Date: August 2005
Creator: DeWitt, Amy L.
Description: The portrayals of mothers and fathers in children's literature as companions, disciplinarians, caregivers, nurturers, and providers were documented in this research. The impact of time of publication, sex of author, award-winning status of book, best-selling status of book, race of characters, and sex of characters upon each of the five parental roles was assessed using descriptive statistics, cross-tabulation, and multinomial logistic regression techniques. A survey instrument developed for this study was completed for each of the 300 books randomly selected from the list of easy/picture books in the Children's Catalog (H.W. Wilson Company, 2001). To ensure all time periods were represented, the list was stratified by decades before sampling. It was expected that parental role portrayals would become more egalitarian and less traditional in each successive time period of publication. Male authors were expected to portray more egalitarian parental roles, and the race and sex of the young characters were not expected to influence parental portrayals. Award-winning books were expected to represent more egalitarian parental roles. Books that achieved the Publisher's Weekly all-time best-selling status were expected to portray parents in less egalitarian roles. Secondary analyses explored the prevalence of mothers' occupations, parental incompetence, and dangerous, solo child adventures. While ...
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