CRITERIA FOR EVALUATING MULTICULTURAL LITERATURE

   Denise E. Agosto, Ph.D.

 

(From: Ada, A. F., & Silva, S.  (1997).  Gathering the sun: An alphabet in Spanish and English. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard.)

 

 

High quality multicultural literature shares five major characteristics: accuracy, expertise, respect, purpose, and quality.  These five characteristics serve as excellent evaluation criteria.  Each is discussed below, and sample questions for assessing these characteristics are offered.

 

1.    Accuracy.  Accuracy of cultural representation is a crucial aspect of high quality multicultural literature.  Inaccurate portrayals can mislead readers and perpetuate stereotypes.  To assess accuracy, consider questions such as:

 

2.    Expertise: Creators of multicultural literature must have sufficient background knowledge to create accurate portrayals of a cultural group.  To assess expertise, consider questions such as:

 

3.    Respect.  Creators of multicultural literature should exhibit respect for the cultures they portray.  To assess respect, consider questions such as:

 

4.    Purpose: Although good literature contains universal themes, there should be a purpose for using a particular setting or for representing characters of a particular cultural background.  To assess purpose, consider questions such as:

 

5.    Quality: Multicultural literature must meet the general quality standards applied to all other literature, such as well-developed plots, settings, and characters for texts, and the distinctive use of composition, color, and perspective for illustrations.  To assess quality, consider questions such as:

 


 

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created 5/01/02; last updated 02/11/07