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Notable Books for a Global Society Project

Sarah Shurm
TCH & LRN 307
Barbara Ward

This assignment is a detailed analysis of eight books that have received the Award for the
Notable Books for a Global Society. Upwards of twenty to twenty-five books are chosen every
year to receive this award. The books being discussed and analyzed in this assignment were
published between the years 2013-2015. As I analyze and describe the books chosen for this
project, I will describe the strengths and weaknesses as well as the literary elements of the books.
This project also includes my personal definition of global literature. I thoroughly enjoyed this
project for several reasons. First, it helped me better understand literature and gave me useful
tools to use when analyzing books. While completing this project, I became aware of several
new ways to integrate books, particularly multicultural, into my future classroom. Another
reason why I enjoyed this assignment was because it helped me read from different perspectives
and viewpoints. Being able to see things from different lenses is a very important tool to have as
a teacher. I hope to be a teacher that is open-minded and welcoming to different cultures and
ethnicities as well as a teacher that encourages her students to be culturally aware and non-
judgmental. This project helped me understand the importance of creating a classroom
environment that allows students to fall in love with reading a wide variety of books.

Purpose of the Assignment

The purpose of this assignment was to learn how to effectively assess multicultural
literature. The reason that this is important is due to its raw reality and the window it opens for us
as readers. When we have our own classrooms in the future, we want to be well-rounded and
culturally aware teachers who have a firm stance and opinion on the multicultural books we
make accessible for our students. Without this eye-opening project, we would not understand the
extensiveness of this genre and its ability to convey such strong lessons regarding morals and
values to those outside of the culture. That being said, we learned that regardless of the
informative text, this genre of books are presented in an engaging way that gives raw insight into
how certain people live their lives. In return, this will help us support our students who may have
a differing cultural background. Not only was the purpose to make us more aware of this specific
type of literature but of different genres altogether. It reminds us to not have a closed off
perspective and to keep actively seeking our new types of books while it comes with a high
rewards, especially as soon-to-be teachers.

Steps Used in Completing the Assignment

To begin this assignment, I went online and searched for the list of Notable Books for a
Global Society winners. As I looked through the extensive collection of books with this honor, I
created a list of roughly twenty-five books whose titles seemed of interest to me. After collecting
my list of books, I then went onto and read through reviews of each of the books
on my list. This process allowed me to take my list of twenty-five books and condense it to a list
of ten books. After deciding which four chapter books and four picture books seemed of most
interest to me, I had my list of eight books. With this list, I went to Neill Public Library located
in Pullman, Washington to collect my books. The first book that I read was Salt: A Story of
Friendship in a Time of War because this book was one of the larger chapter books in my
selection of eight and I wanted to get this reading completed so that I did not feel overwhelmed
towards the end of this project. After reading that book, I began The Matchbox Diary, one of the
picture books that I had rented from the public library. Over the course of the next week, I read
one book from my stack per day. As I read these books, I took notes on my favorite parts as well
as details from the plot I found important and wanted to make sure to remember when
completing this assignment. After finishing the reading, I took the next step and began to write
the paper and complete the various parts of this assignment, and that is what has brought me to
this particular stage of the Notable Books for a Global Society Project.

Definition of Multicultural Literature

Our definition that we were able to form regarding multicultural literature has many
different aspects but we got a foundation from chapter 15 in Children’s Literature Briefly. The
book says multicultural literature is literature that focuses on a culture and its dynamics in an
accurate way. In our one words we believe that this genre from an overarching perspective
provides rich information that retells one or more cultures. That being said, well-written
multicultural books provide accurate information that is well-researched and backed up with
great detail about specific culture(s). These books also have developed writing that includes a
clear lesson, moral, or the traditions that the culture(s) uphold. One clarification that we find
pivotal when defining this term is that multicultural literature does not just entail information on
ethnic cultures but a book about the deaf community could fit into the same category. Our
definition of multicultural literature did not specifically change over the course of completing
this assignment. Rather, we learned the extensiveness to this genre and learned many various
ways to apply this genre into our future classroom.

Criteria for the Notable Books for a Global Society

Part I (Must meet one or more criteria from this section.)

