Read This Book!: Defending Multicultural Literature from Recent Censorship
The aim of this research is to highlight the importance of multicultural children’s literature in the field of education as it relates to the call for a more multicultural approach to education, as well as through the consideration of the recent uptick in book censorship across the country. Specifically, I will turn my attention towards children’s literature that features Black characters and experiences, which are often featured within the multicultural realm. Despite the fact that research has consistently shown that multicultural children’s literature has benefits for Black children as well as creating an engaging reading experience for all readers, efforts to limit the exposure of this literature in classrooms and libraries has risen greatly within the past several years. Efforts at censorship by those claiming the books advance “Critical Race Theory” in particular have threatened to limit and/or remove these important materials from accessibility. Those censoring books often target multicultural books, and in turn, the possible benefits that come with these materials become limited. Particularly alarming is the fact that many of those who aim to censor these books do not read the text itself, even though they argue that they are potentially “harmful.” Using the methodology of literary analysis to read three multicultural children’s picture books that have faced censorship in multiple school districts in the United States, I will argue that these books are not a cause for concern, and that they instead promote positive values that all children, regardless of their background, can embrace, such as self-confidence, the importance of self-expression, and a sense of belonging.