Historical Reading Ladder

Phyllis Kinsey / Spring 2015

A Selection of Multicutural Historical Fiction

Dragonwings: Representing Diversity in Children's Literature

Children of all ages should be exposed to multicultural historical fiction to help break down barriers and stereotypes. A good piece of literature can help bring communities together and help people understand and become socially aware of cultural difference. Dragonwings is a story of a young boy from China who sets off to America in order to build a better life. He had to learn a new language, adopt to a new culture, while continuing to embrace his own heritage.
In each book feature below, the characters come from all walks of life but have one common goal and that is in search of a better life. Some of the characters must leave their homes due to a corrupt government or poverty, while others are in search of change right in their own neighborhood. Each character learns to embrace their own heritage and culture while taking on the challenges of adapting to a new way of life. The books have been selected to reflect the diversity of our students in the classroom as well as the diverse world in which we live in. America was made by people of all walks of life and it is important that students understand that World History is American History and we must learn about all cultures and embrace their differences and learn about their struggles.
Yep, L. (1975). Dragonwings. New York: Harper Collins.

Woodson, J., & Ransome, J. (2013). This is the rope: A story from the Great Migration. New York: Nancy Paulsen Books.

Based on the author's own family history, this story tells how a rope becomes part of a family’s history. It all started during the Great Migration when one African America family moved from the rural south to the north in search of a better life. A little girl tells how her grandparents used the rope to tie down their things to a car when they moved to New York City. The little girl tells us how her mother used the rope to tug her toys and play jump rope and also how her mother used the rope to tie down her belongings to a car when she went off to college. Then the little girl used it for herself to jump rope and to tie down a banner at a family reunion. At the end, the jump rope was returned to the grandmother. A touching story that any family can relate to. It shows the significance of how one item has impacted three generations. This book is recommended for ages 5-8 years.