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Family life in children's books

Abstract

Books play an important role in the socialization of children. In order to understand the images of families presented to children, a sample of best-selling and award-winning children's books was analyzed. Sixty-seven Caldecott and Newbery award winners were selected. Some diversity in family structure was presented in the books. However, none of the black families was a one-parent household, and the image of one-parent households was overwhelmingly negative. Family roles, including the division of household work and paid employment, were depicted traditionally. Presentations of the homemaker role and parent-child relationships are described.

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Reference notes

  1. In reality, in one study of families, 15 percent had routine paid household help at least one a month (Lopata, 1971: 168).

  2. In reference to what Madsen (1979:218) has called the “apron syndrome,” half of the books in the Caldecott sample contain illustrations of women wearing aprons.

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Caldecott Award Winners

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Newbery Award Winners

  1. Alexander, Lloyd 1965 The Black Cauldron. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

  2. Alexander, Lloyd 1968 The High King. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

  3. Bond, Nancy 1976 A String in the Harp. New York: Atheneum Publishers.

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Adler, E.S. Family life in children's books. J Fam Econ Iss 5, 24–41 (1982). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01083284

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Keywords

  • Social Policy
  • Family Structure
  • Social Issue
  • Family Life
  • Family Role