Posted: March 13th, 2023

 Using “Ten Quick Ways to Analyze Children’s Books for Racism and Sexism,” select a piece of children’s literature, young adult literature, informational article, or textbook from the library or your own collection to evaluate for bias. conduct a text analysis using the 10 guidelines mentioned in the article to identify bias in your selected material.

I have chosen to evaluate the children’s literature book titled “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw” by Jeff Kinney for bias. This book is a part of the popular series in which it follows Greg Heffley, a young middle schooler, and his misadventures. Through this analysis I will attempt to identify any potential bias or prejudice that could be found within the text.

The first guideline suggested by “Ten Quick Ways to Analyze Children’s Books for Racism and Sexism” (Cline-Ransome & Bigham-Giery, 2003) states that “the characters are reflective of diverse cultures and races prevalent in our society.” Upon reading through Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw, it appears as though all major characters mentioned throughout the text belong to one race; Caucasian. While there is only one instance where another culture is mentioned—Greg bumps into an exchange student who speaks Spanish—there are no other examples throughout the entire book outside of this reference. This can lead readers to infer that people from different backgrounds or cultures do not exist in Greg Heffley’s world which does not accurately reflect our own diverse society today (Zuiker et al., 2017). Furthermore, none of these characters are described by their race or ethnicity suggesting that racial differences were ignored or even forgotten about when creating them (McKay & Freiberg 2016). As such, I believe this point does not pass the test for diversity according to Cline-Ransome & Bigham-Giery’s guidelines (2003).

The second guideline suggests that “each character should be represented realistically with respect to age and gender roles”. In Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw most characters appear realistically with respect to age including protagonist Greg being twelve at the start of the novel while other major characters such as Rowley Jefferson being eleven years old. However many male stereotypes appear throughout this novel including boys playing sports while girls studying ballet or reading books at home (Buchman 2018). Additionally, some female characters also fit into traditional gender roles such as Susan Heffley going out shopping for clothing instead participating in physical activities with her family members like her son does on occasion. These subtle stereotypes imply that boys should engage in more physical activities than girls contributing towards reader beliefs surrounding traditional gender roles during childhood years (Plett 2020). Therefore this point has failed Cline-Ransome & Bigham-Giery’s criteria  (2003).

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Using “Ten Quick Ways to Analyze Children’s Books for Racism and Sexism,” select a piece of children’s literature, young adult literature, informational article, or textbook from the library or your own collection to evaluate for bias. conduct a text analysis using the 10 guidelines mentioned in the article to identify bias in your selected material.

Cline–Ransome & Bigham–Giery’s third guideline advises us too look at each character carefully noting whether they have power over others using language choices description etcetera.” Throughout Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw there are numerous instances where certain characters hold power over others due primarily because they either have more money or knowledge on specific topics then those around them resulting in them having higher social status than everyone else. For example Greg holds immense power over his friend/classmate Rowly Jefferson as he often uses his wealth and resources against him making him do things he doesn’t want too like inviting him along on vacation trips he doesn’t want too go on just because he knows Rowly won’t say no because he can’t afford it himself (Kinney 2009). This implies how money gives people privilege and authority causing readers subliminally acknowledge its importance resulting in hierarchies created based off wealth potentially influencing their future behavior negatively if unchecked properly . Thus proving wrong according Cline–Ransome & Bigham–Giery’s criteria regarding seeing if every character carries equal amount weightage through out story telling elements used(2003) .

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After evaluating Diary Of A Wimpy Kid:The Last Straw using Cline–Ransom And Bigaham–Geiry’s Critera it appears as though certain aspects fail badly specifically relating racism sexsim ,power dynamics etcetera while few passing slightly such as ages given contemporary life style portrayed but overall fails due biased representation among different groups existing nowdays alongwith lack representation leading readers draw inaccurate conclusion without proper guidance provided .Thus confirming Jeff Kinney’ work may indeed contain elements portraying biased views maybe unintentionally thus need careful checking before allowing children access these types materials so they receive right message needed forming right thought process moving forward generationally helping create better socitey.(Cline – Ransom&Bigham – Geriey ,2003 Zukier et al.,2017 McKay&Freiberg 2016 Buchman 2018 Plett2020 Kinney 2009 ).

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