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Cultural Competence and Youth Literature

In the United States by the end of the 1980s, the term multicultural literature was commonly used to refer to various kinds of diversity in literary representations. In some instances, the term broadly encompassed race and ethnicity, gender, differing abilities, class, and sexual orientation, but in others, the term referred more specifically to literature featuring non-White characters. The term applied to the inclusion of groups that have historically lacked power and authority in society. Teachers and librarians started selecting books that allowed all youth to see themselves reflected as if looking into a mirror and to learn about other cultures as if looking through a window. Perceiving this literature as a door through which young readers might gain cultural competence by grappling with relevant cultural ...

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