Exploring the Schneider Family Book Award, 2004-2018: A case study history and content analysis



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The purpose of this case study was to examine the history of the Schneider Family Book Award and analyze the forty-six award-winning titles from 2004-2018 using a content analysis methodology. The Schneider Family Book Award honors literature written for a youth audience that portrays a disability experience and has been presented annually since 2004 by the American Library Association. Titles are selected in categories encompassing the intended age of the book’s audience: Young Children’s (ages 0-8), Middle Grades (ages 9-13), and Teen (ages 14-18). This award was started at the behest of Dr. Katherine Schneider, with the hope that it would encourage the writing and publication of more books for young people about disability. For the award as a whole, results indicate that the gender of the protagonists was evenly balanced between male (49%) and female (49%). A majority of protagonists are white or Caucasian in ethnicity (67.3%). Most protagonists have a disability (83.7%). Realistic fiction is the most common genre (63%). A low percentage of authors and illustrators who have won this award appear to have relevant life experience to the disability about which they write (19.6%). Few of the winning titles could be considered works of Own Voices (10.9%) – writing by persons with a disability about a character with the same disability. Descriptive statistics indicate differences between the three age categories for several variables. The gender of protagonists is split nearly evenly in the teen category (47.1% male, 52.9% female), but in the young children’s category, protagonists are overwhelmingly male (85.7%), and in the middle grades category the majority of protagonists are female (77.8%). The ethnicity of protagonists is predominantly white or Caucasian in the middle grades (83.3%) and teen (76.5%) categories, however in the young children’s category, only 35.7% of the protagonists are white or Caucasian. Realistic fiction is the most common genre found in the winning titles from the middle grades (76.5%) and teen categories (80%), but biography is the most frequently occurring genre in the young children’s category (42.9%). Chi-square analysis confirmed that the differences were statistically significant for the ethnicity and genre variables.



Schneider Family Book Award, Youth literature, Disability