Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-9-2020

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis



First Advisor

Rosemary Oliphant-Ingham

Relational Format



A Work of Children’s Literature to Address Realities of Childhood in the Southern United States

This thesis investigated the intersection of life’s realities and children’s literature. Representation is an oft-talked-about area of children’s literature. It is coming to light that many groups are underrepresented in writings for children, and recent works are attempting to broaden the types and backgrounds of characters to represent the diversity of readers and authors. This thesis is the author’s attempt to accurately represent the types of students she encountered in student teaching experiences in the Oxford-area. Using inspiration from her own childhood and knowledge of student reading practice from undergraduate education and specific research, she has crafted a story written for children at approximately a 5.1 ATOS reading level, according to the Renaissance ATOS for Text analyzer.

This reading level lends itself to enjoyment and study by 5th grade students, but it also fills a specific niche. It is written in such a way as to be subject-appropriate for younger students with an advanced reading level. Many times gifted and talented students in the 3rd and 4th grade shy away from reading books at their own advanced reading level, choosing instead to read books with a lower reading level that has a subject that interests them. The ambiguous age of the protagonist is intentional; its purpose is to allow students to connect to her without preconceived ideas about her age and grade level.

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