Why Should You Teach Multicultural Literature?
We humans can easily get caught up in our own little worlds. This is especially easy to do when life gets busy. However, incorporating multicultural literature into our children’s education is worth the effort because of what it teaches them.
Made in God’s Image
It’s important to teach our children that God made all people in His image (Genesis 1:27). As image-bearers, people from around the world use their gifts to contribute to art and literature, and we can learn from their perspectives.
United in Christ
Additionally, we have brothers and sisters in Christ from around the world! Revelation 7:9 says that “all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb.” Reading multicultural literature provides an opportunity to explain to our children that, even though we may be from different cultures, we still can fellowship with people from around the world and will one day fellowship with them in heaven.
Of course, we can value and learn from multicultural literature even if it is not written by Christians. Knowing that we will share heaven with people from around the world should make us interested in their perspectives.
Bubble Popped, Eyes Opened
Every culture has its strengths and weaknesses that we can learn from. As a junior in high school, I had the opportunity to go on a missions trip to Saint Vincent, an island in the Caribbean. Experiencing the third-world conditions, my little American self felt stretched. But I learned so many valuable lessons from experiencing a different culture.
I experienced the joy of having the connection of Christ with people that I had nothing else in common with. I also learned from the strengths of the island culture. As an American, I was used to structure and time-sensitivity. Yet the island Christians had a good sense of what is ultimately important—people. Timeliness is important, and we should still be conscious of that. But, in the end, people trump time and my agenda. Typically, it’s harder for us to evaluate our own culture since we see it as the norm. But when we contrast it with another culture, it’s easier to separate our cultural traditions from what is actually biblical.
The people there were also thankful for the little things, and was I ever thankful for a bed that didn’t have bugs crawling through it when I got home! In more ways than one, I came back changed: I had a new perspective—a more thankful one. I also had a burden for souls around the world.
Whether you send your child on a missions trip or not, you can still teach them some of these valuable lessons through other people’s literature and art.
How Can You Incorporate Multicultural Literature?
Even if you see the value of incorporating multicultural literature, it may seem like an intimidating goal. BJU Press has taken that stress away by making available excellent resources that can guide your child through diverse literature from a biblical worldview perspective.
I was especially impressed with Excursions in Literature and American Literature. In Excursions, each unit starts out with art from a different culture for your child to evaluate, a biblical worldview summary, and “thinking zones” at the end of each story to promote critical thinking. For example, the first unit is about friends, so the artwork highlights three girlfriends. It was painted by an artist from Trinidad. Your child then evaluates their friendship by observing the art and answering some questions provided in the textbook. Next, your child reads about what friendship is from a biblical perspective, where it originated, and who the ultimate friend is—Christ.
In our American Literature textbook, your child will read excerpts from slaves like Phillis Wheatley and Frederick Douglass to Harlem Renaissance poets including Langston Hughes and Countée Cullen. He will also experience life from Asian American perspectives like Li-Young Lee and Amy Tan and Latino American perspectives like Sandra Cisneros—all in light of a biblical worldview.
The Teacher’s Editions of these books are also extremely valuable in helping you navigate these different cultures. As you embark on this journey of educating your child, BJU Press is committed to supporting you along the way.
Are You Promoting Kingdom Thinking?
As we learn from image-bearers around the world, our perspectives broaden, and we are reminded of what heaven will be like—beautifully diverse and united in Christ.
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Stephanie holds a bachelor’s in English education, and her favorite type of literature is multicultural literature. She is passionate about helping people know and defend their faith and is currently working on a master’s in Christian apologetics. In her free time, Stephanie enjoys spending time with her husband, crafting, and reading apologetics books, particularly works by C. S. Lewis.