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Our Family, Our Friends, Our World: An Annotated Guide to Significant Multicultural Books for Children and Teenagers.

Lyn Miller-Lachmann. New Providence, NJ: R. R. Bowker, 1992. 710 pp. $44,95. This volume provides parents, teachers and librarians with a comprehensive selection of fiction and nonfiction books on multicultural themes. Approximately 1,000 books published between 1970 and 1990 are annotated in this reference work containing 18 chapters, 3 appendixes and 3 detailed indexes. Focusing on a particular cultural group, each chapter includes a map showing the group's geographical region, a 3- or 4-page introduction and detailed annotations. Readers wanting a book for a particular age or grade level will especially appreciate that books are classified as Preschool-3, 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12.

A major strength of the book is its organization. One specific cultural group is carefully addressesed in each chapter. Chapters 1 through 4 focus on the current four predominant cultural groups in the United States--African, Asian, Hispanic and Native American. Chapters 4 through 18 identify books on specific areas such as Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, Europe and South Africa. Within each chapter, the authors methodically divide the annotations into the aforementioned grade levels.

Miller-Lachmann provides a detailed introduction, focusing on our increased cultural diversity and the need for a multicultural bibliography. Of special interest was her historical overview of multicultural book publishing, beginning with "Before the 1960s" and ending with more recent efforts. In this section, she responsibly addresses books portraying negative cultural images.

While most people avoid such books, Miller-Lachmann suggests outright removal might not be wise. Rather than censorship, she suggests a healthier response might be to study books in their historical context. Books annotated in Our Family, Our Friends, Our World were evaluated for accuracy, stereotypes, language, author's perspective, currency, audience and illustrations.

This annotated guide provides teachers, librarians and parents with a comprehensive bibliography of multicultural books. I highly recommend the book for its usefulness, its organization and, equally important, its potential value to learners in an increasingly culturally diverse world. Reviewed by M. Lee Manning, Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, Darden College of Education, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA
COPYRIGHT 1993 Association for Childhood Education International
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Manning, M. Lee
Publication:Childhood Education
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jan 1, 1993
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