• Portray cultural accuracy and authenticity of characters in terms of (a) physical characteristics,
(b) intellectual abilities and problem solving capabilities, (c) leadership and cooperative
dimensions, and (d) social and economic status;
• Be rich in cultural details;
• Honor and celebrate diversity as well as common bonds in humanity;
• Provide in-depth treatment of cultural issues;
• Include characters within a cultural group or between two or more cultural groups who interact
substantively and authentically;
• Include members of a “minority” group for a purpose other than filling a “quota.”

Part II (Must meet all criteria from this section.)

• Invite reflection, critical analysis, and response;
• Demonstrate unique language or style;
• Meet generally-accepted criteria of quality for the genre in which they are written; and
• Have an appealing format and be of enduring quality.

Eight Multicultural Titles Read:

Salt: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War:

Frost, H. (2013). Salt: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War. Farrar Straus Giroux Books for
Young Readers.
Summary: Salt: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War, by Helen Frost is a beautifully written
story that helps illustrate to readers how people from different cultures can misinterpret actions
that lead to wars. This story takes place in and around Fort Wayne, just before the start of the
Battle of 1812. Pioneers have settled into the area, but there is talk of a battle happening soon, in
which the settlers fight against the British. At Fort Wayne, friendships between some Indians and
settlers have begun to form, but these relationships are threatened with this fear of conflict.
James, a young boy whose parents run the trading post for the settlement fort, lives in his house
with his parents and baby sister. James has struck up a friendship with a young boy named
Anikwa, a Miami Native American. Anikwa lives in Kekionga, with his family in the Miami
tribe. Anikwa’s parents were killed in a battle and he is now being raised by his relatives. James
and Anikwa spend most all hours of the day together and enjoy learning about each other’s
different cultures and native languages, communicating mainly through sign language. As
tensions rise between the two cultures, strain is placed on Anikwa and James’ friendship and
they begin to feel as though they cannot trust one another. When James’ house is set on fire and
Anikwa’s village is burnt to the ground, both families must work to rebuild their homes. The
trading post and James’ house is set on fire. A large portion of the woods around the fort also
burns, including Anikwa’s village. James and his family must rebuild, as must Anikwa and his
tribe. Written from two different perspectives, this book is both beautifully written and provides
insight to what life was like for Native Americans in the 1800s.
Strengths: One of the criteria for NBGS is that the book must “Include characters within a
cultural group or between two or more cultural groups who interact substantively and
authentically” and this book does not just meet this criteria, it succeeds it. James, one of the
book’s main characters, is a young settler whose parents run the trading post for the settlement
fort. Anikwa, the book’s second main character, lives in Kekionga with his family in the Miami
tribe. The two boys befriend two other young children later in the book, one of whom is another
Native American boy and the other a pioneer. These boys interact with each other on a daily
basis, learning about each other's language and cultural beliefs. They form a very beautiful and
genuine friendship. Multiple events throughout this book test the boy’s friendships. The language
barrier between the two makes communication extremely difficult, and teaches both the boys as
well as readers how easily actions can be misinterpreted. The author writes in a way which gives
information about both cultures in a non-bias manner and allows readers to learn fascinating
information about both the pioneer settlers as well as Native Americans. The author includes
details throughout the story of James and Anikwa interacting in a peaceful and meaningful
manner and because the two boys are from different cultural groups, this book definitely meets
this particular criterion for NBGS.
Weaknesses: One of the criteria for NBGS is that the literature must “provide in-depth treatment
of cultural issues”, which I would say is the weakest criteria demonstrated in this book. Although
this book discusses and has numerous accounts of cultural issues, the book does not provide in-
depth treatment to such issues. If this book was to meet this criterion, it would need to provide
both cultural issues as well as provide detailed and clear explanations of the treatment of the

