Waikato Journal of Education


multicultural literature
critical multiculturalism
cultural hegemony

How to Cite

Ong, P. A. L. (2022). Critical multiculturalism and countering cultural hegemony with children’s literature. Waikato Journal of Education, 27(1), 51–65. https://doi.org/10.15663/wje.v26i1.884


Children’s literature is potentially a starting point to present critical multicultural concepts to young learners. It may also be a medium through which historical and contemporary ideologies of society are encouraged in the young learners. This process may be viewed as a form of cultural hegemony when the choices of literature and reading materials for children are deliberately selective for content and themes. The study is based on a critical content and thematic analysis of 15 multicultural children’s literature picturebooks. It aims to examine the social construction of culture, characters, and literary genres through the process of critical multicultural analysis. Code categories through content analysis of selected children’s literature picturebooks were formed by both directed and conventional content analysis. These code categories include content with a social justice/equity issue, themes involving inclusivity, discovering new worlds/other cultures, language/ethnicity/religion diversity, and multidimensional characters from minority or marginalised groups. This process provides insight into counter-cultural hegemonic elements in many forms of multicultural literature. Implications are discussed in terms of culturally responsive practice and multicultural education. These multicultural and picturebook narratives provide windows to society, informing readers and learners about diverse cultural experiences.


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