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Representation Matters: Board Books with Children with Disabilities

Allison G. Kaplan, Caitlin Tobin, Tina Dolcetti, Jennifer McGowan


Diversity is an important part of children’s literature as demonstrated in numerous articles beginning with Nancy Larrick in 1965 and most recently codified in the We Need Diverse Books movement. However, while diversity has the aim of inclusion, disability representation has not always been part of the equation.

The goal of this study is to explore the evidence of disability representation in children’s literature with a focus on board books through the examination of one library collection. Our team selected board books because we had access to a finite collection we could explore in its totality, and we expected that, due to the nature of board books being explicit in representation, we would be able to easily identify disability representation.

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