Using the Caldecott Award and Honor Books to Enhance Multicultural Literature

by Oberdick, Michelle N.

Abstract (Summary)
The purpose of this study was to analyze the portrayal of race in the illustrations and text of Caldecott Award and Honor books beginning with the year 2003 through 2008. Books with solely animal characters were discarded due to the inability to determine their race resulting in 14 books to be analyzed. The races of the main and supporting characters, how those characters were portrayed, and whether the books were either racially neutral or racially specific were examined. In a racially neutral book, race plays very little role in the story whereas in a racially specific book the race plays a major role. After the books were analyzed, a matrix listing the books with all races that were present was created. Bar graphs comparing the number of characters for each race in all of the 14 books were created. Lastly, a pie chart showing the percentage of books that were racially neutral versus racially specific was created. This investigation found that only White, African American, and Asians were present in the 14 most recent Caldecott Award and Honor books. Alaskan Natives, American Indians, Hispanics, or Native Hawaiians (defined by the U.S census) were not present in any of the books analyzed. Of the 14 books, 64% of the books contained white characters, 42% percent contained black characters, and less than 1% contained Asian characters. Some books contained more than one race making the total more than 100%. Lastly, 29% of the books were racially specific whereas 71% were racially neutral.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Bowling Green State University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:reading literature caldecott award honor books multicultural


Date of Publication:01/01/2009

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