Term of Award

Winter 2023

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 1

Alma Stevenson

Committee Member 2

Robert Lake

Committee Member 3

Amina Chaudhri

Committee Member 3 Email



Voices from people of color are, and have been, historically silenced. In addition, voices of young children are overlooked and undervalued. This dissertation is an ethnographic inquiry in which I work alongside ten, diverse children in a first grade classroom, with the intent to explore how multicultural children’s literature helps these first graders to develop their cultural empathy towards those who are different than themselves and accept one another’s differences. Theoretically my dissertation work build upon three major bodies of literature such as the critical literacy (Comber & Simpson, 2001; Freire & Macedo, 1987; Luke, 2012, 2018; Nieto, 2010; Vasquez, 2004; Vasquez, Janks, & Comber, 2019); cultivating cultural empathy through multicultural children’s literature (e.g., Bishop, 1990; Verducci, 2000; Botelho & Rudman, 2009; Noddings, 2010; Gopalakrishnan, 2011);, and culturally responsive/relevant/sustaining pedagogy (Gay, 2000/2010; Ladson-Billings, 1995, 1994/2009; Paris & Alim, 2017), Methodologically my dissertation builds on the ethnographic works of Valdés (2001), Vasquez (2004), Igoa (!995), Schultz (2008/2018), and Carger (1996). These works inspired my research with young children and helped me realize my work could fill the gap in the literature by listening and amplifying the words and voices of my young students. I hope my work will inspire other educators to pursue culturally responsive/relevant/sustaining curricula for their own students in order to value students’ funds of knowledge (González, Moll, & Amanti, 2005) and intentionally hear what their students have to say.

Research Data and Supplementary Material