Incorporating Multicultural Literature in EFL Classroom

Vidya Mandarani, Ahmad Munir


Nowadays’ multicultural education poses various challenges. One of the latent issues currently emerged in Indonesia education is the mistreatment towards the students of minority ethnic amongst the fellow learners. This status quo pushes schools’ stakeholders to reflect upon their responsibilities and reconsider the use of multiculturalism in enhancing diversity awareness towards both teachers and students. In an attempt to promote multicultural education, the use of multicultural literature that portrays various cultures, values, and views, may assist the students in appreciating their own culture by the acquisition of diverse perspectives of the society. Moreover, it provides potential teachers to comprehend the diversity of multicultural issues beyond mono-cultural perspectives. This paper aims to emphasize the significance of multicultural literature as teaching materials; recommend selection and evaluation criteria for the said literature; as well as to present strategies of formulating literature-based classrooms. In providing the best teaching materials, it is necessary to select high-quality multicultural literature to present accurate and authentic representations of cultural communities. At any rate, 10 overall criteria should be embedded within the selected literature, thus the QUILT metric can be utilized to assess its quality. Afterward, there are also several recommended approaches, techniques, or strategies for formulating a literature-based classroom that may promote critical thinking in literary discussion.


diversity awareness, multicultural education, multicultural literature

Full Text:

Download PDF


Adam, H., Barratt-Pugh, C., & Haig, Y. (2019). “Portray cultures other than ours”: How Children’s Literature is Being Used to Support The Diversity Goals of the Australian Early Years Learning Framework. Australian Educational Researcher, 46(3), 549–563.

Agustian, M. (2019). Pendidikan Multikultural. Unika Atma Jaya.

Ali, S., Kazemian, B., & Mahar, I. H. (2015). The Importance of Culture in Second and Foreign Language Learning. Dinamika Ilmu, 15(1), 1–10.

Arifin, J., & Susanto, H. (2018). The Internalization of Multiculturalism Values through Literature Learning. 1st International Conference on Social Sciences Education (ICSSE 2017), 147, 167–169.

Bedard, B. C., & Fuhrken, C. (2019). Deepening Students’ Reading, Responding, and Reflecting on Multicultural Literature: It All Started with Brown Girl Dreaming. The Texas Council of Teachers of English Language Arts, 49(1), 25–31.

Bista, K. (2012). Multicultural Literature for Children and Young Adults. Educational Forum, 76(3), 317–325.

Blake, M. E., & Cashwell, S. T. (2004). A Model for Use of Poetry in Diversity Education. Journal of Poetry Therapy: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Practice, Theory, Research and Education, 17(1), 9–20.

Bournot-Trites, M., Belliveau, G., & Spiliotopoulos, V. (2007). The Role of Drama on Cultural Sensitivity, Motivation and Literacy in a Second Language Context. Journal for Learning through the Arts, 3(1).

Brenneman, R. (2018). Reviews of Educational Films. Multicultural Perspectives, 20(1), 37–38.

Brown, B. B. (2021). A Guide to Selecting Multicultural Literature. Teaching Africa.

Cai, M. (2002). Multicultural Literature for Children and Young Adults: Reflections on Critical Issues (1st ed.). Greenwood Press.

Colby, S. A., & Lyon, A. F. (2004). Heightening Awareness about the Importance of Using Multicultural Literature. Multicultural Education, 10(1), 1–7.

Cooperative Children’s Book Center. (2021). Children’s Book by and/or about Black, Indigenous and People of Color. Books by and/or about Black, Indigenous and People of Color 2018-.

Davis, S. L. (2016). How Multicultural Literature Effects African American Students’ Literary Responses. St. John Fisher College.

Dong, Y. R. (2005). Bridging the Cultural Gap by Teaching Multicultural Literature. Educational Forum, 69(4), 367–382.

East, K., & Thomas, R. L. (2007). Across Cultures: A Guide to Multicultural Literature for Children. Libraries Unlimited.

Goo, Y. (2018). Multicultural Literature Education: A Story of Failure? Society, 55(4), 323–328.

Gripton, B. (1993). Multicultural Literature: The Need for Inclusion. Grand Valley State University.

Hanauer, D. I. (2003). Multicultural Moments in Poetry: The Importance of the Unique. The Canadian Modern Language Review, 60(1), 69–87.

Honigsfeld, A., Giouroukakis, V., & Garfinkel, J. L. (2011). Immigrant Literature in the Secondary English Classroom: Rationale and Recommendations. California Reader, 44(3), 25–31.

Howlett, K. M., Bowles, F. A., & Lincoln, F. (2017). Infusing Multicultural Literature into Teacher Education Programs: Three Instructional Approaches. Multicultural Education, 24(3–4), 10–15.

Howlett, K. M., & Young, H. D. (2019). Building a Classroom Library Based on Multicultural Principles: A Checklist for Future K-6 Teachers. Multicultural Education, 26(3–4), 40–46.

