Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Barbara Moss, PhD; Kendra Sisserson, PhD; Alida Allison, PhD


authors, Asian Americans, children & youth, children's literature, contemporary realistic fiction, Content analysis, cultural authenticity, education, minority & ethnic groups, qualitative, representation, teachers, trade books


The purpose of this study was to systematically analyze Asian-American children's trade books in terms of their cultural authenticity and to examine the perceptions of producers (authors) and consumers (teachers) as related to the cultural authenticity of such books. I wanted to understand the role of Asian-American children's trade books in research and classroom practice and also to understand the perspectives and preconceptions of these producers and consumers. By conducting this qualitative study on the cultural authenticity of Asian-American children's trade books, I hoped to fill a gap in the current discourse knowledge which does not adequately include the Asian-American experience. The following research questions guided my study: (1) How are Asian-Americans currently represented in children's trade books and how culturally authentic are these representations?, (2) What are teachers' perceptions of these representations?, (3) What are authors' perceptions of these representations?, and (4) How do insider and/or outsider perspectives and membership and/or nonmembership influence these perceptions? In order to address these questions, my methodology consisted of content analyses of 15 Asian-American contemporary realistic fiction trade books and in-depth qualitative interviews of four producers and four consumers. I analyzed books written by both members and nonmembers. Furthermore, I interviewed both members and nonmembers. Using a theoretical framework of critical literacy as the main guiding principle, I examined the intersections of power and perspective in order to determine their influences on people's judgment of what is culturally authentic. Adding to the research literature, this study was built upon the work of R. S. Bishop from her study conducted in 1982, Shadow and Substance, but departed in critical ways: (1) the seeking of multiple perspectives, (2) the use of multiple data sources, (3) the focus on Asian-American children's trade books, and (4) the employment of critical literacy as a framework. One of the major findings of this study was that despite increases in Asian-American children's literature, both in quantity and quality, the consumption or rather, use of these Asian-American trade books in classrooms remains minimal. In fact, the lack of consumption appeared to pose more of an issue than any lapses in quantity and quality, as I had originally thought. Teachers cited lack of time, lack of exposure and lack of knowledge as the main reasons for not purchasing and/or using Asian-American trade books. Another major finding of the study was that cultural authenticity relied heavily on insider perspectives and reader response. Thus, all participants were hesitant to pinpoint a definition for differing reasons; the members feared being pigeonholed and the nonmembers feared being offensive.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access