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Depictions of Religion in Children’s Picture Books
Journal of Childhood and Religion (2013)
  • Darin Freeburg
How children are introduced to concepts of faith is a sensitive matter. One approach used by both religious and secular organizations is children’s literature, including children’s picture books. Picture books are books primarily for preschoolers. The books tell a story using illustrations and few words. This paper offers an exploratory study of how children are introduced to religion and spirituality through illustrative techniques and textual content in such literature. A content analysis of illustrations from 12 titles sampled from a larger collection of 21,000 picture books published in the past 40 or more years was conducted. The current sample comes from a larger sample of 56 books that were analyzed for textual content. The intent of the study is to introduce possible areas of more-detailed research into how religious concepts are represented in picture books. Using subject descriptors in the cataloguing records of the collection, analysis was restricted to the following themes: angels, church, god, heaven, Jesus, and creation.
  • religion,
  • children's literature,
  • picture books,
  • spirituality
Publication Date
April, 2013
Publisher Statement
©Sopher Press (contact
Citation Information
Darin Freeburg. "Depictions of Religion in Children’s Picture Books" Journal of Childhood and Religion Vol. 4 Iss. 3 (2013) p. 1 - 29
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