take on a character's role, they make connections with the character and issues (e.g., "Imagine that you are Marcia. Role play how you would handle the same situation."). Teachers can also create situations whereby students take part in a simulated experience (e.g., some schools have students re-enact re·en·act also re-en·act  
tr.v. re·en·act·ed, re·en·act·ing, re·en·acts
1. To enact again: reenact a law.

 an event from slavery or the Holocaust Holocaust (hŏl`əkôst', hō`lə–), name given to the period of persecution and extermination of European Jews by Nazi Germany. ).

Similarly, students can be encouraged and taught to think critically about literature. A defining characteristic of gifted students is their ability to think critically. Children will read biased materials, but they can learn to detect bias and to think more critically about hidden messages in what they read. Since gifted students are able to grasp abstract concepts at an earlier age than other students, teachers can capitalize on Cap´i`tal`ize on`   

v. t. 1. To turn (an opportunity) to one's advantage; to take advantage of (a situation); to profit from; as, to capitalize on an opponent's mistakes s>.
 students' ability to think critically. Rather than avoid addressing generalizations and stereotypes, students must be given opportunities to question generalizations, to identify stereotypes, and to analyze what they read (e.g., to make comparisons; to recognize cultural commonalities and differences). When reading a book with Black characteristics, teachers can ask, when appropriate(1), these key questions:

* "Do you think this situation applies to all Blacks

The All Blacks are New Zealand's national rugby union team. Rugby union is New Zealand's national sport.

* "This story portrays Blacks as unmotivated. Do you think this book accurately portrays all Blacks?"

* "What is a stereotype stereotype (stĕr`ĕətīp'), plate from which printing is done, made by casting metal in a mold, usually of paper pulp. The process was patented in 1725 by the Scottish inventor William Ged. ?"

* "Why do some authors continue to have stereotypes in their works?"

* "Under what conditions can we say that a generalization gen·er·al·i·za·tion
1. The act or an instance of generalizing.

2. A principle, a statement, or an idea having general application.
 is accurate?"

* "How do generalizations and stereotypes differ?"

* "People from all cultures are similar and different. What do you have in common with Marcia? How are you different from her?"

As shown in Figure 1, Considine, Haley, and Lacy (1994) identified more than a dozen `isms' and attitudes that diminish students by promoting negative images of others. These attitudes also engender en·gen·der  
v. en·gen·dered, en·gen·der·ing, en·gen·ders
1. To bring into existence; give rise to: "Every cloud engenders not a storm" 
 feelings of superiority for the person who holds them. These attitudes include sexism sex·ism  
1. Discrimination based on gender, especially discrimination against women.

2. Attitudes, conditions, or behaviors that promote stereotyping of social roles based on gender.
, chauvinism chauvinism (shō`vənĭzəm), word derived from the name of Nicolas Chauvin, a soldier of the First French Empire. Used first for a passionate admiration of Napoleon, it now expresses exaggerated and aggressive nationalism. , racism, ageism ageism Geriatrics A bias or belief that may be held by a health care provider that depression, forgetfulness, and other disorders are a normal part of aging and that older individuals will not benefit from treatment of mental disorders. Cf elderly. , eurocentrism, and others. To repeat, students should not be encouraged to accept these `isms' and negative attitudes, which may result if stereotypes and prejudice are not addressed in the curriculum (Ford & Harris, 1999). In the next section, we present an annotated bibliography of books that have gifted Black students as the central character; these books hold much promise for helping gifted Black students to cope effectively with their giftedness.

