Graduate Program

Elementary Education

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

John H. Bickford III


Middle school is often the time students become aware of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and in many schools, perceived nonheteronormative behavior is penalized through bullying. One way schools can reduce bullying and increase successful learning environments is to include trade books that feature gender and sexual minorities. State and national standards set expectations for social and emotional learning as well as critical analysis of high quality reading materials. This research analyzed trade books from the 2013 and 2014 Rainbow Lists which were chosen by the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association as the best books published with LGBTQ content the previous year for readers under the age of 18. Forty-seven books at the fourth through ninth grade levels were coded for genre, character identity, role, portrayal, reading levels, Cass (1979) Stages, bullying events, profanity, and sexual content. Profanity and sexual content were coded to anticipate community objections. Suggestions for the use of specific books in classroom situations are discussed.