Graduate Research Papers


Open Access Graduate Research Paper


This study was designed to determine how Asian Americans have been characterized in children's fiction. The questions investigated were: (1) what are the identifiable physical, social and personality stereotypes attributed to Asian Americans, (2) how have characterizations of Asian Americans changed between the periods 1945-1965 and 1966-1976, and (3) how have Asian American authors and illustrators characterized Asian Americans as compared with non-Asian American authors and illustrators. The time periods were chosen to test the impact of the Civil Rights Movement and the growing consciousness of the importance of ethnicity.

A total of 34 books and 219 characters were analyzed. The books selected were recommended by professionally recognized selection guides and located in area libraries under the subject headings: Chinese in the U.S.- Fiction, Chinese in San Francisco - Fiction, Japanese in the U.S. - Fiction, and Japanese in Los Angeles - Fiction. Children's fiction about other Asian American ethnic groups was not available. A book instrument and a character instrument were used to collect data.

The results of this study: (1) identified physical, social and personality stereotypes used to characterize Asian Americans in children's fiction published between 1945 and 1976, (2) showed there was little change in the number of stereotyped characterizations in 1966-1976, as compared with 1945-1965, and (3) showed that non-Asian American authors and illustrators were responsible for significantly higher percentages of stereotyped physical, social and personality characterizations of Asian Americans than Asian American authors and illustrators, though the hypothesized 80 percent difference was not realized.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Library Science

First Advisor

Leah Hiland


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Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (iii, 53 pages)