Legends, Icons & Rebels: Music That Changed the World

Robertson, R., Guerinot, J., Robertson, S., & Levine, J. (2013). Legends, icons & rebels: music
that changed the world. Toronto, Ontario: Tundra Books.
Summary: Titled very appropriately, the book is a beautiful and intriguing representation of the
legendary, iconic, and rebellious musicians that have changed the world. Written by the Band’s
Robbie Robertson, his son, and two music industry executives, this beautiful tribute provides
two-page biographies of 27 world-renowned artists, ranging from Chuck Berry to Bob Dylan.
Each biography places each artist in the context of music history as well as details their rise to
fame, accomplishments as well as struggles. Each artist featured in this outstanding book made
crucial contributions to either the development of rock and roll or the Civil Rights Movement, or
both. Each artist featured in this book is a celebrated and historically important individual. The
first two pages of each musician's section of the book is a striking, album art-style painting that
evokes that particular styles style and genre of music. Each illustration of the musicians is so
beautifully done. Although fairly text heavy, the illustrations throughout this book would keep
younger readers entertained for hours. The illustrations add to the beautiful memoir of the
musician’s life where the pictures do not. Along with its vibrant illustrations, this book also
includes three CD’s on the back cover, filled with the songs which brought the artists featured in
this book to fame.
Strengths: One of the criteria for NBGS is that “literature must have an appealing format and be
of enduring quality.” The way in which this particular book delivers this appealing format is in
its amazing layout. From the cover of the book, to the meticulous detail that covers each page in
vibrant and bold colors, this book’s authors went above and beyond at creating an appealing
format. The book is filled with bright, eye-catching pictures and illustrations. Each page uses
different fonts and colors to match that particular artist’s style of music. The title and subtitles
are large and easy to read, making things easy to locate for readers. The beautiful illustrations
and well-formatted pages make this book nearly impossible to put down. Each page is so
incredibly different from the last that readers find themselves turning page after page, shocked
when they find they have finished the entire book in one sitting. The quality of this book is also
very well done. The book, although fairly large, is bound sturdily and is full of factual, credible
information, with citations and resources included on the back cover. The book is printed on
strong and smudge-free paper, giving this book a professional look. The clarity of the
illustrations in this book are fantastic, contributing to the overall quality.
Weaknesses: One of the criteria for NBGS is that “literature must demonstrate unique language
or style,” and this is something that this book is heavily lacking. Although filled with vibrant
color and interesting information, this book is written completely in English and the layout of
most, if not all pages, consist of short paragraphs. The style of writing is very to the point and
simple and the lack of any unique language makes this particular criterion a weakness for this

The Matchbox Diary:

Fleischman, P., & Ibatoulline, B. (2013). The matchbox diary. London: Candlewick Press.
The Matchbox Diary, by Paul Fleischman and illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline is a very
heartwarming children’s book about a little girl meeting her great grandfather for the very first
time. In the beginning of the book, the great grandfather tells the little girl to pick any object
from a room full of knick-knack objects. The great grandfather tells her that he will tell her all
about whichever object that she decides to choose. The little girl, intrigued by nearly everything
in the room, decides to pick a collection of matchboxes as her item of choice. The great
grandfather explains how each matchbox represents a different, important memory in his life.
This book is written entirely in dialogue and Fleishman writes in a very matter-of-fact tone that
provides a fresh view on the immigrant experience. As the story progresses, readers watch as
each item and new story bond the pair closer and closer. Thee illustrations are done beautifully in
acrylic gouache and are extraordinary, detailed and expressive.
Strengths: One of the criteria for NBGS is that the “literature must be rich in cultural details.”
As the great grandfather in this book explains to his great granddaughter the importance of each
individual matchbox diary, readers gain knowledge about this family’s culture and experience as
an immigrant. For example, when explaining the collection of newspaper clippings, the author
writes, “We moved so often; I could barely remember where I was or where I’d been. That’s
why I started saving bits of newspaper’s, so that someday I could look back and say I was in that
exact place on that exact day.” This quote allows readers to understand just how much traveling
immigrants had to do. The author also includes several Italian phrases in this book, as well as
writes about what the main character’s family and home life was like before leaving for New
York. The author’s writing as well as the illustrations throughout this book make readers feel as
though they are an Italian immigrant, traveling a great distance in hopes of making a better life
for themselves.
Weaknesses: One of the criteria for NBGS is that “literature must demonstrate unique language
or style,” and this is something that this book is heavily lacking. Although this book contains
beautiful illustrations and informs readers about life as an Italian immigrant, this book is written
completely in English. The style of this book is very simple. The words on every page are
written in simple paragraph form. Due to the fact that this book contains no unique language or
style, this particular criterion for NBGS is one that this book does not meet.

