Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2020

Thesis Advisor(s)

Grace Player

Honors Major

Elementary Education


Children's and Young Adult Literature | Early Childhood Education | Elementary Education


The United States multiracial population is a fast-growing portion of our population. As the multiracial population grows, so does the need for multiracial representation within books. This study analyzed the representation of multiracial individuals in children’s picture books for ages newborn-8. I identified 75 board and picture books published in the United States between the years 2009 and 2019 that feature mixed race characters. The identified texts were analyzed in a critical content analysis using a framework based upon Critical Race Theory. Through this framework, I examined how multiracial characters in the texts are portrayed, the power dynamics, and what the texts says about various aspects of culture, including race and class. I also analyzed the authors and illustrators of the selected books, looking closely at the role that this plays in the dynamics presented in the texts. The data collected showed that, currently, there are few books that offer multiracial windows and mirrors and the overwhelming majority of the picture books that were identified did not provide specific cultural information. The findings suggest that the 9 million Americans who identified as multiracial on the 2010 census are not seeing themselves represented, in diverse, authentic, and varied ways, in children’s picture books. There is a large need for more literature featuring multiracial characters from all backgrounds created by authors/illustrators who share the same background.