Children’s literatureResources to support multicultural teaching and learning
in primary school
- My Two Blankets by: Irena Kobald & Freya Blackwood (2014)
This text won the 2015 Children’s Book Council award for Picture Books. With the main theme being cultural diversity, the author attempts to draw the reader in to the emotions and feelings associated with leaving one’s home and country for a new country. The sights and sounds of this new country are encapsulated through a ‘blanket’ which grows as the main character Cartwheel develops feelings of belonging. The blanket is used as a metaphor for her feelings as they change and develop throughout the text. Based on the experiences of the author’s own daughter and her Sudanese friend, the underlying messages emulate that newly arrived migrants to Australia need respect, care and ultimately, friendship.
- Sandwich Swap by: Kelly Di Pucchio & Queen Rania of Jordan Al Abdullah (2010)
Inspired by the childhood events of Her Majesty Queen Rania, this text highlights the highs and lows of friendship. This text highlights the many similarities between the two main characters yet goes deeper by exploring the area of food and the cultural connections these have for Lily and Salma. The text proceeds to explore how one difference can either undo or unite friendships. This text incorporates the connection to ‘food’ as the underlying issue that has caused the breakdown in the relationship.
This text takes a significant step forward by promoting acceptance, respect and tolerance of all regardless of differences and celebrates these differences through inclusion and acceptance of differences and ultimately extending knowledge and experience of other cultures through the common human need of sustenance. This text provides realistic scenarios yet aims to offer solutions with the subliminal messages of respect, acceptance and tolerance. This text can support discussions from questions that may arise based on real life events occurring in the world.
- Same but little bit diff’rent by Kylie Dunstan (2012)
Introducing an indigenous lens, this texts enables clear comparisons and contrasts between life in an Australian city and the top end of Australia. Each page takes the reader on a realistic yet comparative journey connecting scenarios in both parts of Australia. Highlighted in each scenario, are the words ‘same…. but little bit diff’rent’. This text takes readers on a visually inspiring experience enriched with detailed collage artwork techniques depicting the many commonalities between both children regardless of their diverse surroundings.
- The Little Refugee by Anh and Suzanne Do (2011)
Based on true events, this text adds a human element to the harsh realities faced by refugees who come to Australia. This text takes the reader inside the thoughts, feelings and raw emotion encountered by people who leave their homeland. The text presents an inspirational account of the realities faced by the author and his family and the reasons for leaving their country and wanting to come to Australia. With recurring refugee boats arriving in Australia, this text enables a greater insight into the realities of civil war and highlights that all people have the same values at their very core: health, happiness and respect for family and one another.
This text, written in the first person, enables the author to share deep and emotive experiences with the reader, yet continually highlighting the positiveness gained out of every event, regardless of how grim the actual events are. The illustrations are powerful, depicting great detail through the use of mostly black and white illustrations in the first half of the text then exploding with colour for the latter part of the text. This enables the reader time to pause and reflect on the emotional toil the family endured in their journey to a safe country.
- Out by Angela May George (2016)
This text introduces readers to the term ‘asylum seeker’. This text enables students to gain a greater understanding of what ‘seeking asylum’ means by explaining the reasons through the voice of the young girl as she leaves her homeland. This text enables students to feel the same emotions as students in Australia, that the love of a family is the same and the right to live in a safe place. The author states ‘it was important not to underestimate the intelligence of children and let them make up their own minds after reading a (the) story.” (Layt, J. 2016).
- Web based digital resource:
Next Door Land App: Department Foreign Affairs and Trade (2016)
This newly released app enables students to take a virtual journey around Australia and its closest neighbour Indonesia to explore similarities and differences between the countries. Extensive curriculum guides have been developed to support teaching and learning by both Australian and Indonesian Governments. Following on from reading and exploring the texts above which have a ‘compare and contrast’ lens of different cultures, languages and traditions, this app enables students to walk in the footsteps of another culture, attempt to communicate in another language and explore the traditions and histories of other cultures. Developing intercultural understanding of Australia’s closest neighbour.