China and Chinese as Mirrored in Multicultural Youth Literature: A Study of Award-Winning Picture Books from 1993 to 2009

  • Minjie ChenEmail author
  • Qiuying Wang
Part of the Literacy Studies book series (LITS, volume 8)


This chapter is a critical overview of notable picture books that portray China, Chinese, and Chinese culture. Following up Mingshui Cai’s 1994 study, “Images of Chinese and Chinese Americans Mirrored in Picture Books,” this project examined 46 titles of award-winning picture book stories published from 1993 through 2009, tracing changes, progresses, and persistent flaws in how the culture and experience of ethnic Chinese had been portrayed in publications for American young readers. It analyzed the diversity of genres and subject matter in these books, and evaluated the accuracy of cultural representation in textual and visual contents, with attention paid to the relationship between cultural authenticity and authors’ cultural backgrounds. The project highlighted high-quality titles considered satisfactory sources for learning about Chinese culture, and made suggestions to publishers on ways to raise the standards of multicultural youth literature.


Multicultural youth literature Children’s literature Picture books Book awards Cultural authenticity China Chinese Chinese diasporas Content analysis 



Betsy Hearne, Professor Emeritus of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign graciously read the first draft of this essay and provided much-needed criticism and exhortation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cotsen Children’s LibraryPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA
  2. 2.School of Teaching and Curriculum LeadershipOklahoma State UniversityStillwaterUSA

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