Annotated Bibliography of Books with Gifted Black Students as the Main Character

The following books have one or more gifted Black students as the central character. The books are similar in many ways but they are also different (Figure 2). For example, some of the students are academically and intellectually gifted, others are gifted in the performing arts, and others are street smart (defined by Sternberg, 1985, as socially competent, having practical intelligence or contextual intelligence). Four of the books have Black males as a central character, and three have middle class Blacks as one of the central characters. Several of the books have won awards, some of them have received multiple awards (e.g., Newbery, Coretta Scott King Coretta Scott King (April 27, 1927 – January 30, 2006) was the wife of the assassinated civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr., and a noted civil rights leader, author, singer, and founder and former president of the King Center in Atlanta, Georgia. , School Library Journal, American Library Association American Library Association, founded 1876, organization whose purpose is to increase the usefulness of books through the improvement and extension of library services. , etc). In most cases, the characters face a dilemma common to gifted Black students - they are forced to choose between the need for achievement and the need for affiliation (see Ford, 1996; Fordham, 1988). Several students are able to negotiate this dilemma effectively, but the road toward achievement and self-actualization is not always an easy one.

Figure 2
Features of Books with Gifted Black Students as the
                Central Character

Title             Central       Type(s) of
                  Character(s)  Giftedness

Yolonda's         Female        Academic,
Genius                          Cognitive,
                  Male          Music

The Gift-Giver    Male          Academic,
                  Female        Academic

Scorpions         Male          Leadership

Another Way       Female        Performing arts
to Dance                        (dance)

Blue Tights       Female        Performing arts

A Matter of       Female        Academic,
Color                           Cognitive

Maizon at         Female        Academic,
Blue Hill                       Cognitive

Fast Talk on      Male          Academic,
a Slow Track                    Cognitive

The Dear One      Female        Academic,
                  Female        Leadership

Like Sisters on   Female        Leadership
the Homefront
                  Female        Academic,

Title             Major Issue(s)

Yolonda's         One type of ability is
Genius            recognized and valued more
                  than another.

The Gift-Giver    Coming of age; self-pride; not
                  giving in to peer pressures,

Scorpions         Making choices and facing
                  consequences (e.g., choosing
                  between leading a life of crime
                  or achieving in other ways).

Another Way       Following one's dreams;
to Dance          coping with discrimination;
                  friendships across socio-
                  economic class.

Blue Tights       Following one's dreams;
                  coping with discrimination,

A Matter of       Following one's dreams;
Color             coping with discrimination;
                  coping with negative peer

Maizon at         Following one's dreams;
Blue Hill         coping with discrimination;
                  coping with negative peer
                  pressures; living up to family

Fast Talk on      Following one's dreams;
a Slow Track      coping with discrimination;
                  coping with failure; coping with
                  unrealistic family expectations,

The Dear One      Making choices; living with
                  consequences; following
                  dreams; having faith,

Like Sisters on   Making choices; living with
the Homefront     consequences; following
                  dreams; having faith,

Title             Main Idea

Yolonda's         All gifts are valuable.

The Gift-Giver    Use one's gifts wisely;
                  have self-confidence; don't
                  compromise one's values.

Scorpions         Make wise choices; think
                  of consequences of
                  decisions and behaviors.

Another Way       Dreams can come true;
to Dance          barriers can be overcome.

Blue Tights       Dreams can come true;
                  barriers can be overcome.

A Matter of       Dreams can come true;
Color             barriers can be overcome

Maizon at         Learn to accept abilities
Blue Hill         and differences.

Fast Talk on      Following one's dreams;
a Slow Track      believing in one's self;
                  learning to cope with family

The Dear One      The consequences of poor
                  choices can be overcome;
                  believe in one's self.

Like Sisters on   The consequences of poor
the Homefront     choices can be overcome;
                  believe in one's self.

NOTE: The types of giftedness summarized here focus on the five identified by the U.S. Department of Education (1993) - academic, cognitive, creative, visual and performing arts, and leadership. We recognize that leadership skills can be called 'social intelligence' (Sternberg, 1985) and `interpersonal and intrapersonal in·tra·per·son·al  
Existing or occurring within the individual self or mind.

 intelligences" (Gardner, 1983).

All of the books were compared to the `ism' criteria that appear in Figure 1 in terms of stereotypes, scapegoating, and other negative attitudes. For each book, the following questions were asked:

* What can readers learn from the book?

* What is the main idea or central message?

* Is the theme significant

* Are the issues realistic and relevant?

