Religiously Diverse Multicultural Literature for Early Childhood

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Journal of Early Childhood Education

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Through culturally sustaining teaching, teachers can transform practice and pedagogy to challenge inequities and create a space for affirming students’ diverse religious backgrounds. Teacher educators and teachers must develop this pedagogy to understand diverse student populations and facilitate students becoming citizens who accept and empathize with others who have different religious beliefs and traditions. Our purpose was to explore and select multicultural literature that represents religious diversity for early childhood classrooms. Our search focused on major religions practiced in the U.S., which yielded 549 books. We obtained 436 books; 54 met the rubric criteria with a majority focusing on Judaism. We identified four themes: immigration and refugees, holidays, sharing memories and stories, building understandings and empathy. We offered examples of the themes and an example of implementation in the classroom. We recommended this sample that we believe can foster understanding and respect for diverse religious and cultural groups.