Thinking through Children: Proposing Theory for Doing Critical Content Analysis of Multicultural Children's Literature

Carmen Milagros Seda, University of Texas at El Paso


Theoretical constructs underpinning critical content analysis (CCA) for multicultural children’s literature as a method for education as a field are currently drawn from critical literary theory. I problematize CCA methods based on claims by contributors that the methods are applicable for classroom educators, and can be applied during critical reading in classrooms with young readers. The change in audience and purpose warrants reflection on the extant theoretical underpinnings of CCA methods. Specifically, whether extant theories account for the mental life and psychoemotive needs of children and adolescents, especially as relates to agency analysis. Using a theoretical framework comprised of Childism (Young-Bruehl, 2012), imaginative education theory (Egan, 1997; Egan, Cant & Judson, 2014; Judson, 2018), and agency theory to include life course agency (Hitlin & Johnson, 2015), which I refer to as thinking through children, I analyze CCA methods and CCA studies identified for this study. Based on gaps, silences, and contradictions, I recommend archetypal analysis (Campbell, 1978; Hunter, 2008; Jung, 1969), and futures studies (Bussey, 2008; Inayatullah, 2004) to enhance analysis of subject position, character interaction, and agency to account for young readers psychoemotive needs, and to locate how power is portrayed in relation to an actor’s psychoemotive development. Finally, I construct a CCA study on an identified children's book representing a child of Mexican heritage. I employ the new theoretical tools to reflect on how the application of new theory affects analysis for power. Implications for developing CCA methods as a genre for multicultural children’s literature for education as a field are discussed.

Subject Area

Multicultural Education|Modern literature

Recommended Citation

Seda, Carmen Milagros, "Thinking through Children: Proposing Theory for Doing Critical Content Analysis of Multicultural Children's Literature" (2020). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI27829653.