The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba’s Greatest Abolitionist:

Engle, M. (2013). The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba's Greatest Abolitionist. Harcourt.
Summary: The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba’s Greatest Abolitionist is a very short, yet beautifully
written young adult novel written completely in verse. Dedicated to "Young poets who are in
search of words", author Margarita Engle wrote this book based on the true story of Gertrudis
Gomez de Avellaneda, (Tula) a 14 year old girl from the 19th century. Living in the Spanish
colony of Cuba, Tula finds the courage to speak out with words, disguised as poetry and
metaphors, against the slavery surrounding her. In Cuba, it was typical for fourteen year old girls
like Tula to be forced to marry wealthy older men, in hopes of increasing the family’s wealth and
status. Opposing slavery in Cuba during the 19th century was very dangerous. Tula used her
poetry to express her hatred for the injustices taking place around her with the people of Cuba. A
quote from this book which I feel perfectly captures the tone of this book is "The Slave let his
mind fly free, and his thoughts soared higher than the clouds where lightning forms."
Strengths: One of the criteria for NBGS is that “literature must have an appealing format and be
of enduring quality.” The way in which this book portrays an appealing format is through its
layout and eye-catching cover. This book is sectioned into 5 parts and is formatted in such a way
that makes it very easy to turn page after page and read on. Each of the 5 sections is divided into
smaller sections, where each paragraph is titled with a large bold heading, explaining which of
the main characters is speaking. This interesting writing style is very intriguing to readers and
makes this book extremely appealing. All 182 pages of this hardback book are sturdily bound.
The book is printed on thick, smudge-proof paper and the book’s cover is eye-catching. Overall,
this book has a very appealing format and is of enduring quality.
Weaknesses: One of the criteria for NBGS is that “literature must demonstrate unique language
or style,” and this is something that The Lightning Dreamer is missing. The only unique element
to this book is that it is written in a diary-like format and is sectioned both into five large parts,
as well as smaller “chapters” within the five sections. This is an element that does not stand out
in any particular manner and does not seem to be an important aspect of this book’s style. Aside
from lacking in unique style, this book also lacks in unique language, as most, if not all, of this
book’s words are written in the English language.

This Day in June:

Pittman, g., & Litten, K. (2014). This Day in June. Washington D.C.: American Psychological
Summary: This progressive children's book is about the LGBT community and the parade that
is keen on unity and celebrating pride. This is an age-appropriate book that introduces factual
information on this day and starts a conversation regarding sexual orientation and gender identity
with young children. The book relies heavily on imagery while the illustrations help tell the story
and give the reader insight on this annual June parade. That being said, the language provides a
very simple, yet engaging element due to the rhyming properties, for example, “Motors roaring,
spirits soaring.” Along with the poetic text, there are several unique parts of this book that is
more targeted towards older readers. These include an informational section about LGBT history
and culture as well as a guide that helps parents and teachers educate children on this family
dynamic, regardless of one's circumstance.
Strengths: One of the criteria for NBGS is that the book “demonstrates a unique language and
style.” This is a strength for This Day in June due to its unique delivery of poetic language and
expansive imagery. On each page, the book creates repetition with rhyming words which gives a
recognizable flow. Alongside the language is the bright illustrations which add to the unique
style. The imagery brings the day to life and gives the reader a taste of this experience with its
detail and ability to capture the vibrant environment. This level of uniqueness allows children to
better grasp and engage with the content provided and even help parents and teachers in a
position to introduce this type of love.
Weaknesses: One of the criteria for NBGS is that it “provides in-depth treatment of cultural
issues” and I find this to be a weakness for this book. The book gives a very age appropriate
display of the pride parades of the LGBT community but not from all angles. This Day in June
does not address any cultural issues and the reality behind the strength it takes to come out and
be a part of such a celebration. Regardless of the intended audience, I believe it is important that
this portrayal should not be sugar coated so the reader does not receive false reality on such a
major event and lifestyle.

