Diversifying the Children’s Literary Canon: Where Do We Start?

By Alena Underwood

Focusing on a person’s first encounter with literature, this research examines the legacy of American children’s books and how that specific literary canon was defined and maintained throughout history. To understand how books were being created, published, and then promoted to the broader public, I focused my research on three societal systems: libraries and literary awards, publishing companies, and state-mandated education systems. By combing through teaching reports, historical analyses of the publishing industry, and literary awards dating back to the 1950s, I was able to grasp how the three systems have interacted with one another for decades.

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