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This paper examines the presence of death in contemporary, 1990-2013, award-winning picture books in the United States, Canada, England, and Australia. Literary awards nationally, and globally, recognize titles that are considered to be exemplary in their genre. These awards--the Caldecott from the United States, the Governor General's Award for English-Language Illustration, the Kate Greenaway Medal from the United Kingdom, and the Children's Book Council of Australia's Best Picture Book of the Year Award--are the most prestigious in their country of origin and greatly impact the economic value and visibility of each title, the global children's book market, and the careers of the winning author and illustrators. Although death education for young children is hotly debated, its importance cannot be understated. Given the continuing trend of research showing the benefits of death education for children there has been a remarkable lack of award-winning literature that depicts death, dying, and learning how to cope with the extreme feelings these events create. A larger presence of death in award-winning children's literature would provide an easy-to-find, and reference, guide of excellent books parents or other adults could give to children to teach them about death, healthy coping methods, and empathy.
A Thesis submitted to the School of Information in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science.
Includes bibliographical references.
Don L. Latham, Professor Directing Thesis; Melissa Gross, Committee Member; Nancy Everhart, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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