Using Fairy Tales to Promote Multiculturalism

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There are many fairy tales that are well known to a majority of American youths. Most children are familiar with the basic structure of the fairy tale. They will tell you that there is usually a problem, a villain, a hero and a lesson to be learned in the end. Using the familiar platform of a fairy tale is a great way for teachers to introduce multiculturalism to the classroom. Multicultural literature can positively shape awareness of different cultures. It is important for the teacher to make certain the literature chosen does not promote bias or stereotypes. In this reflection I will examine Lon Po Po A Red-Riding Hood Story From China by Ed Young. By comparing and contrasting the story of Lon Po Po with the version of Little Red Riding Hood most familiar to them children will learn about some of the similarities and differences among American and Chinese culture. The illustrations in Lon Po Po are done in a panel style. They are dark with some blurry images making some pictures hard to see enhancing the scary parts of the story. Lon Po Po is set in the Chinese countryside. It is the mother that makes the journey to grandmother’s house leaving behind her three young daughters. Since the mother will not return until the next day the girls are told to go inside at sunset and latch the door. The clever wolf saw that the girls were alone, and impersonated the grandmother Po Po to trick the children to let him inside. From the start the oldest child Shang was very suspicious, were the younger two Tao and Paotze were very excited to see Po Po and quickly opened the door. Shang continued to question Po Po with things in which she found very suspicious about, like her foot having a bush on it, or her hands having tho... ... middle of paper ... ... about their children, and give them instructions in the hope to keep them safe. The differences in the stories are where the students will begin to understand and appreciate the Chinese culture. They will learn that the Chinese may not react to a situation in the same way, and emotions may be expressed differently. The children in Lon Po Po did not show fear, or excitement in killing the wolf. They may notice that there was a social order where the oldest was the leader and the younger children listened, followed along, and worked very well together. Students may infer that there is a different expectation on Chinese children to use their wit to solve their own problems without help from the outside. It is the hope that the students will understand the differences in the stories, positively shaping awareness of different cultures and eliminating stereotypes.

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