Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

First Advisor

Lynne Einbender


This Integrated Master’s Project explores how body image literature can be used in upper elementary classrooms (grades 3 to 5) to support critical literacy and psychosocial development, and vice-versa. Using the approaches Health at Every Size® (HAES), affect theory, and critical literacy, I propose a new analytical framework for thinking about weight stigma and children’s self-image through the lens of literature. There is a growing presence of fiction and nonfiction books that address weight stigma and center children’s experiences of their bodies, and incorporating these books into literacy/English Language Arts (ELA) curricula can help educators shape their classrooms into spaces of care and critical consciousness. At the heart of my project is Phoebe the Mighty Mermaid: an original picture book about a nine-year-old girl who learns with the help of her family to accept her body as it is, even when the process proves to be difficult. In a society where children are continuously exposed to “the thin ideal,” literature provides a powerful counter-narrative and an opportunity for educators to raise awareness of weight discrimination and promote self-acceptance.


Teaching Literacy and Childhood General Education

If you are the author of this study and would like it removed from this repository, please notify