Fairy tales draw small children as an audience because they easily identify with the simple character archetypes. Fairy tales are stories about "make-believe" characters such as goblins, fairies, elves, trolls, and talking animals. Fairy tales often end in a happily ever after, everything turns out right way. Fairy tales often center on "real people" as opposed to gods and deities one would find in Myths.
A Fable is defined as a narration intended to enforce a useful truth. The word fable derives from the Latin fabula which means conversation, story, or play. The most widely known example would be Aesop's fables which generally involve some sort of animal teaching a lesson to another animal.
The main difference in between a myth, fairy tale, or a fable is the subject matter. The main subject in a myth is a god or deity or natural phenomena that is difficult to explain. The main subject in a fairy tale can vary, but it is invariably about a "real person" involved in an extraordinary set of circumstances. The fable's main subject is the lesson it is trying to teach. The fable may employ fantastical characters as in a fairy tale, but the main idea of the story is the moral at its core.
Nations characterized by religious diversity, such as the United States, have a history of hostility and mistrust between people of different backgrounds. Research shows that by age 5, some students have already developed high levels of racial intolerance towards others (Bigler & Liben, 1993). This means that even in a first grade classroom, the children are hostile and intolerant toward other races. The demographics of the classroom as also changing with up to one third of the students being of some non-white ethnicity and by 2020, up to one half of the elementary population will be non-white. There is a clear and definite need for an education system that acknowledges and embraces students from varied backgrounds.
The goals of multicultural education are to "try to create equal educational opportunities for all students by changing the total school environment so that it will reflect the diverse cultures and groups within a society and within the nation's classrooms." (Banks 1997) This means that the school environment will embrace all students and create equal learning opportunities for them all. The first step in embracing all students is in addressing the bigotry and racism that is unfortunately learned at a young age.
Good multicultural literature is essential in providing opportunities to introduce new cultures into the classroom. The introduction of new cultures allows the students to be exposed to them in an accepting manner. Reading aloud is well received by elementary students, and this would allow the educators an opportunity to introduce the lesser known cultures. Once the students have been introduced to them, they are more likely to desire to know more and this knowledge will lead to acceptance and harmony.
Books that shaped the 20th Century
In order for a book to shape a century, it must have a large, far-reaching social impact. The book must be widely-read in order to affect enough people to make an impression. That being said, most truly ground-breaking books are not recognized in the author's lifetime as there is a significant period necessary for the book to gain necessary circulation to shape the