Queering the Curriculum: A Content Analysis of Award-Winning Children's Literature Using a Queer Lens

Date of Award


Document Type



Teacher Education

First Advisor

Amina Chaudhri, Ph.D.


Queering the curriculum is a fairly recent approach teachers are using to implement culturally responsive teaching pedagogy in elementary classrooms. Through this approach, educators incorporate queer theory in their curricular plans as a means to destabilize heteronormativity in education and recognize multiple marginalized groups including people of color, the LGBTQA+ community, people with disabilities, gender- nonconforming individuals, and more. In my research, I examine what messages about gender and gender variance are being perpetuated in five award-winning children’s books for middle-grade readers by conducting a content analysis using queer theory as my analytic lens. My research began with a quantitative analysis of my book sample to gain a surface level understanding of the protagonists. The second phase of my research included a latent analysis of the texts to decode the messages about gender roles and the effective use of queer theory to analyze the relevance of award-winning children’s literature in middle-grade classrooms. The research shows that environmental factors- such as family, culture, and setting- play a role in the gender construction of protagonists. My research also found that gender-nonconforming characters often face more hardships, like bullying. This thesis discusses how the implementation of queer theory through the use of children’s literature can be used to participate in culturally responsive teaching and introduce students to lifestyles outside the heteronormative.

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