Two White Rabbits:

Buitrago, J., & Yocteng, R. (2015). Two White Rabbits. Toronto: Groundwood Books.
Summary: This story is about the refugees in Mexico and specifically a young girl and her
father who are forced to leave their residence without exactly knowing why. While the young
girl was exposed to so much, she was forced to grow up faster than average child her age. The
beginning of the picture book is the little girl's perspective of all the different things she sees
while traveling including a cow, hens, a “Chucho”, a bored donkey, and all the different shaped
clouds. Throughout the book she asks her father where they are traveling to but she never
receives a response as they wait on the side of a highway. After she meets a boy her age on the
road, he gives her a box with two white rabbits that she keeps with her as she counts the stars and
the moons.
Strengths: One of the criteria for NBGS is “having an appealing format and enduring quality.”
This is a strength that I found in Two White Rabbits for many different reasons one of which
being the perspective the story is being told from. The young girl who is “traveling” with her
father is sharing her insight and how she views this experience and that makes up the appealing
format. The images that take up the whole page support what the young girl is sharing about this
time in her life from an innocent point of view and in return it adds to the engaging organization.
The picture book also has enduring quality seen through both the major and minor details. The
author depicted their childhood experience in a way that gives the reader a taste of what they
endured. The quality around this young perspective runs true through the whole book while each
page convinces you with the language used. This shows its enduring quality that could be
manipulated if the book was told from the father’s point of view that experienced the same day.
Weaknesses: One of the criteria for NBGS is to “honor and celebrate diversity as well as
common bonds in humanity.” This is a weakness in this book due to its lack of this important
aspect. The book can be cryptic in times while it is the told from perspective of a young girl who
is a migrant traveling towards the U.S border from a young girl. This could be a reason that there
is a lack of honor and celebration but regardless it creates a very solid mood and a missing

El Deafo:
Bell, C. (2014). El Deafo. New York: Abrams Books.
Summary: This endearing young children's book is about a Cece Bell or informally known as El
Deafo who experiences hearing loss at a young age. The book is told from her perspective that
entails her emotions and opinions on her circumstance. Cece experienced discomfort and
embarrassment of her deafness when she wore a hearing aide to school but with time she became
dependent on it. The author depicts her real life experiences of falling in love with Mike Miller,
her friend drama with Martha, and getting a pair of glasses after getting accused of cheating of
her friend’s paper! With confidence, Cece created a different version of her own self known as
El Deafo who she gave credit to when she did something she was proud of or when she did
something bold. At the end of the book, everything seems to fall in place for her with her
friendships, school, and family. Cece Bell then goes on to share her insight on the deaf
community and what it means for her to be a part of it in the author's note. This is an important
aspect because it gives the readers powerful knowledge that they can use to go on and teach or to
understand the circumstance of someone who is affected by deafness.
Strengths: One of the criteria for NBGS is it “provides in-depth treatment of cultural issues.”
This chapter book holds this strength due to the correction of the misunderstood. The author
shares her experience as a girl who loses her hearing at a young age and the treatment of cultural
issues. The book depicts times that people including her teachers and classmates where
mishandled cultural issues or what it means to be a part of the deaf community. Instead of just
sharing this element, she informs and allows the reader to understand how to better navigate the
“treatment” of a culture that is not your own. Not only did Cece show this through the inner
dialogue in the comic style text but also at the end of the book where she gives the reader an
opportunity to learn about the community so we can put a stop to these cultural issues in her
author's note.
Weaknesses: One of the criteria for NBGS is “having an appealing format and be of enduring
quality.” I find this to be a weakness for this chapter book due to the distracting format. The
book is written in a comic strip style which means many images, speech bubbles, thought
bubbles, and actions. Although it took creativity, it personally was not an appealing format. The
text would have been more thoughtful if it was written in paragraph form where the author is
able to implement more details and like they she did when writing about the treatment of cultural
issues which was depicted as the strength.

Ruby on the Outside:

