Picturing Rural America: An Analysis of the Representation of Contemporary Rural America in Picture Books for Children

Karen Eppley

Abstract


A quiet but persistent dialog about the importance of place is happening in educational research. This study contributes to that conversation by offering a critical analysis of how picture books show a “placed,” rural America. To increase understanding of the social constructions of rurality, 24 picture books were analyzed using qualitative content analysis to determine how contemporary rural life is represented in picture books for children. Results indicated images falling into six categories: Rural people are self-reliant; rural people are connected; rural people are satisfied and happy; rural people are diverse; rural areas are expendable and, rural people are ‘Other’.

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