Date of Award

Summer 7-24-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Elementary and Early Childhood Education


Elementary and Early Childhood Education

Committee Chair

Dr. Sanjuana Rodriguez

Committee Chair/First Advisor

Dr. Neporcha Cone

Second Committee Member

Dr. Raynice Jean-Sigur

Third Committee Member

Dr. Camille Sutton-Brown-Fox

Fourth Committee Member

Dr. Sohyun An



There is a current shortage of culturally responsive African American children’s books. Culturally responsive literature provides a positive influence on children of all races and researchers have indicated that picturebooks that are diverse and culturally responsive can affirm cultural and social identities (Crowley, Fountain, & Torres, 2012). The purpose of this study was to examine how the life experiences of African American families are currently being depicted in recently published children’s literature. This study employed a qualitative research design to explore the topic of African American families in children’s literature. The study examined how African American families are represented in the illustrations and texts. Two research questions on African American life experiences and family culture were used to guide this study:

  1. How are life experiences of African American families represented in children’s picturebooks submitted to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) in 2017?
  2. How are African American characters and cultures portrayed in the illustrations and/or texts?

I applied the critical race theory as a conceptual tool for analyzing how race and racism have been systematized and supported. Findings from this study indicate that the most prevalent life experiences found among the literature were the church, family, and music. Findings also indicate that the picturebooks did not represent a wealth of experiences that are present in African American families. Findings also indicate that the selected picturebook subset did not have enough culturally responsive books in the collection. Implications for families as well as teachers are included.


A Critical Content Analysis of African American picturebooks submitted to the CCBC in 2017