On the Margins: The Depiction of Muslims in Young Children’s Picturebooks

Abstract

There are few empirical studies that examine the depiction of Muslims in children’s literature. Given the influence of US media on perspectives of Muslims (Jackson, 2010), and the pervasive use of children’s literature in American schools, it is important to investigate what viewpoints about Islam are being communicated to children through these texts. In this qualitative study, the author uses inductive content analysis to examine the depiction of Muslims in picturebooks written for young children and in English, an area of study in which very little research has been conducted. Themes that emerged within and across texts are discussed and illustrated with examples from the books in the sample. Perspectives about Islam communicated through these themes are described. The author discusses the implications of the findings for Muslims and non-Muslims, making suggestions to enhance the depiction of Muslims and make them more visible in the literature, benefitting all readers in the process.

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Correspondence to Heidi J. Torres.

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Heidi J. Torres is a doctoral candidate at Indiana University, Bloomington. She is currently seeking a degree in Curriculum Studies, with a focus on children’s literature and elementary social studies. She is particularly interested in cross-cultural understanding in young children, and the role of multicultural literature and social studies in developing skills and dispositions related to cross-cultural interactions and understanding.

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Torres, H.J. On the Margins: The Depiction of Muslims in Young Children’s Picturebooks. Child Lit Educ 47, 191–208 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10583-015-9268-9

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Keywords

  • Islam
  • Muslims
  • Religion
  • Young children
  • Picturebooks
  • Multicultural literature