Reading in the Dark: Whiteness and Racial Representation in Caldecott Books

Terry Husband, Alice Lee


Teachers often choose books for their classroom libraries on the basis of an award or special recognition a particular book has received. In this vein, the Caldecott Medal is one of the most highly esteemed recognitions bestowed on children's picture books each year in the United States. Relatively few studies have examined how race is represented among main characters in Caldecott books. Using a Critical Content Analysis (CCA), we examine how race is represented among main characters in 80 Caldecott books from 1938 to 2017. Findings indicate that an overwhelmingly disproportionate percentage of the characters are White. In addition, the non-White main characters are portrayed in very narrow roles. Implications for teachers to consider when using these books are discussed.


Race; Privilege; White supremacy; Education

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