Multicultural Literature

About culture and diversity :

The diversity of our world makes it interesting. We learn more about ourselves when we learn more about others because, through their stories, we discover that we are more alike than different.

What is culture? According to Cool Planet for Teachers, culture is "a people's whole way of life. This includes their ideas, their beliefs, language, values, knowledge, customs, and the things they make." Separated by space (land, oceans) and time, groups of people in a society develop a culture. This is true even for groups of students in a particular school. Culture changes. Think of the aspects of culture given in the definition above: ideas, beliefs, language, values, knowledge, customs and things--these are all things that change.

As populations and societies and cultures change, our view of the world we belong to, must also change. Whenever we are faced with an idea that seems new or even strange to us, that goes against what we think we know to be true, it causes in our head something called cognitive dissonance. Sometimes, people who grow up in a secure culture have a difficult time understanding the culture of other people outside their own group. For any of us to be people of the world, and not merely people of an area, we must allow ourselves to experience and know as much of that world as we can. This is one of the aims of this class.

Unit Details:


Black Like Me, Griffin
Braided Lives
Supplementary materials

Readings: (those that are starred have worksheets that go with them; the others are options for your reading journal)

  • Living in the Global Village, Mura

  • No Name Woman, Kingston*

  • Arrival at Manzinar, Houston & Houston

  • Fire Dragon & Sweat, Glancy

  • American Horse, Erdrich*

  • What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona, Alexie*

  • Love, Hunger Money, Alexie

  • Canyon de Chelly, Ortiz

  • What I Mean, Ortiz

  • How to Tame a Wild Tongue, Anzaldua*

  • A Very Special Pet, Mohr

  • Oranges, Soto

  • Father, Soto


Race in the 21st Century: A Web Quest Assignment
Ethnic Studies: group project
Reading Journal (for selected essays/stories/poems)

Links >


African American

Native American

Writers' sites:

Asian American


Multicultural Literature online


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Dawn Hogue, 2004