Date of Award

Winter 12-22-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Advisor

Sal Vascellaro


Bayou is an original picture book for children between the ages of four and six years old. Bayou is a sweet, fun-loving young cheetah. There is just one thing very different about him: he likes to take his time. He moves very slowly and enjoys playing checkers and doing puzzles. He moves so slowly that his best friend is actually a turtle. Bayou’s two older brothers do not understand how a cheetah, an animal born to be fast, can live life always moving so slowly. One day, his brothers are running around extremely fast and carelessly as usual, and they accidently run straight into a trap set by hunters. When Bayou finds his brothers encaged, it is up to him and Turtle to help free them. Bayou’s brothers have little faith in the two, until Bayou and Turtle notice that the pieces of the lock on the cage look vaguely familiar. Bayou then notices it is because it reminds him of a puzzle they once did together. Carefully and slowly, Bayou and Turtle shift all the pieces in the right place to open the lock and free Bayou’s brothers. The story ends with a restored relationship between Bayou and his family as his brothers finally accept Bayou’s individuality.

Following the picture book itself, this thesis includes a description of my writing process for creating this book. I then go on to discuss two notable themes connected to the development of children of the book’s target age. The themes are: “Achieving one’s unique personal and social identity is fraught with challenges” and “Five-year-old children begin to develop empathy for and acceptance of those around them”. Finally, the thesis concludes with a comprehensive look at the other pieces of children’s literature with similar themes and how Bayou compares to those other works.


Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction