Messages revealed: analyzing a selection of multicultural picture books through a critical lens





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My dissertation, Messages revealed: Analyzing a selection of Multicultural picture books through a critical lens (2011) involved developing an instrument to critically analyze Multicultural picture books. Authors such as Steiner, Nash, and Chase (2008), Botelho and Rudman (2009), Christensen (1994, 2009), Dorfman (1983), Fox and Short (2003), and Norton (1990, 2009), describe how stories convey powerful messages to children about social and moral behaviors and ideas, thus are a powerful tool for teaching and learning. Using the work of Sleeter (2009), Au (2009), Nieto (2007), Banks (1997, 2007), Gorski (2008), Christensen (2009), and Hackman (2005), the analysis instrument and research was conducted using a lens connected to Multicultural Education. The methodology used for this dissertation was document analysis. The process included selecting picture books for the research, developing the analysis instrument using best reading comprehension practices, conducting a pilot study, revising the analysis instrument, and finally conducting the research. Once the research was complete the findings were divided into three broad categories: depiction of story characters as they connect to dominant and subordinate groups, evidence of power or empowerment within the story plot, and connections between the continuum of Multicultural Education and each picture book analyzed. The data supported the importance of using a process to analyze text to reveal various messages. This is important to do, not to create a list of books to throw away or not use, rather to inform teachers and transform the use of the books.

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