Graduate Program

Curriculum and Instruction

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Semester of Degree Completion

Summer 2020

Thesis Director

John H. Bickford III

Thesis Committee Member

Amy Davis

Thesis Committee Member

Jeannie Ludlow


This study explores the 2016 Monarch Award Master List as an educational resource for kindergarten through grade three teachers and librarians. It focuses this exploration by examining how diversity was represented in the text and illustrations of the books in the sample. The Monarch Award is Illinois’ K-3 Kids’ Choice award. Illinois’ children are increasingly diverse, and it is important that they have access to literature that reflects their diversity. The study revealed that diverse characters were portrayed with nuance and respect, but they were still underrepresented on the list. Additionally, diverse characters often had to display extraordinary characteristics to gain acceptance or recognition. Limitations, implications, and areas for future research are suggested.