Emotions in storybooks: A comparison of storybooks that represent ethnic and racial groups in the United States.

Young children develop emotion knowledge and preferences through being read storybooks, so it is important to examine how emotions are portrayed in this medium. This study examined whether portrayals of emotions varied across U.S. storybooks whose characters represented ethnic and racial groups in the United States. Popular storybooks were grouped by the race and ethnicity of the main characters as African American, Asian American, European American, or Hispanic and Latino. Each depiction of a main character was coded for the type and intensity of emotion displayed and the activity and social context of the display. Results revealed that storybook groups differed in which positive and negative emotions were shown. Variations were consistent with cultural values. For instance, consistent with the script simpatíca in Hispanic and Latino culture, storybooks depicting Hispanic and Latino characters showed happiness proportionally more than other storybooks and in the context of more arousing activities, whereas consistent with individualistic goals like autonomy, storybooks depicting African American and European American characters showed dislike proportionally more than other storybooks. Storybooks also differed in the social context of emotion portrayals. More characters were present during emotion displays in storybooks that depicted Asian American and Hispanic and Latino characters than in storybooks that depicted European American characters. Combined, these findings suggest that there is variation in the emotion messages provided in popular U.S. storybooks. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)