What Am I Reading to My Students? A Critical Content Analysis of Best-Selling Latinx Children's Picture Books
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Deborah Wooten, Liliana Gonzalez, Stergios Botzakis
Diversity in children’s literature has been explored significantly within the past several decades. For Latinx children’s books, scholars have found issues surrounding representation and authenticity. Books involving Latinx stories and themes are underrepresented in the publishing industry, and portrayals of Latinx individuals and groups are often stereotypical and culturally inauthentic. This study sought to contribute to the research base surrounding representation in Latinx children’s literature by critically analyzing narratives and themes in best-selling Latinx children’s picture books. Using a qualitative critical content analysis guided by Latinx Critical Theory and Critical Whiteness Studies, I examined the top ten best-selling Latinx children’s books on Amazon’s collection of best-selling Hispanic children’s literature in order to address the question: In what ways are these books’ plot lines and themes perpetuating or challenging dominant, stereotypical narratives of Latinx cultures and groups? Then, I explored books’ themes and elements of representation as they related to authors’ statuses as cultural insiders or outsiders in order to seek out any trends related to cultural insider or outsider authorship.
Findings from this study demonstrated that the books in this analysis collectively portrayed Latinx characters and experiences positively and in ways that primarily challenged majoritarian narratives, though with some inclusion of stereotypical elements. Findings indicated few salient themes across books associated with authors’ cultural statuses. I provide a discussion of conclusions based on these findings and offer suggestions for ways in which researchers, teachers, and other literacy professionals can utilize findings such as these to seek out representative literature.
Maples, Amy, "What Am I Reading to My Students? A Critical Content Analysis of Best-Selling Latinx Children's Picture Books. " PhD diss., University of Tennessee, 2022.