The wonderful world of children's books? Negotiating diversity through children's literature
SourceInternational Journal of Inclusive Education
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The present paper reports the findings of a study that sought to identify how diversity (in the form of disability, appearance, and race) is presented in children's books written in or translated into the Greek language. The study focused on the plots and the portrayal of key figures. The sample consisted of 50 children's books written after 1990 that focus on diversity and target children aged 6-12 years. Content analysis framed within the interpretative paradigm was undertaken, and this resulted in the formation of categories representative of the range of plots and character portrayals. The analysis revealed the following key themes: the key figure is presented as different from the group; the key figure is often only accepted through the mediation of another character who is not considered different or an incident; different figures belong together and not with the figures that belong in the dominant group; and the key figure is an excellent character who might also be brave and unique for several reasons. Taking these findings as a starting point, the paper seeks to place the discussion about children's books, diversity, and education in the literature, and it discusses teachers role in developing students critical literacy skills in order to engage in discussions about diversity without reproducing stereotypes or focussing on the Other. © 2015 Taylor & Francis.