Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Published in Linguistics and Education 71 (2022) 101083



Copyright © 2022 Elsevier Inc. Used by permission.


Because literature can serve as a mirror for children’s self-reflection and a window into humanizing insights on immigrants and immigration, it can be a powerful educational tool to promote understanding of immigrant learner’s experiences and needs. However, this has not always been the case. As such, informed by our theoretical framework of critical discourse studies (CDS) and raciolinguistics, this study explores the representations of immigrant children’s experiences in children’s literature. Employing multimodal critical discourse analysis, the authors analyze the visual and verbal representations of immigrant children (and the ideologies behind them) in 18 picture books with immigration themes. Findings reveal how the children are represented visually and/or verbally in ways that create understanding and empathy for the characters, but other times in more problematic ways. The authors conclude with suggestions for how to select (visual and verbal) curricula that avoids problematic ideologies of immigrant children and how to teach children to de-construct these ideologies when they encounter them.