Literacy Lab

Literacy Lab

Collaborative research practices, to understand and improve children and young people's literacy experiences and outcomes

Disability Picture Books

2021 – 2024

Promoting children’s understanding of disability through picture books: Incorporating the perspectives of primary school teachers


Picturebooks are often used to help emergent readers construct meaning and develop early literacy. One of the earliest studies on disability in children’s literature was published in Disability in Modern Children’s Fiction by Quicke (1985), but the study on disability representation in children’s literature since then has been quite limited. 

Through the lens of Critical Disability Theory, this multimodal discourse study explores disability representation in picture books, drawing on perspectives from UK and US primary school teachers. This study aims to offer guidance on how teachers can use books to promote understanding of, and positive attitudes towards, diversity and disability.


You can also learn more about this project through our BERA Special Issue blogpost:

If you’d like to learn more about this project or share your ideas, please contact Maggie Chan:


Project Team:

PhD Researcher: Maggie Chan, University of Edinburgh

Supervisors: Dr Sarah McGeown and Rachel O’Neill, University of Edinburgh
Honorary Supervisor: Prof. Richard Andrews, University of Edinburgh


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