This article brought forth some very interesting points. The author discusses the fact that books are a commercial commodity. Authors and publishers know that in order for books to bring in mass amounts of sales they must depict white middle class families. That is, books must portray the norm. It is well known that white middle and upper class families are the main consumers with the buying power. I think this is a big reason why there is a lack of representation of cultural literature.
In terms of gender, girls are highly outnumbered. The author mentions that when girls are portrayed in books they are usually depicted as fragile, sweet and beautiful. The boys are depicted as being strong and aggressive. I never considered what effect these gender stereotypes could potentially have on children. Reading children books that depict boys and girls in these types of roles could lead children to strive to be something they may not be able to attain. In one of my undergraduate courses we had a discussion on the lack of women represented in the Sciences and in Math. One of the reasons it was suspected that this was the case was because of the lack of female role models portrayed in the media and in books. There are very few books that depict women as scientist, doctors or mathematicians. As teachers I think we need to carefully select books that do not represent boys and girls in a stereotypical manner. I thought the author did an excellent job looking at both sides of this issue. The author was able to provide examples of books that did do an effective job of portraying boys and girls in different roles (i.e. Mem Fox depicts a pirate cry over the death of his parrot, showing children that boys are allowed to be emotional too).
The last point that I thought was interesting was the lack of representation of children with disabilities in books. The author makes the point that this is slowly changing, but there needs to be more written on this topic. Today, in any given classroom a teacher can expect to have at least two children with disabilities. I realize that there is limited literature on this topic. However, having said this I still think teachers should make the effort in tracking down these books and reading them to their students. I think this is such a powerful way of creating acceptance.
The questions used for establishing the criteria for selecting multicultural books will be very useful and helpful to me as a future teacher. They are excellent questions to think about when choosing appropriate books for the classroom.