This research briefing paper reviews how disability is represented in children’s literature and was written by Ashleigh Reigel and Kendra Vander Glas from Mental Health and Disability Management, and Mckenna Lowrie from Brain Disorders Management. This PDF article is available for download only.
For this project, researchers dove into the world of children’s literature, more specifically, children’s literature and the light it shines on people with disabilities. Researchers looked at 15 different children’s books and analyzed aspects of each book to come to a consensus of how the disability in the book was shown in comparison to society. This project found that 60% of the literature showed disability in a positive light. A large majority of the books discussed the main character having the disability, as opposed to a side character. Finally, over half of the books had the individual with the disability treated positively, but a few had them treated negatively until they learned a lesson, then positively after this point. Literature has a large impact on the views of society, especially when taught in schools. Children learn from literature, as teachers in the primary sector tend to read books to their classes. Pieces of literature like the ones in this study may not be commonly used in everyday classrooms.
Ashleigh Reigel, Kendra Vander Glas, and Mckenna Lowrie, How Disability is Presented in Children’s Literature PDF