Baskin, N. (2015). Ruby on the Outside. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Summary: Ruby is about to start fifth grade yet the only person who knows about her darkest
kept secret is her aunt “Matoo.” Ruby’s mother is in prison and while no one knew of this
circumstance, she never intentionally missed visit until one day. She found herself not wanting to
miss an opportunity to miss a “play-date” and this was the beginning of her first real friendship
with Margalit, her neighbor in the complex. Throughout the book Ruby discovers a lot like why
her mother is in jail, what it felt like to have a best friend, why some people go to prison and
others don't. After her friendship with Margalit grows more meaningful, Margalit confides in her
about their broken family dynamic. Margalit lost her brother many years ago and while Ruby
first thought her mother in prison was the murderer, Matoo assures her that is not true. This relief
allowed Ruby to eventually correct the lie that her mother has died and share the honest truth that
she was in prison. The girls continue with a normal friendship that carries over to the first day of
sixth grade where they deepen their friendship with Kristen and everything seems to fall into
Strengths: One of the criteria for NBGS is to “honor and celebrate diversity as well as common
bonds in humanity.” The book shares Ruby’s first friendship that grew deeper when “honoring
diversity” in a family dynamic and finding a common bond in humanity. When Margalit was
able to be vulnerable with Ruby and share the passing of her older brother, it put Ruby in a
position to want to be honest with her hidden secret that her mother is in prison. Instead of this
diversity breaking this precious friendship apart, the author shares how the truth only brought
them closer. Another time that strength is seen in the text is when Ruby is honest with her mom
about the mutual feeling of brokenness. Ruby shares that she feels anger and bitterness that her
mother put her in the position that makes it hard to make friends and be honest and in return her
mother was then able to share for the first time how she feels. This relief allowed a common
bond between their fragile relationships that is behind bars.
Weaknesses: One of the criteria for NBGS is “provide in-depth treatment of cultural issues.”
The book is all about the social struggles that Ruby faces while her mother is in prison and she is
raised by her aunt. She shares the lack of honesty she has for this circumstance and how that
affects her ability to make friends. While this shows the treatment of issues on her side it doesn’t
go into great detail about the cultural issues and how they are dealt behind the bars for her
mother. This is difficult while the story is told from Ruby who is living in the outside world but
she could have given more details of the treatment of the issues behind bars while the true
cultural issues stem from her mother.

Strengths & Weaknesses/Use in the Classroom:

Salt: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War

Frost, H. (2013). Salt: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War. Farrar Straus Giroux Books for
Young Readers.

Salt: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War is the book that I would choose to use in my
personal classroom. There are several reasons for this decision that I will explain in the
paragraphs to follow. I feel that this particular book meets every single criterion for NGBS and
greatly stands out above the other seven books from this project. I feel that this book has no
weaknesses and would be a fantastic book to use in the classroom.

1. Portray cultural accuracy and authenticity of characters in terms of (a) physical characteristics,
(b) intellectual abilities and problem solving capabilities, (c) leadership and cooperative
dimensions, and (d) social and economic status;
This criterion is met mainly through the descriptions of the characters in the text, as well
as in the introduction paragraph and the “character description” chart located at the beginning of
the book. The physical characteristics are described to readers as the author clearly defines what
the characters look like. The intellectual abilities and problem solving capabilities are
demonstrated on nearly every page of this book. For example, readers learn that Isaac, an
American settler and one of the book’s main characters, is lacking in intellectual abilities when
he whacks a hornet’s nest with a stick and destroys cattail reeds that were being laid out to dry.
Time and time again, Isaac and James, both American settlers, prove to readers that they lack
problem solving abilities and intellectual abilities. On the other hand, Anikwa proves to readers
that he is extremely resourceful and wise, often the first one to find a solution to a tricky
problem. The leadership and cooperative dimensions are displayed in this book when Anikwa
helps Isaac get his leg unstuck from under a log and again throughout the book when hunting and
gathering. Anikwa works well with his family and peers and proves to be one of this book’s most
prominent leaders. The social and economic status of both the settlers and the people of the
Miami tribe is depicted in their trading tactics. One particular example that represents the
economic status of the settlers is when James’ father says, “The President and Governor have
asked me to try to sell more goods to the Miami than they can afford, to deliberately get them
into debt.” This shows that the settlers may be more financially stable than the Miami.
2. Be rich in cultural details;
This criterion is clearly met through the illustrations and the text. The author provides
specific information on how the Miami traded, hunted, and practiced their cultural rituals.
Anikwa’s father shares stories from his childhood on several occasions and the author also
includes information on the underlying tensions between the settlers and the Miami. The book is
filled with details on how the Miami and the settlers lived, what they wore as well as how they
spoke to one another.
3. Honor and celebrate diversity as well as common bonds in humanity
The celebration of diversity is portrayed through the trading that both the settlers and
Miami participated in. James and Anikwa celebrate each other’s diversity in that they teach one
another about their culture. Although different in many ways, James and Anikwa honor and
respect each other’s cultures, while still remaining loyal to their own.
4. Provide in-depth treatment to cultural issues;
One specific depiction of this is done when Anikwa tries to help Isaac out from under the
log, and Isaac waves a knife at Anikwa because he thinks he is trying to hurt him. The language
barrier and Isaac’s ignorance is the cause of this misconception. This is a cultural issue because
Isaac assumed that Anikwa was trying to hurt him. He was fearful of Anikwa for reasons that
were purely racial and due to a lack of cultural awareness.
5. Include characters within a cultural group or between two or more cultural groups who interact
substantively and authentically;
This is very apparent because Anikwa and James, both from different cultural groups,
interact on a daily basis. They teach each other words and phrases from their native languages as
well as help each other with things like hunting, gathering and fighting. Their friendship is
authentic and their interactions are genuine.
6. Include members of a “minority” group for a purpose other than filling a “quota.”
This is clearly not for “quota” purpose because the Miami people would be the minority
group, and without this minority group, this book would be nothing. Without the Miami, this
book would have no plot or emotion and would not have a story line. The minority group is this
book’s central and most important element. Without the Miami and their impact in this story, it is
likely I would have picked a different selection as the best of the eight multicultural books.
7. Invite reflection, critical analysis, and response;
These are all clearly invited from this amazing read. I reflected myself on multiple
occasions as I read this story. I critical analysis can be easily done with this book, as certain parts
of the story left me taking Anikwa’s side, while other parts left me taking James’ side. There are
many parts of this story that are controversial and would be easy for readers to critically analyze.
As for a response, readers could write about how this book made them feel, or what parts of the
story they would wish to change.
8. Demonstrate unique language or style;
This is shown when Anikwa and James interact. During most all of their interactions,
they speak to each other in their native tongues, teaching important words and phrases. The back
of the book also has a glossary of Miami words as well as a glossary explaining what names in
other languages mean in English.
9. Meet generally-accepted criteria of quality for the genre in which they are written;
This is clear as this book is a multicultural young-adult book. It involves another culture
and its values and traditions. It is a very appropriate book for children to read.
10. Have an appealing format and be of enduring quality.
This book is printed on nice, smudge-free paper, and bound sturdily into a hardback
cover. It is easy to read and the author uses a very clear font style. The few illustrations in this
book are beautiful and clearly labeled.