* Are characters well drawn and memorable?

* Are characters portrayed in authentic ways?

* Will readers be able to make connections with the characters and/or with the issues?

* Will the book enhance students' socioemotional development?

* Does the literature meet standards of high quality?

* Does the literature have any of the `isms' and attitudes listed in Figure 1?

* Will the book contribute to the students' development as a reader?

* Will it help foster a love of reading in students?

Fenner, C. (1995). Yolonda's Genius. New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
: Aladdin. (Grades 4-7)

Two gifted siblings siblings npl (formal) → frères et sœurs mpl (de mêmes parents)  are portrayed in this book. Yolonda is smart, tough, and big for her age. She has both book smarts and street smarts street smarts Vox populi Worldly wisdom and wariness in human interactions. Cf Social smarts. , and everyone values her giftedness. Her brother Andrew Anne van der Bijl (born 11 May 1928), known in English-speaking countries as Brother Andrew, is a Christian missionary famous for his exploits smuggling Bibles to communist countries in the height of the Cold War, a feat that has earned him the nickname "God's smuggler".  is also gifted, but in the performing arts. Yolonda is the only person who recognizes and values Andrew's giftedness. Others only see that Andrew doesn't learn fast, he has difficulty reading, and doesn't talk much. Yolonda reads the definition of `genius' in the dictionary and sees her brother. In this award-winning book, Yolonda goes on a mission - how can she open people's eyes to Andrew's talent? She finds a way. Eventually, her family, teachers, and community come to recognize that there are different types of gifts, all of which need to be recognized and valued. Readers may also learn that even gifted individuals have limitations.

Hansen, J. (1980). The Gift-Giver. New York: Clarion A family of application development systems for Windows from SoftVelocity, Inc., Pompano Beach, FL ( Clarion provides a comprehensive set of tools for development, including a screen builder, 4GL and application generator. . (Grades 5-7)

This is a powerful portrayal of 10-year-old Doris, a gifted Black girl, coming of age in an inner-city neighborhood. It is also the story of Amir, a gifted Black male, a gentle and wise loner loner Psychiatry A single young man estranged from society and family, who suffers from psychogenic pain, and tends to live 'on the edge', vacillating between aggression and depression; loners often have unrealistic goals, but are unable to work towards those goals , a new kid on the block who helps his classmates Classmates can refer to either:
  •, a social networking website.
  • Classmates (film), a 2006 Malayalam blockbuster directed by Lal Jose, starring Prithviraj, Jayasurya, Indragith, Sunil, Jagathy, Kavya Madhavan, Balachandra Menon, ...
 grow in self-confidence and in their understanding of others. Classmates are amazed a·maze  
v. a·mazed, a·maz·ing, a·maz·es
1. To affect with great wonder; astonish. See Synonyms at surprise.

2. Obsolete To bewilder; perplex.

 that Amir does not succumb suc·cumb  
intr.v. suc·cumbed, suc·cumb·ing, suc·cumbs
1. To submit to an overpowering force or yield to an overwhelming desire; give up or give in. See Synonyms at yield.

2. To die.
 to peer pressures, that he doesn't seem to care what others think of him. From Amir, students learn the importance of family, of setting high standards, of staying focused, and of academic achievement. The story offers a realistic and positive perspective on life in an urban neighborhood, and shows that a ghetto is a place where people can hope, grow, care, and achieve.

Myers, W.D. (1988). Scorpions. New York: Harper Trophy. (Grades 5-8)

Scorpions is one of Myers' awardwinning books that realistically portrays life in urban American. The main character is Jamal. His life seems to be in shambles, especially after his brother gets arrested. Everyone seems to be on Jamal's case - his mother, teachers, principal, and classmates. Whether Jamal is academically gifted is not clear, but he is gifted in other ways - he is a leader. After a series of small mishaps, Jamal and his best friend Tiro face the biggest dilemma of their lives - to join a gang in order to earn enough money for Jamal's brother's appeal. Jamal ends up making the wrong choice; his experiences present a realistic lesson on life and on the consequences of using one's abilities in unacceptable ways.

