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Beverly Pennell argues that 'children, nation and race' are inextricably linked through disourses that position children as 'the nation's most valuable asset' and 'the key to social advance', and that the significance of multiculturalism within children's literature lies in its ability to enagage the child reader with textual representations of cultural pluralism (50). She draws attention to critics who argue that representations of multiculturalism in Australian children's fiction lean more towards the 'superficial and cosmetic' in dealing with issues of cultural diversity and that 'the mulicultural context is often 'taken for granted' at the expense of the plot' (50). In contrast, she argues that Odo Hirsch's Have Courage, Hazel Green 'proposes that children's acculteration into an officially multicultural society generally devolves into assimilationist and integrationist practices that efface cultural differences ... and exposes policies of tolerance as an unsatisfactory basis for egalitarian social relations' (50). Her close reading of the text concludes that Hazel Green speaks to the importance of minority rights and to the due recognition of culture...and enables child readers to see why the circumstances of multiculturalism are far from straightforward' (57).

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Last amended 30 May 2011
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