There are many reasons why this is a book that students should read while they are in
school. This book teaches students about a time in history that they are likely unfamiliar with and
gives them insight to what life was like for both Native Americans as well as settlers during the
early 1800s. Students who may be familiar with the events that take place in this book, or
students who have family members from the Miami tribe can relate to this book and appreciate
its beauty. This book can be used in the classroom to teach students words from an unfamiliar
language and can also be used to teach students about the War of 1812. I could use this book to
teach lessons on working together, respect, as well as change. As a teacher, I want to teach
children topics that I was never introduced to while in school. It is important to me that I teach
my students about different cultures and ethnicities so that they can appreciate the diversity that
surrounds them, rather than being fearful of differences. I feel that using this book in the
classroom would also be good because it would make the students that may be of a minority
culture or race feel more accepted and welcomed. Cultural diversity is something that interested
me as young child, and continues to interest me today. I will do everything in my power to
integrate as many cultures as possible into my future classroom. I am very thankful for this
assignment because it has opened my eyes to new, fascinating multicultural literacy that I will
certainly include in my future classroom library.
One reason that Salt: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War is the best multicultural
book out of the eight is because it describes the culture of the Miami people in a beautiful, yet
informational manner. The author did a wonderful job at writing in a way that made the story
both interesting and educational. The details throughout the story teach readers about the Miami
language, traditions, hunting and gathering methods as well as their values. Readers finish this
book feeling a profound sense of respect for the Miami people. Another reason why this book
stands out above the rest is because of the lessons it teaches readers. Although the main
characters of this story are from very different cultures, they still find ways to work together and
respect each other’s practices and values. This is an excellent read for children because it
reminds them that even though someone might be different than them on the outside, it is still
very important to respect them. There is so much that this book can bring to the classroom and I
am excited for the opportunity to share this story with the students of my future classroom one


