Graduate Research Papers


Open Access Graduate Research Paper


Our culture is abounding with boys being raised solely by their mother. Awareness of the impact of divorce and the importance of a male role model for a young boy has increased and is represented in literature. Authors of children's literature have been continuing the tradition of dealing openly and honestly with many society issues. Despite the large number of books that include single mothers and their sons, the researcher questioned whether or not children's picture and chapter books were accurately portraying the dynamics involved with the single mother/son relationship.

The purpose of this study was to examine children's literature to determine if books portray the relationship and the factors that influence it between single mothers and their sons accurately. A quantitative content analysis was used to examine the portrayal of the single mother/son relationship. This method was used to determine whether the predictive generalizations were true. The twenty-five sample books that fit the criteria were identified from SILO and selected from the UNI Rod Library, the Cedar Falls Public Library, the Central College Library, the Pella Public Library and the Waterloo Public Library. The oldest sample was published in 1983 and the most recent had a copyright date of 2003. All books included in the study were written by American authors and had contemporary settings in the United States.

The study investigated how the single mother relationship with her son(s) was portrayed in both picture books for grade K - 2, or ages 4 - 8, and chapter books for grades 3 - 6 or ages 9 - 12. Reliability of the data was controlled by establishing categories and units and by following requirements. The most positive finding in the study was the Conversely, the most negative finding was the

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Curriculum and Instruction


Division of School Library Studies

First Advisor

Barbara Safford


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Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (v, 121 pages)