Researchers conducted a critical multicultural analysis of 58 realistic fiction children’s picture books that portray people living in poverty and compared these depictions to recent statistics from the United States Census Bureau. The picture books were examined for the following qualities: main character, geographic locale and time era, focal poor character (gender, age, and race), who demonstrated action, and the type of action (individual, community, systemic) demonstrated. Results of the analysis showed that while in some areas the books accurately reflect the reality in the United States today, there are other areas in which poverty is misrepresented. For example, while the attribute of gender was found to be accurately reflected in the literature, depictions of contemporary rural poverty as well as action performed at the systemic level are seemingly absent. The analysis concludes with implications for teaching as well as recommended books to consider for inclusion in a classroom library.
Kelley, J. E., & Darragh, J. J. (2011). Depictions and Gaps: Portrayal of U.S. Poverty in Realistic Fiction Children’s Picture Books. Reading Horizons: A Journal of Literacy and Language Arts, 50 (4). Retrieved from https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/reading_horizons/vol50/iss4/5