The first book that I would choose to be an honor book is Legends, Icons & Rebels:
Music That Changed the World. The main reasoning behind this selection is due to this book’s
representation of multiple cultures, its unique style, and also because it honors and celebrates
diversity. This book contains beautifully written memoirs of 28 world-changing musicians. The
pages of this book are filled with well-written text describing the impact that each artist had on
the world. Many, if not all, of these artists are from diverse cultures. Most all of these artists
faced challenges and hardships that made their journey to success and fame all the more difficult.
These artists teach young readers lessons of perseverance and determination. The book is
formatted in such an eye-catching manner that readers are likely to find themselves unable to put
the book down. This book would be excellent to use in the classroom and could lead to many
engaging discussions and activities. As a teacher, I would use this book to transition into a
biography assignment. I would allow students to read through this book and pick an artist of their
choosing. Then, students would use the information in this book, as well as information from
other resources to create a colorful biography about their artist. Allowing the students to pick the
artists they wish to research would keep them engaged and interested. Overall, this book is an
excellent read and I am excited to share this book with my future classroom.
The second book that I would choose to be an honor book is Ruby on the Outside. The
Justification behind this decision is based off its ability to honor and celebrate diversity as well
as common bond in humanity. The young girl, Ruby, who is raised by her aunt Matoo while her
mother is serving twenty five years in prison shares her perspective on how to socially navigate
this hardship. It goes further to highlight Ruby’s friendship with Margalit and their ability to
celebrate diversity and their common bond regardless of the sadness of the circumstance that
they were raised in. This is what makes this book so honorable while the message alone is so
strong and specifically important for a classroom full of diverse students. There are many
children who can relate to Ruby and Maralit whether that is a loss of a family member, not being
raised by your biological parents, or have a parent who is imprisoned. Hearing such a story can
empower this child or nonetheless make them feel less alone in their struggle. As a teacher, I
could have this book as a read aloud for the whole class to digest with an in-class discussion or
private reflection at the end. The book's ability to create normalcy and celebration around being
vulnerable and understanding the diversity in upbringings makes it a clear honor book.


Through this assignment we learned a great amount about multicultural literature and
what this genre of books entails. One thing we specifically took away was the importance of a
well-educated author on the culture they are writing about. If the author is responsible for their
understanding, the opportunities within the text are endless for the reader. As we read many
different books within this genre, it became clear what a well-versed author could do for you as a
reader. As we did take away a lot through this project, we still have more to learn.
We found that we want to learn more about the application of multicultural literature in
the classroom. As current students and future educators, we were able to hypothetically generate
ideas as to how we will use these books, but we want to continue to learn through real-life
examples. Specially, is it beneficial for this genre to be a whole class read aloud book or can
students find value in take-home assigned reading? As we know this understanding will come
with time and experience, this project started a conversation.
As we reflect on this assignment as a whole, we were able to see what we would have
changed if we had the opportunity to do the project over again. The first thing that came to mind
was the timeframe. As we did work on time management and working collaboratively, we would
break down the different components of this assignment week by week to maximize our learning
potential. That being said, we would have liked to do more research and evaluating when picking
our eight books from the list of NBGS winners. Doing so would ensure we were picking our
selection after fulling immersing ourselves in the other options, opposed to making decisions
based on the titles, covers, and short summaries. Reading more of the options would also better
our understanding of what each book in this genre should entail and in return would change our
expectations as well as strength and weaknesses.
This assignment is very inclusive with the coursework, both for this course as well as
previous courses. Many of our Block 1 courses advocate for an expansive classroom library that
has wide variety of genres and styles. This project ties into this idea while it promotes
multicultural literature awareness. As future teachers, not only do we want to include
multicultural literature into our curriculum, but we also wish to have these types of books on the
shelves of our library. This assignment also reiterated what we have learned in our courses, while
it proved the importance of being knowledgeable on the material you are having your students
read just like the author's must be prior to writing multicultural literature.

Baskin, N. (2015). Ruby on the Outside. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Bell, C. (2014). El Deafo. New York: Abrams Books.

Buitrago, J., & Yocteng, R. (2015). Two White Rabbits. Toronto: Groundwood Books.

Engle, M. (2013). The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba's Greatest Abolitionist. Harcourt.

Fleischman, P., & Ibatoulline, B. (2013). The matchbox diary. London: Candlewick Press.

Frost, H. (2013). Salt: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War. Farrar Straus Giroux Books for
Young Readers.

Pittman, g., & Litten, K. (2014). This Day in June. Washington D.C.: American Psychological

Robertson, R., Guerinot, J., Robertson, S., & Levine, J. (2013). Legends, icons & rebels: music
that changed the world. Toronto, Ontario: Tundra Books.