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Multicultural storytime magic.

** Multicultural storytime magic by Kathy MacMillan and Christine Kirke. Chicago, American Library Association 2012 242pp ISBN 978 0 8389 1142 6 $69.95 Distributed in Australia by Inbooks

Multicultural storytime magic follows the previous offerings of MacMillan and Kirker--Kindergarten magic and Storytime magic, also published by ALA. In this latest book the authors set the bar quite high with the aim to 'offer a paradigm for multicultural programs, one in which diversity is woven into every storytime, no matter the topic'.

The book is laid out with 44 themed chapters in alphabetical order--ABC time through to Winter. Each chapter starts with a list of books related to the theme and a short synopsis of each storyline. This is followed by a flannelboard story complete with line drawings of the key elements, several finger plays and songs and finally a craft. Some of the crafts require access to the ALA Editions website to download templates. Throughout the book items, which are particularly appropriate to 2 and 3 year olds are marked with an asterisk.

There are three excellent appendices. The first Culture notes and index of entries by culture covers information about each area eg 'Africa is a continent containing fifty three individual countries' with a list of books related to that topic. This is followed by a list of specific African countries and stories and songs which belong to that culture. The term culture is used more broadly than simply referring to ethnicity as it also covers deaf culture and disabilities. Appendix B lists Storytime material celebrating diversity and appendix C gives Further resources for storytime planning. There is a comprehensive index of names and titles.

The book does feature American Sign Language quite heavily which can vary from Auslan which is generally used in Australia. However, for the purposes of a storytime session this is not likely to be a problem.

It can be difficult for busy librarians to source stories and songs from other cultures and in other languages and then to judge whether they are age appropriate for their client groups. Multicultural storytime magic does provide a very good range of themes with an excellent selection of age appropriate stories, songs and crafts with a multicultural flavour. The book really does offer 44 storytime themes which weave diversity into every topic. It would be a useful addition to the storytelling toolkits of school and public librarians.

Carolyn Bourke

Fairfield City Library NSW

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Author:Bourke, Carolyn
Publication:Australasian Public Libraries and Information Services
Article Type:Book review
Date:Dec 1, 2012
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