Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Human Environmental Science (MS)

Degree Level



General Human Environmental Sciences


Laura K. Herold

Committee Member

Jennifer Becnel

Second Committee Member

Shelley McNally


Children's Literature, People with Disabilities


Shared reading and access to print have been linked to improved outcomes for young children and linked to socio-economic status (e.g Neuman, 1999; Zucker, Cabell, Justice, Pentimonti & Kaderavek, 2013). As a community, we know very little about the access to books that the diverse population of preschool age children from Northwest Arkansas have. Moreover, we know very little about the type of books available to them. This study seeks to understand how many children’s books are in select preschools of varying socioeconomic status within Northwest Arkansas that service those with and without disabilities. More pointedly, within the children’s book representation, how many books portray characters with disabilities? Select preschools of varying socioeconomic status were selected in Northwest Arkansas, and the number of books in the classroom were documented. Next, each book was categorized as a “Disability Book” or a “General Book”, depending on its characters and content. Results indicate that there is a much higher percentage of General Books than Disability Books overall in select preschool classrooms, and that general education, high socioeconomic centers contain more books on average. Finally, results indicate that centers serving children with exceptionalities have a slightly higher percentage of books including characters with disabilities than general centers. These results suggest a need for increased children's books in early childhood settings that reflect all individuals that are being taught, including those with disabilities. Children’s books are important in teaching non-tangible values such as empathy, kindness and compassion through which all children, both typically developing and disabled can benefit from.