Lighting Diyas: Paving Paths for the Tigress Within

Jinny Menon


This paper explores the author’s contention that South Asian females are raised within a familial culture which may serve to devalue them and in addition, can potentially bring them into conflict with dominant school narratives. As such, South Asian female students learning in Canada require alternative stories, “counterstories,” (Lindemann Nelson, 1995) and/or counter-narratives on which to construct their identities. In attempting to respond to the question as to how IndoCanadian female students can negotiate their “stories to live by,” (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000) those complex narratives dealing with ethnicity, culture, family, school, and identity, the author puts forward the premise that children’s literature can lead to a positive response. Selected children’s literature are surveyed as a possible means of cultivating strong cross-cultural connections amongst students, parents, and teachers, and assisting Indo-Canadian girls in primary and secondary grades to succeed as healthy individuals. Woven throughout the paper are brief fragments of a story which the author wrote and chose to include as a way of employing a metaphorical device.

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Canadian Journal of Family and Youth / Le Journal Canadien de Famille et de la Jeunesse
2008-2014 | ISSN 1718-9748