Simpson, D.E. (1995). A Matter of Color not of the white race; - commonly meaning, esp. in the United States, of negro blood, pure or mixed.

See also: Color
. Austin, TX: The Inspirational Pen. (Grades 7-9)

Twelve-year old Nadine is at a crossroads. She has reached adolescence, the stage of life where acceptance by peers has become the most important goal in her life. To avoid negative peer pressures regarding achievement, Nadine lets her grades slip and dumps DUMPS

a lethal inherited disorder of Holstein cattle that causes infertility. The name is an acronym of Deficiency of Uridine MonoPhosphate S
 her best friend, a White female. When her family moves to an all-White neighborhood, Nadine's problems increase. She feels the burden of breaking down stereotypes about Blacks. Which road will Nadine take? How will she choose who and what she will be without feeling like a traitor TRAITOR, crimes. One guilty of treason.
     2. The punishment of a traitor is death.
 to her race and herself? This is an all too real dilemma that many gifted minority students confront.

Southgate, M. (1996). The Other Way to Dance. New York: Laurel-Leaf Books. (Grades 8-10)

Fourteen-year-old Vicki, who comes from a middle-class family, dreams of becoming a ballerina. Her dream is becoming a reality when she gets accepted into the summer program at New York City's prestigious School of American Ballet The School of American Ballet is located in New York City, in Lincoln Center. It is considered one of the most prestigious and notable ballet schools in the United States and teaches some of the most talented young dancers in the country. . Vicki is ready for the challenge of hard work and competition. However, she is not prepared to be one of only two Black students in the program. Nor is she expecting -- or prepared for -- the racism that she encounters from some students. Vicki begins to question her ability - was she admitted because she is Black or because she is good? Finally, Vicki is taken by surprise when Michael, a boy from Harlem, wants to date her. What can Michael, a guy from Harlem, teach Vicki? Michael (and the other Black dancer, Stacey) shakes up Vicki's dream world and helps her to see that the real world is bigger than a stage.

Williams-Garcia, R. (1991). Fast Talk on a Slow Track. New York: Lodestar lode·star also load·star  
1. A star, especially Polaris, that is used as a point of reference.

2. A guiding principle, interest, or ambition.
. (Grades 9-12)

Williams-Garcia wrote this book for the bright young Black men in her freshman college class who were suddenly caught off guard by failure. She writes that, "The ones with half a chance confronted failure head on, while the others are still running." The main character, Denzel (whose birth name is Dinizulu) is caught in the middle of these two groups. As valedictorian of his high school class, Denzel is used to being at the top. Then he attends a summer program for minority students at Princeton. Here, Denzel experiences failure and challenges. Fast talking and being cool aren't enough to pass classes. Confronted with his first failure, Denzel struggles to maintain his self-concept by over-compensating - he brags too much, uses his intelligence in clever but deceptive de·cep·tive  
Deceptive or tending to deceive.

de·ceptive·ness n.
 ways, and is extremely competitive (even in non-academic settings). Eventually, Denzel confronts the biggest dilemma of his teen life - to confront the academic challenges at Princeton or to run.

Williams-Garcia, R. (1988). Blue tights. New York: Penguin. (Grades 9-12)

Joyce Collins wants to be cool. She also wants to be a ballet dancer, like her mother. But when Joyce's ballet teacher (a White female) excludes her from the most important recital Recital - dBASE-like language and DBMS from Recital Corporation. Versions include Vax VMS.  of the year, Joyce wonders if there is any place where she can fit in. Then she joins an African dance The term African dance refers mainly to the dances of subsaharan and West Africa. The music and dances of northern Africa and the Sahara are generally more closely connected to those of the Near East. Also the dances of immigrants of European and Asian descent (e.g.  troupe and, for the first time in her life, feels self-pride and racial pride. She is no longer ashamed of her curvaceous cur·va·ceous  
Having the curves of a full or voluptuous figure.

cur·vaceous·ly adv.
 figure. Joyce learns to refine her dance skills and to set appropriate goals. But Joyce also learns that she has misjudged her White ballet teacher.

