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A Content Analysis Of The Developmental Bibliotherapeutic Implications Of The Books Nominated For The California Young Reader Medal (1975--1986)

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

First Advisor

Shirley Jennings


Purpose. The purpose of this study was to investigate the developmental bibliotherapeutic implications of the California Young Reader Medal nominated books from 1975-1986 in six different selected categories of thematic content. Emotional Health, Self-Awareness, and Identity Needs; Cultural Differences; Family Relationships and Dynamics; Peer Relationships and Dynamics; Physical Limitations and Handicaps; and Economic Situations and Factors. Findings. Primary Category books, largely modern fanciful fiction, demonstrated limited developmental bibliotherapeutic potential. However, story illustrations affected the over-all impact of the story. Intermediate Category books had greater levels of potential, especially stories dealing with family, peers, and emotional health. The greatest levels of potential were present in the contemporary realistic fiction genre and in historical fiction. Intermediate Category books from the 1980s were higher in potential than books of the 1970s. Little distinction was found between the Primary Category books of the 70s and the 80s. Similar elements of story potential were identified by all groups, although at varying levels of sophistication. Many of the California titles had regional and national appeal. Recommendations. Based on the findings of this study, the major recommendations are as follows: (1) Developmental bibliotherapy as an art should be used in the study of literature with young children. Educators need to have an awareness of current issues confronting children and how these issues are treated in current literature. (2) Authors and publishers should produce quality books dealing with cultural differences and universal understanding as well as meaningful books in the genre of contemporary realistic fiction and historical fiction. Consideration should also be given to promoting books dealing with physical limitations and handicaps. (3) Teachers and librarians should continue the oral tradition of shared literature with children to enhance a child's understanding and appreciation of the beauty of words, writing styles, cultural differences, and changing life situations. (4) State young reader program committees, librarians, and educators should identify quality books for inclusion on their masterlists to be read by children. (5) More content analysis studies, similar to this study, should be conducted to enrich the body of knowledge about children's literature and to extend the understanding of the current thematic trends present in literature for the younger readers. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.)



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