Date of Award

Spring 5-4-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

First Advisor

Mollie Welsh Kruger

Abstract

Cowboy City is an original children’s book written for eight to ten year olds that touches on themes of race and representation. Too often the stories of Black cowboys go untold. The book was created to provide children with an accurate portrayal of who the cowboys of the Wild West were, as well as who they are now, while also providing teachers with a tool to introduce the concepts of racial representation throughout history. Told through the voice of nine-year-old Jayden, an African American boy living in the city, Cowboy City follows Jayden’s normal school day, interrupted by an extraordinary event. Throughout the book Jayden experiences the cognitive dissonance that accompanies a mismatch between the learning in the classroom and a students’ racial and cultural identity. Jayden is taught about the rich history of black cowboys, present and past, from his grandfather, yet in his classroom his teacher omits it. After the momentous event, that Jayden witnesses, both he and his teacher are transformed.

This independent study includes a rationale that explains my inspiration for writing this particular children’s book, a literature review which provides an overview of the children’s books that I used to research the topics included in the book and as guidance for my own writing, an overview of the developmental milestones of the nine and ten year olds which are aligned with the themes, plot and vocabulary encountered in Cowboy City, the original text and three illustrations, an application section that explains the results of my reading the book with a small group of third graders and the practical applications of the book in a classroom setting and finally a bibliography that cites all of the books utilized in the writing of this thesis.

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