Exploring Cultural Identity Through Literature
This issue of WOW Stories: Connections from the Classroom shares four vignettes from classrooms where teachers and students explore identities by connecting with global and multicultural literature. While the students in question range from preschoolers to graduate students, each student is able to extend their understandings of their own cultures and the cultures of others through their experiences with quality literature.
In the first vignette, Angie Zapata shares how she helped a Korean American bilingual preschooler connect with literature related to her cultural background. Next, Maria Perpetua Liwanag, Koomi Kim and Peter Duckett describe how elementary students used multicultural literature to explore their own names and identities. In the third vignette, Laura Kanost shares how bilingual first graders interacted with Latino literature in ways that enacted their identities as Mexican Americans, Americans, and Texans. Finally, I describe my use of identity intersections as a learning engagement to help undergraduate and graduate students explore their own cultural identities and the cultural identities of book characters.
As you read this issue, think about how you connect students of all ages with literature in ways that promote intercultural understandings. Consider sharing your innovative practices by submitting a vignette to WOW Stories. We are interested in descriptions of interactions with literature in classrooms and libraries at preschool through graduate levels. See our call for manuscripts and author guidelines for more information.
Janine M. Schall
Editor, WOW Stories: Connections from the Classroom