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Over the past ten years we have been tracking a specific type of multicultural literature. We diligently look for literature for youth that reflects multiple cultures within the story line or images projected through illustrations. The books we focused on in this theme depict multiple characters reflecting a variety of ethnic backgrounds because this mosaic of characters is what we see to be more of a reflection of our changing world. The interaction of young people today across ethnic lines is more prevalent and we believe will continue to become common place as long as adults allow and encourage this interchange to happen. A good example is a book by Maya Ajmera, Yvonne Wakim Dennis, Arlene Hirschfelder and Cynthia Pon called Children of the U.S.A. It is filled with rich photos of children in 51 cities across the United States and celebrates their ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds. Subtle and effective ways to project this natural occurrence is through literature. The dilemma we see is the lack of such multicultural literature, so we wrote this article with two goals in mind. One is teachers and librarians would be encouraged to use this literature in their classrooms and libraries. Second, we hope that more authors and illustrators are encouraged to write and illustrate stories that portray an interaction of characters from multiple ethnic backgrounds.

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This is an author-produced, peer-reviewed version of the article. The final, definitive version of this document can be found online at Reading Teacher, published by International Reading Association.

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