Date of Award
Master of Science in Education (MSEd)
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.
Walton, V. B. (2023). “Your Body is for You”: Possibilities for Size Acceptance, Criticality, and Social-Emotional Wellness in Upper Elementary English Language Arts Education. New York : Bank Street College of Education. https://educate.bankstreet.edu/independent-studies/312