Williams-Garcia, R. (1995). Like Sisters on the Homefront. New York: Penguin. (Grades 9-12)

Two gifted female adolescents, Gayle and Cookie cookie

File or part of a file put on a Web user's hard disk by a Web site. Cookies are used to store registration data, to make it possible to customize information for visitors to a Web site, to target Web advertising, and to keep track of the products a user wishes to
, are the main characters in this award-winning book. Gayle is streetwise street·wise  
Having the shrewd awareness, experience, and resourcefulness needed for survival in a difficult, often dangerous urban environment.
, while Cookie is book smart. Gayle loves the action of New York City New York City: see New York, city.
New York City

City (pop., 2000: 8,008,278), southeastern New York, at the mouth of the Hudson River. The largest city in the U.S.
, particularly being with her friends. When Gayle gets into trouble, she and her baby are sent to live with relatives in Georgia. On the surface, Gayle and her cousin Cookie are opposites-Cookie is sweet, proper, religious, and interested in school and success. Gayle seems to be none of these things "These Things" is an EP by She Wants Revenge, released in 2005 by Perfect Kiss, a subsidiary of Geffen Records. Music Video
The music video stars Shirley Manson, lead singer of the band Garbage. Track Listing
1. "These Things [Radio Edit]" - 3:17
. Deep down, however, they are quite similar. Readers come to understand the importance of looking beneath the surface or facade that some individuals don. In the end, with the help of their great grandmother who sees through Gayle's tough-girl image, Gayle is able to rise to her potential.

Woodson, J. (1992). Maizon at Blue Hill. New York: Dell. (Grades 5-8)

Maizon, a seventh grader, lives in a low-income community in Connecticut with her grandmother. When she receives an academic scholarship, Maizon is one of only five Black girls attending a private boarding school. Blue Hill is a beautiful school, and Maizon has excellent teachers, small classes, and a friendly roommate. But something is missing. What makes the White students seem so strange to her? What makes the other Black students threatening? How does she resist their temptation to segregate seg·re·gate  
v. seg·re·gat·ed, seg·re·gat·ing, seg·re·gates
1. To separate or isolate from others or from a main body or group. See Synonyms at isolate.

 themselves from White students? Maizon secondguesses herself. Is she really smart enough to succeed at Blue Hill? Will she ever fit in or does Maizon belong back in Connecticut where she has friends, and feels safe and confident?

Woodson, J. (1991). The Dear One. New York: Dell. (Grades 9-12)

Two girls, both gifted in their own way, come of age in this book. Twelve-year-old Feni is middle class and academically gifted. Rebecca, 15 years old, is street smart, having grown up in Harlem, and proud of it. Sparks fly when Rebecca, a teen mother, is sent to live with Feni's family. The two girls, so very different, eventually learn to accept each other. Feni learns to accept those who have less economically; Rebecca learns to dream, to have aspirations.

Summary and Conclusion

Multicultural literature is for all students; it is a literature of liberation from the tyranny Tyranny
Big Brother

omnipresent leader of a totalitarian nightmare world. [Br. Lit.: 1984]


rules Thebes with cruel decrees. [Gk. Lit.: Antigone]


Austrian governor treats Swiss despotically; shot by Tell.
 of the attitudes and expectations that the world thrusts upon us (Fox, 1993). Children who see themselves reflected in the literature have an opportunity to grow inside. Children who see others in the literature are also able to grow. Unfortunately, students are seldom exposed to multicultural literature. The books described in this article provide opportunities for students to read about students who may share their life circumstances (e.g., family background) and experiences (e.g., coming of age). Just as important, the issues are real - discrimination, peer pressures, and underachievement - so that students can identify with the situations and characters. Imagine the reaction of a gifted Black female who reads Maizon at Blue Hill after being accepted into a gifted program containing few minority students. Imagine the connection a gifted Black male might make with Denzel in Fast Talk on a Slow Track. Imagine the connection a gifted Black female dancer might make with Joyce (Blue Tights) or Vicki (Another Way to Dance). Likewise, imagine White students' increased understanding of the dilemmas and experiences of highly able Black students.

