What the Children Are Reading: A Content Analysis of Minority Male Characters in Preschool Children's Libraries
Date of Award
Educational Administration and Policy Studies
Susan Korach, Ed.D.
Content analysis, Preschool, Minority, Male, Children's libraries
Many early childhood classroom environments have a library area, which has picture books for the children to explore and enjoy, and some early childhood classrooms put tubs or baskets of a few picture books in every center in the classroom. In addition to inspiring a love of reading and providing hours of enjoyment, children's literature serves emotional, social, intellectual, linguistic and literary purposes (Temple, Martinez, Yokota & Naylor, 2002). A primary goal in early childhood programs is to welcome and embrace the diversity of children and families in today's multicultural society (Brinson, 2012) and children's books provide a wonderful way for children to learn about diversity and fairness (Derman-Sparks & Edwards, 2012). Children's literature presents gender roles and culture norms to readers that are overt and underlying within the story (Rodman & Hildreth, 2002). Exposure to picture and story books that challenge historically limiting gender roles and cultural norms counteract stereotypes that could have harmful effects on cognitive, social, and gender development of young students. (Hamilton, Anderson, Broaddus & Young, 2010).
The purpose of this study was to explore representation and depiction of male characters of color in children's picture books within early childhood classrooms libraries. Ten early childhood classroom libraries were inventoried and picture books with males of color were analyzed using a framework for the critical analysis of multicultural children's literature (Mendoza & Reese, 2001). This study had three levels of analysis of classroom libraries: classroom demographics and teacher perceptions, inventory of classroom libraries, and critical content analysis of the role and representation of male characters of color.
Findings revealed that director and teacher perceptions impact the composition of classroom libraries, and that they are more aware of the need for books featuring non-White characters than they are aware of the need for picture books with male characters. The representation of males of color aligns with dominant cultural values and traditional roles for boys, and some ethnicities are portrayed through a native cultural lens. Picture books typically consist of one racial or ethnic group and the non-White characters are often seen as representations of ethnic cultural information. This study suggests a need for school leaders to pay attention to the composition of classroom libraries related to racial/ethnic and gender diversity represented in classroom libraries. Teachers would also benefit from professional development regarding how to build a classroom library that exposes young children, especially boys, to racial, ethnic, and gender diversity.
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Mann-Boykin, Joan Katrina, "What the Children Are Reading: A Content Analysis of Minority Male Characters in Preschool Children's Libraries" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1208.
Received from ProQuest
Joan Katrina Mann-Boykin
Educational Leadership, Education Policy