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Beyond Heroes and Holidays: A Practical Guide to K-12 Anti-Racist, Multicultural Education and Staff Development.

Among the current issues in education, multicultural education is a hot topic. Within recent years, many books and articles have been published in the education, health, social, and political arenas regarding multicultural issues and education.

I would like to share with readers an exciting, newly published book, Beyond Heroes and Holidays: A Practical Guide to K-12 Anti-Racist, Multicultural Education and Staff Development. This is an edited book, containing contributions and practical strategies for educators across curricular disciplines and at all levels. The easy-to-read articles, activity suggestions, and short literature pieces are examples of transformative education, making the goals of anti-racist, multicultural education achievable and applicable for teachers.

In developing this book, the editors have pursued the idea of an equitable and just society, where teachers and students are simultaneously learners and producers of knowledge. The editors believe that schools should promote analysis of academic and social problems, and should develop the knowledge, sense of hope, and strategies needed to create a more just society. Multicultural education is put forth as a critical perspective guided by principles, rather than a specific formula or curriculum. The lessons, stories, poems, activities, articles, and strategies included in this book draw on students' knowledge and experience, reveal the complexity of issues, stimulate students' multiple ways of learning and understanding, reinforce the concept of student empowerment as individuals and through groups, and convey an advocacy of possibility and hope. The book is divided into the following sections:

* The School Staff, Family and Community Development section provides lessons and readings for staff development, and articles by practitioners sharing insights from their work. It also includes readings that can open up a dialogue among school staff and parents. Schools' efforts to create meaningful relationships with parents and families are documented.

* The Reading Between the Lines/Critical Literacy sections address how the media and textbooks perpetuate misconceptions, stereotypes, bias, and institutional racism.

* The Language section examines language diversity and learning.

* The Lessons for the Classroom section includes teaching suggestions for early childhood through secondary school. The suggestions range from lessons about the genocide of Native Americans or the politics of tourist Hawaii, to using photos and picture cards with younger children.

* The Technology section looks at global learning networks and cultural bias in our educational media programs.

* The section on School-wide Activities spotlights school mascots and cultural clubs, especially at the middle and high school levels.

* The Holidays and Heritage section lists current people and organizations that are agents for social change. Each listing contains a brief description, making it well-suited for research projects.

* The Talking Back section contains lessons on responding to injustice and speaking out against racism. Also, it lists questions to ask when examining an issue or concern through an anti-racism perspective.

* The Glossary offers words and definitions to be used as a guide for non-racism/anti-oppression terminology.

* The Resource Guide includes an extensive annotated listing of relevant print and audio-visual materials, and a guide to Internet sources. This is undoubtedly the best listing of current resources available. The breadth and amount of information in this section is remarkable.

All in all, these 466 pages are jampacked with information, thoughts, strategies, resources, ideas, and hands-on experiences. The book can be ordered directly from the publisher for only $20, plus shipping.

The publisher, the Network of Educators of the Americas (NECA), is a nonprofit organization based in the District of Columbia. Their goal is to promote peace, justice, and human rights through critical, antiracist, multicultural education. The organization creates opportunities for the development of equitable relationships among families, students, school staff, and community members. NECA strives to transform schools so that they are academically rigorous, participatory, culturally affirming, equitable, liberating, connected to the community, and respectful of the strengths that people bring to the classroom.


Lee, E., Menkart, D., & Okazawa-Rey, M. (Eds.). (1998). Beyond heroes and holidays: A practical guide to K-12 anti-racist, multicultural education and staff development. Washington, DC: Network of Educators on the Americas.
COPYRIGHT 1998 Association for Childhood Education International
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1998, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Boyd, Barbara Foulks
Publication:Childhood Education
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 22, 1998
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