Multicultural literature is a literature of not only liberation, but also inclusion. All of us who have an opportunity to select and use literature in educational settings must be sure that we are opening doors to full human potential, not closing them (Fox, 1993).

(1) These questions may be most relevant when the book contains stereotypes about minority persons.


Bishop, C.H. (1938/1989). The five Chinese brothers. New York: Trumpet trumpet, brass wind musical instrument of part cylindrical, part conical bore, in the shape of a flattened loop and having three piston valves to regulate the pitch. .

Considine, D.M., Haley, G.E., & Lacy, L.E. (1994). Imagine that: Developing critical thinking and critical viewing through children's literature children's literature, writing whose primary audience is children.

See also children's book illustration. The Beginnings of Children's Literature

The earliest of what came to be regarded as children's literature was first meant for adults.
. Englewood, CO: Teachers Ideas Press.

Cooperative Children's Book Center. (1997). CCBC CCBC Community College of Baltimore County (Maryland)
CCBC Community College of Beaver County (Monaca, Pennsylvania)
CCBC Caerphilly County Borough Council (Wales, UK) 
 list for 1997. Madison, WI: College of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison “University of Wisconsin” redirects here. For other uses, see University of Wisconsin (disambiguation).
A public, land-grant institution, UW-Madison offers a wide spectrum of liberal arts studies, professional programs, and student activities.

Dahl, R. (1964/1980). Charlie and the chocolate factory. New York: Bantam Bantam

Former city and sultanate, Java. It was located at the western end of Java between the Java Sea and the Indian Ocean. In the early 16th century it became a powerful Muslim sultanate, which extended its control over parts of Sumatra and Borneo.

Ford, D.Y. (1996). Reversing underachievement among gifted Black students: Promising practices and paradigms. New York: Teachers College Press.

Ford, D.Y. (1998, Sept.). Preparing children for a diverse world. Parenting for High Potential, 22-23.

Ford, D.Y., & Harris III, J.J. (1999). Multicultural gifted education. New York: Teachers College Press.

Fordham, S. (1988). Racelessness as a strategy in Black students' school success: Pragmatic strategy or pyrrhic victory Pyrrhic victory

a too costly victory; “Another such victory and we are lost.” [Rom. Hist.: “Asculum I” in Eggenburger, 30–31]

See : Defeat
? Harvard Educational Review The Harvard Educational Review is an interdisciplinary scholarly journal of opinion and research dealing with education, published by the Harvard Education Publishing Group. The journal was founded in 1930 with circulation to policymakers, researchers, administrators, and teachers. , 58(1), 54-84.

Fox, M. (1993). Politics and literature chasing the `isms' from children's books. The Reading Teacher, 46(8), 654-658.

Frasier, M. (1982). Bibliotherapy: Educational and counseling implications for the gifted disadvantaged. In D. Smith (Ed.) Identifying and educating the disadvantaged gifted. Ventura, CA: Office of the Superintendent.

Frasier, M., & McCannon, C. (1981). Using bibliotherapy with gifted children. Gifted Child gifted child

Child naturally endowed with a high degree of general mental ability or extraordinary ability in a specific domain. Although the designation of giftedness is largely a matter of administrative convenience, the best indications of giftedness are often those
 Quarterly, 25(2), 81-85.

Gardner, H. (1983). Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligence. New York: Basic Books.

Halsted, J.W. (1994). Some of my best friends Some of My Best Friends is a short-lived comedy shown on CBS from February 28 until April 11, 2001. The series starred Jason Bateman as Warren, a gay writer living in Greenwich Village, at 36 Christopher Street, and Danny Nucci as Frankie, his straight roommate.  are books: Guiding gifted readers from pre-school to high school. Dayton, OH: Ohio Psychology Press.

