While picture books are often viewed as educational resources for young readers, it is crucial to not overlook the images and content this literary medium contains. Research suggests that repetitive messages encompassing a stereotypical nature cultivate lasting impressions on young audiences. One portrayal often associated with negative implications is the depictions of older characters in children's first literature. This investigation analyzed a selection of picture books from the New York Times best sellers list, the Book Sense best sellers list, and the Caldecott award winners for the years 2000–2010. In an attempt to provide a time spectrum communicating the levels of ageism that remain prevalent within the last decade, over 700 illustrated literary works were included in this exploration. Although conclusions supported a continuation of the under-representation of senior adults that is congruent to similar studies, findings suggested a significant improvement in the overall portrayal of older characters in illustrated books. This result communicates an optimistic outlook in continuing the promotion of positive attitudes for children regarding the aging process.
College and Department
Fine Arts and Communications; Communications
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Danowski, Jesica L., "The Portrayal of Older Characters in Popular Children's Books: A Content Analysis from 2000 to 2010." (2011). All Theses and Dissertations. 2469.
older adults, children's picture books, ageism, cultivation