Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department or School

English Language and Literature

Committee Member

Annette Wannamaker, PhD, Chair

Committee Member

Ian Wojcik-Andrews, PhD.


The purpose of my research is to show that although many African American children’s books have been used as “race texts” to give children insight into race relations of the past, many are important in that they preserve the Black dialect and encourage child activism and social change. Black aesthetics are most beneficial in that they educate children about not just race but about the African American oral tradition of Black dialect. They also provide children with a strong foundation in Black aesthetics, which prepares them for the higher forms of Black aesthetics found in African American adult literature. Not only is African American children’s literature just as political as African American adult literature, but it also preserves the Black dialect. Most important, African American children’s literature adds diversity to the study of children’s literature in that educators, parents, and librarians are better able to teach and appreciate its aesthetic value. Thus, my research project will reveal how African American children’s books are not just “artifacts of race” but “artifacts of aesthetics.”