Hebert, T.P. (1991). Meeting the affective needs of bright boys through bibliotherapy. Roeper Review, 13(4), 207-212.

Hoagland, J. (1972). Bibliotherapy: Aiding children in personality development. Elementary English, 49, 390-391.

Jeon, K. (1992). Bibliotherapy for gifted children. GCT (programming, tool) GCT - A test-coverage tool by Brian Marick <>, based on GNU C. Version 1.4 was ported to Sun-3, Sun-4, RS/6000, 68000, 88000, HP-PA, IBM 3090, Ultrix, Convex, SCO but not Linux, Solaris, or Microsoft Windows. , 15(2), 16-19.

Mahy, M. (1989). The seven Chinese brothers. New York: Scholastic.

Moses, H.A., & Zaccaria, J.S. (1969). Bibliotherapy in an educational context: Rationale and principles. The High School Journal, 52, 401-411.

Rasinski, T.V., & Padak, N.D. (1990). Multicultural learning through children's literature. Language Arts language arts
The subjects, including reading, spelling, and composition, aimed at developing reading and writing skills, usually taught in elementary and secondary school.
, 67(6), 576-580.

Reis, S.M., & Dobyns, S.M. (1991). An annotated bibliography of non-fictional books and curricular materials to encourage gifted females. Roeper Review, 13(3), 129-134.

Sternberg, R.J. (1985). Beyond IQ: A triarchic theory of intelligence The Triarchic Theory of Intelligence was formulated by Robert J. Sternberg, a prominent figure in the research of human intelligence. The theory by itself was groundbreaking in that it was among the first to go against the psychometric approach to intelligence and take a more . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Cambridge University Press (known colloquially as CUP) is a publisher given a Royal Charter by Henry VIII in 1534, and one of the two privileged presses (the other being Oxford University Press). .

Stoodt, B.D., Amspaugh, L.B., Hunt, J. (1996). Children's literature: Discovery for a lifetime. Upper Saddle River Saddle River may refer to:
  • Saddle River, New Jersey, a borough in Bergen County, New Jersey
  • Saddle River (New Jersey), a tributary of the Passaic River in New Jersey
, NJ: Gorsuch Scarisbrick.

Tyson, C. A. (in press). "Shut my mouth wide open": Realistic fiction and social action. Theory into Practice, 38(3).

U.S. Department of Education. (1993). National excellence: A case for developing America's talent. Washington, DC: Office of Educational Research and Improvement.

Manuscript submitted November, 1998.

Revision accepted July, 1999.

Donna Y. Ford is an Associate Professor of Education at The Ohio State University Ohio State University, main campus at Columbus; land-grant and state supported; coeducational; chartered 1870, opened 1873 as Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College, renamed 1878. There are also campuses at Lima, Mansfield, Marion, and Newark.  where she teaches courses and conducts research in gifted education. Her work focuses on gifted and urban education, specifically the recruitment and retention of minority students in gifted education, multicultural education, and underachievement. Cynthia A. Tyson is an Assistant Professor of Education at The Ohio State University where she teaches courses in elementary and secondary social studies method, as well as courses in multicultural/global education. Her research focuses on teaching for social justice and racebased research epistemologies. Tyrone C. Howard is an Assistant Professor at the Ohio State University where he teaches courses in multicultural and social studies education. His research interests include culturally relevant pedagogy and urban education, and the educational experience of African-American students. J. John Harris John Harris may refer to: Dr. John Harris
Internationlly Known Educator, Speaker, Philosopher, Theologian, and HomileticianItalic text
 III is Professor of Administration and Supervision in the College of Education, and Scholar in the African American Studies African American studies (also known as Black studies and/or Africana studies) is an interdisciplinary academic field devoted to the study of the history, culture, and politics of African Americans.  and Research Program in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Kentucky-Lexington. His research interests focus on urban and multicultural education, educational law, and minority student achievement.
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Author:Harris, J. John III
Publication:Roeper Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2000
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