Equity Audits of Ethnicity in Three Transitional Series: Moving Toward Diverse Series Books for Today’s Young Readers
This manuscript explores representations of protagonists of various multicultural backgrounds in three transitional series. Prior studies, such as Gangi (2008) and Green and Hopenwasser (2017), exposed the deficiencies of multicultural literature in elementary classrooms, particularly among transitional series books. Green and Hopenwasser emphasize the developmental importance of equal representation in transitional books with characters of diverse ethnicities, because they act as mirrors and windows for students to learn, grow, and reflect. These studies argue that in order to allow children to see themselves and to develop a positive self-image in primary grades, it is critical for teachers to be thoughtful while choosing series books. For the purposes of this study, to explore ethnic and racial representations of protagonists with the actual demographics of third graders, researchers conducted an equity audit on three transitional series, published across different decades and commonly found in elementary classrooms. Equity audit data show multicultural representations lacking. In order for children to see healthy role models who mirror their own racial and ethnic contexts, authors describe the importance of teachers choosing series with strong, diverse protagonists to include in their classroom libraries.
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