Using multicultural picture books to motivate students and foster critical discussions on identity and social justice
M.A. Reading Education
Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Education
College of Education
Committee Member 1
Committee Member 2
Culturally relevant pedagogy; Children's literature
Language and Literacy Education
The purpose of this study was to examine the significance of integrating multicultural literature, primarily multicultural picture books, in culturally responsive book clubs to improve student motivation, foster awareness of one's identity and promote discussions about social justice. Prior to this research, student discourse about their own identity and the nature of social injustices related to prejudice, stereotyping, and racism was limited. Qualitative research was employed utilizing student artifacts such anticipation guides, literature role responses, and reflection journals. Data was also collected from audio recording transcripts of book club and class wide discussions as well as a teacher's reflection journal. Using triangulation and coding of student responses, themes emerged: using multicultural literature inspired students to self-reflect and acknowledge that maintaining one's cultural identity is critical, though challenging at times. Also, students saw a need for empathy after reading literature that was both "mirrors" and "windows" into the other's needs if social justice was to become a reality. Some students, however, continued to express discomfort discussing social injustices that stem from racial inequalities, supporting the idea that students need time and continued exposure to topics such as racism and bias if students are to become truly comfortable taking social action.
Davenport, Susan, "Using multicultural picture books to motivate students and foster critical discussions on identity and social justice" (2021). Theses and Dissertations. 2855.