The Representation of Multiracial People in America with a Focus on Children’s Literature

Janelle M. Barth, Bank Street College of Education


Data continues to show that people who claim two or more races are amongst the fastest growing subset of the U.S. population. According to the 2010 Census, nearly half of the respondents identifying as multiracial are under the age of eighteen. This paper examines the representation of mixed race people in America through an historical examination of how they were racially classified, interviews, with a focus on racial identity development, and an analysis of picture books featuring multiracial main characters. While American society as whole is becoming more accepting of mixed race people, there are still considerable gaps in the accurate representation of mixed race people in popular culture and media. Being mixed race is nearly impossible to capture as a singular experience. Together, the multiple components of this paper offer a dynamic view of what it means to be multiracial in America.