This thesis seeks to explore the related research literature surrounding representations and portrayals of protagonists of various multicultural backgrounds in series or transitional books. As teachers, it is essential to acknowledge the lack of multicultural characters in children's literature among elementary classroom bookshelves and learn how to incorporate literature featuring strong main characters of varying races and ethnicities so that children can see role models who mirror their own contexts. Prior studies, such as Gangi (2008) and Green and Hopenwasser (2017) have examined the deficiency of multicultural literature in the classroom, particularly among transitional stories, which shows the importance of exploring this topic. Furthermore, Green and Hopenwasser (2017) emphasize the importance of equal representation of transitional books with characters of diverse ethnicities, as they act as "mirrors and windows" for students to reflect upon themselves. These studies argue that to prevent the "whitewashing" of literature for primary grades, teachers should be cautious while choosing series or transitional books. I conducted an equity audit on three series or transitional books from different time periods, commonly found among elementary classroom libraries to explore ethnic and racial representations of protagonists to the actual demographics of the third-grade student population. Administering this equity audit also determined that popular series or transitional books are advantageous to include in classroom libraries when protagonists are portrayed as non-stereotypical experiencing real-life situations. The findings of this equity audit have the potential for educators to improve their methods choosing literature with characters of diverse races and ethnicities and improve methods of integrating multicultural literature into lessons.
Roberts, Sherron Killingsworth
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Community Innovation and Education
Orlando (Main) Campus
Balkaran, Sonia M., "An Exploration of Representations of Race and Ethnicity in Three Transitional Series for Young Children" (2018). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 409.