Title: “The Representation of Autism in Children’s Literature: An Analysis & An Alternative”
Faculty Mentor: Elizabeth Mannir (WOST)
External Reviewer: Dr. Sara Webb-Sunderhaus (English)
Honors Program Council Liaison: Susan Anderson (Library)
Sadie King-Hoffmann is a junior dual-degree student, working towards a B.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders and a B.A. in English Literature, with a minor in Women’s Studies. After graduation in Spring 2015, she intends to pursue graduate studies in children’s literature and library science.
With the prevalence of autism on the rise, one would expect to see an increase in literature for young children focusing on the topic. After all, children are more likely to have a classmate or sibling on the autism spectrum now than ever before. However, it seemed that picture books I encountered focusing on this topic were often falling into a pattern of isolating the character with autism or inaccurately depicting the disorder. I investigated this corner of the picture book market by analyzing available works. I then identified problem areas with the literature that is currently available and developed a list of evaluation criteria. Finally, I created my own picture book that avoids many of the common stereotypes and tropes.