Husband, T. (2018). Using Multicultural Picture Books to Promote Racial Justice in Urban Early Childhood Literacy Classrooms. Urban Education, 1–27.

Iwai, Y. (2015). Using multicultural children’s literature to teach diverse perspectives. Kappa Delta Pi Record, 51(2), 81–86.

Iwai, Y. (2019). Culturally Responsive Teaching in a Global Era: Using the Genres of Multicultural Literature. Educational Forum, 83(1), 13–27.

Khairuddin, A. (2018). Epistemologi Pendidikan Multikultural di Indonesia. Ijtimaiyah, 2(1), 1–20.

Krafick, K. (2020). Cultivating Classroom Libraries that Promote Multicultural Literature.

Lawrence, S. A., Johnson, T., Baptiste, M., Caleb, A., Sieunarine, C., & Similien, C. (2017). Pre-Service Teachers’ Use of Multicultural Literature. Journal of Inquiry and Action in Education, 9(1), 28–47.

Lu, M.-Y. (2021). Multicultural Children’s Literature in the Elementary. Race; Lee & Low Books.

Mcnaughton, D. G. (2020). Utilizing Multicultural Literature to Foster Critical Literacy in a Secondary English Classroom [Rowan University].

Moecharam, N. Y., & Sari A, R. D. N. K. (2014). Let’s Talk and Tolerate: Strengthening Students Cultural Awareness through Literature Circles. Indonesian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 3(2), 117–127.

Osorio, Sandra L. (2018). Multicultural Literature as a Classroom Tool. Multicultural Perspectives, 20(1), 47–52.

Osorio, Sandra Lucia. (2012). Letting Go: The Multiple Roles of a Teacher in Literature Discussions. Journal of Classroom Research in Literacy, 5, 3–15.

Osorio, Sandra Lucia. (2015). “¿Qué es deportar?” Teaching from students’ lives. Rethinking Schools, 30(1), 28–32.

Rapp, J. (2019). Using Multicultural Literature to Enhance the Reading Skills of Youth of Color [State University of New York].

Rass, R. A. (2020). Integrating Multicultural Literature in EFL Teacher Training Curriculum. Open Journal of Modern Linguistics, 10(5), 588–598.

Sitepu, I. V. (2017). Studying Multicultularism through Readings of Diasporic Writing: Indonesian Way of Learning Differences and Diversity. Textual Mobilities: Diaspora, Migration, Transnationalism and Multiculturalism, 45–49.

Slaughter, R. (2021). Turning the Page: The Ultimate Guide for Teachers to Multicultural Literature. Rowman & Littlefield.

Smolen, L. A., & Oswald, R. A. (Eds.). (2010). Multicultural Literature and Response: Affirming Diverse Voices. ABC-CLIO.

Sudigdo, A., Slamet, S. Y., Winarni, R., & Ekowardani, N. (2020). Multiculturalism in Children’s Literature: A Study of Poetries by Elementary School Students. Humanities & Social Sciences Reviews, 8(3), 246–259.

Sudigdo, A., Slamet, Winarni, R., & Ekowardani, N. (2018). The Urgency of Multiculturalism in Children’s Literature Textbooks in the Industrial Revolution 4.0. ICSTI.

Supratno, H., Kamijan, & Raharjo, R. P. (2018). Multiculturalism in 2000s Indonesian Literary Novels from the Perspective of Character Building: Sociology of Literature Study. 2nd Social Sciences, Humanities, and Education Conference (SoSHEC 2018), 222, 396–399.

Taufiq, A. (2014). Multicultural Literature: the Identity Construction in Indonesian Novels. Jurnal Humaniora, 26(1), 22.

Temple, C., Martinez, M., Yokota, J., & Naylor, A. (1998). Children’s Books in Children’s Hands: An Introduction to Their Literature. Allyn & Bacon.

Yokota, J. (2009). Learning Through Literature That Offers Diverse Perspectives: Multicultural and International Literature. In D. A. Wooten & B. E. Cullinan (Eds.), Children’s Literature in the Reading Program: An Invitation to Read (3rd ed., pp. 66–73).

Yon, A. (2020). Theme for English H: Identity Poems in a Multicultural English Class. New Jersey English Journal, 9.

Youngs, E. (2015). Effects of Multicultural Literature on Children ’ s Perspectives of Race And Educator Implementation of Multicultural Literature [St. John Fisher College].



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
IJELTAL (Indonesian Journal of English Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics) by is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


Abstracting and Indexing



Contact Us: IJELTAL (Indonesian Journal of English Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics;

Address: Faculty of Teacher Training and Education, Universitas Islam Negeri Sultan Aji Muhammad Idris Samarinda

Jl. H.A.M. Rifadin, Samarinda, Kalimantan Timur, Indonesia. Email: