Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Second Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Claire Bracken

Second Advisor

Zoe Oxley




political, books, children‘s, processes, socialization


This interdepartmental English and political science thesis focuses on political children‘s literature as a tool of socialization. The stories, characters and illustrations of children‘s literature entertain and educate; they are ideological apparatuses through which political behaviors and processes can be communicated. Understanding the ideology of each text through close reading and analysis is necessary for an assessment of the way each book is used as a tool of socialization. Socialization occurs not only between reader and text within social spaces, thus the ways in which the specificity of a book‘s ideological message intersects with the space in it is read, be this the public sphere of the school or the private sphere of the home, is also examined. The subgenres of political children‘s books discussed in my thesis attempt to influence readers‘ views of political processes, issues, or ideologies. Explanatory children‘s books explain how specific political processes work; issue books raise awareness of a political issue and in doing so, take either a positive or a negative position on that topic; partisan books have an explicit partisan point of view and encourage reader identification with a particular political party. Two books from each subgenre are analyzed using literary theory and discussed in political context. Because political children‘s books raise awareness of politics by instilling values and processes necessary for the continuation of our political system in a creative and literary way, they are instrumental in the socialization process and significant to the fields of both English and political science.