Document Type


Publication Date

September 2017


Purpose – Education initiatives require substantive changes for history, social studies, English, andlanguage arts teachers of any grade level. History and social studies teachers are to integrate multiple textsfrom diverse perspectives, which increases teachers’ uses of trade books and primary sources; English andlanguage arts teachers are to spend half their allotted time on non-fiction topics, which enhances the positionof historical content. The compulsory changes are not accompanied with ready-made curricula. Trade booksare a logical starting point for teachers inexperienced with the new expectations, yet, research indicates thathistorical inaccuracies and misrepresentations frequently emerge. The paper aims to discuss these issues.Design/methodology/approach – The authors’ inquiry explored trade books’ historical representation ofFranklin Delano Roosevelt, America’s longest serving president. The data pool was organized by early grades(Kindergarten-4), middle grades (5-8), and high school (9-12) to contrast patterns of representation betweenand within grade ranges.Findings – Findings included patterns of representation regarding Roosevelt’s noteworthiness andaccomplishments, advantages and assistances, and moral and political mistakes.Social implications – Classroom suggestions included guiding students to identify historical gaps andinterrogate primary sources to fill these gaps.Originality/value – Similar research has not been conducted on this historical figure.