Children's Literature For The Multicultural Classroom Focusing On Niki Daly

2560 words - 10 pages

From the very moment we are born, we explore and understand our surroundings through our senses. Sight is one of the main senses we use to identify things and people around us, books being one of the main sources in developing our learning. Young children begin as early learners through the use of books, by exploring and making sense of their surroundings and the world. They can also gradually begin to compare their own experiences and perceptions of particular things, be it through the illustrations, themes, settings or characters. Therefore the use of literature and reading is clearly identified as a key element in learning. Especially when we live in a world which is diverse in people, values and belief, as well as everything continuously changing.In this essay I will be looking at Niki Daly, an author/illustrator whose books are a prime example of multi-cultural literature. His heavy representation of African themes in his work and illustrations demonstrate diversity, allowing the reader to explore and understand a different culture.I will examine the significance of his work on the multicultural classroom, as well as address the impact it has on it. I will critically analyse some of his books, with particular reference to the use of language and central themes. But firstly I will highlight some brief biographical information about him.Nicholas (Niki) Daly is a South-African author/illustrator, born in Cape Town in 1946. He is renowned for his books that are heavily influenced by African settings, myths and fantasies, such as Not So Fast Songololo, Jamela's Dress and Pretty Salma. His style is distinguished for using children as the main character in encapsulating children's imaginations and life-experiences through his story-lines and Illustrations. Daly produced a range of South-African based literature for young readers, highlighting day-to-day activities, interactions in the lives of young children and child-adult relationships. "The urban landscapes found in his picture books reflect the best of his childhood impressions of a time and place where everyone knew everyone else and shared a general feeling of respect and affection" (Books for keep, January 2005). He identifies that certain groups are not portrayed as much in children's books, as a result goes out of his way to incorporate these individuals into his stories.His book Not So Fast, Songololo saw an extreme breakthrough, as he developed an insight of the myths that shape black South African reality (poverty), through a day in the life of a young boy with his grandmother. He has influenced inclusiveness of all races and ethnicities, as the themes portrayed are universal.Although Daly uses an African theme throughout most of his books, he also combines this with fantasies, reality and even retold a childhood classic with the African twist.'Pretty Salma' is just one example of his work, which is based on a modern spin of "Little Red Riding Hood" in an urban African setting in Ghana....

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