Representation and Construction of Disability in Children's Picture Books

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Rachel Cobb (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
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Abstract: Picture books convey messages about society and how groups of people engage with one another and are often the first literary representations of societal functions that children see. Picture books can be used to promote positive views of individuals with disabilities when they are written with accuracy and sensitivity, but they can also unintentionally perpetuate harmful stereotypes and promote negative views of and interactions with people with disabilities if not written well. Therefore, it is important that educators are aware of what portrayals of characters with disabilities are appropriate for classroom use and what portrayals could harm students or cause them to think inaccurately about disability. Unfortunately, few critical studies have been conducted on disability-focused picture books (Koc, Koc, & Ozdemir, 2010), and those that have been conducted show that there are strikingly few positive yet realistic portrayals of individuals with disabilities in children"s literature (Brenna, 2009). This study works toward a greater understanding of ability and disability in children"s literature through a critical content analysis of four picture books using a Critical Disability Theory framework. The four books analyzed in this study were found to be appropriate for classroom use with few reservations.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2020
Bersani and Myers, CDT, characters with disabilities, children-™s literature, critical content analysis, Critical Disability Theory, critical theory, disability, Kleekamp and Zapata, picture books

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