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Title:Which Princess Are You? Language and Gender in Children's Books
Author(s):Reilly, Ciara
Contributor(s):Nelson, Michelle; Ahn, Regina; Devidasani, Simran
Abstract:Results of a 2012 survey of U.S. parents revealed that reading books with their children was the predominant form of parent-child co-media use (Connell et al. 2015). Yet, little research has been done on the actual interactions that occur in this specific context. I spent about two hours a week conducting non-participant observation of pre-school children and their parents at the Champaign Public Library. My time spent observing, approximately 16 hours, led me to some conclusions, specifically regarding gender and language. In addition to my observations, I analyzed and coded a variety of interviews between the researcher and parents. My analysis had a special attention to the gendered aspects of language in regards to children's reading habits and the ways parents communicate with their children. Given my background in Anthropology as well as Gender and Women's studies at the University of Illinois, I was concerned primarily with how female and male children were spoken to differently, both by parents and the messages from the books they chose. These messages were coded in certain ways regarding gender, specifically about expectations for boys in relation to sports or science, and girls in relation to princesses. The concerns about themes in certain books reveal parents attention to language and book content may influence children's self-esteem and perceptions of gender roles. This research provides a nuanced examination of how messages received by children from parents and books can impact children's interests and their ideas regarding gender.
Issue Date:2016
Citation Info:Reilly, Ciara. (2016, April). "Which Princess Are You? Language and Gender in Children's Books." Session presented at Undergraduate Research Symposium, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois.
Genre:Conference Poster
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Ciara Reilly
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-06-07

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