Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Early Childhood Education

First Advisor

Dr. Laura May

Second Advisor

Dr. Teri Holbrook

Third Advisor

Dr. Rhina F. Williams

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Gholnecsar Muhammad


A long history of misrepresentation of Middle Eastern Muslims exists in the West. Middle Eastern Muslim students face discrimination in school settings. Compounding this issue is the fact that little children’s literature is available with Middle Eastern Muslims as characters. As a result, Middle Eastern Muslim children are seldom able to see themselves and their communities reflected in classroom materials. Also, children from other religious communities are not provided with authentic representations of Middle Eastern Muslims. In this study, I use critical content analysis and intersectional theory to examine the 36 picturebooks honored with the Middle East Outreach Council-Middle Eastern Book Award (MEOC-MEBAW). Findings suggest that the books tend to represent Middle Eastern Muslims using a small number of single stories, thus falling short of reflecting the great diversity in the Middle East. Three intersectional identities were prevalent across the data set: traveling men from long time, courageous and sacrificing women accomplishing change, and the refugee or immigrant. This study fills a small portion of the dearth of research of Muslim children’s book characters in children’s literature published in the West and indicates the need for more attention to the publishing and classroom use of more diverse children’s literature about Middle Eastern Muslims.