Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award

Fall 1-7-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Early Childhood Education

First Advisor

Laura May, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Stacey French-Lee, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Teri Holbrook, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Michelle Zoss, Ph.D.


This study seeks to explore ways in which Black and Brown males are depicted in picturebooks. This study is guided by the concept of cultural code-meshing-—"the blending and concurrent use” (Young, 2009, p. 50) of all the cultural languages that are mine (e.g., rap quotes, artistic media, and academic writing). The following question guided this study: How are race, racism, and power depicted in Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut and Windows? The theoretical framework that guides the study is Critical Race Theory (CRT), which aids in understanding how ideas of race, racism, and power are operationalized in various spaces. The sample consists of two picturebooks, Windows authored by Julia Denos and illustrated by E.B. Goodale, and Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut, authored by Derrick Barnes and illustrated by Gordon C. James. I use the critical content analysis approach as it is effective for understanding how various forms of privilege and oppression exist in society. I use textual and visual analysis to make visible various discourses operating through the print text and visual imagery within the two picturebooks. Through a deductive approach, I observe data from both books and analyze the data through the tenets of CRT to understand how race, racism, and power are communicated through print text and visual imagery. Of the six tenets of CRT, there were four tenets found operationalized in the study: counter storytelling/unique voices of color, race as a social construction, permanence of racism, and the critique of colorblindness. Exploring the representation of Black and Brown males in children’s literature will contribute to the field of education—and by extension the role of children’s book publishing in education—by advancing conversations around the selection and utilization by adults of picturebooks for young children. Understanding how messages surrounding Black and Brown males are communicated through the words and images within picturebooks can inform the ways in which future picturebooks are created, published, awarded, selected, and used in various spaces, including classrooms.


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