Representations of Astronomy in Children’s Storybooks

Teaching astronomy in primary schools: How, why, and in what context?
4th Shaw-IAU Workshop
Tuesday Nov. 15, 2022
UTC: 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
, Wednesday Nov. 16, 2022
UTC: 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Storybooks are widely used in schools as an entry point into science learning. As a result, storybooks should provide an accurate and equitable representation of science and scientists. Therefore, we conducted a content analysis of 32 astronomy storybooks published between 2001-2021. While about half the books include characters using at least one science practice, few portrayed characters investigating an astronomical phenomenon. Half the books contained inaccuracies. Gender representation was relatively balanced. The sample includes a relatively even distribution of characters’ racial background; yet, this balance disappeared when books from Diverse Book Finder were removed from the sample. Our study suggests that there are limitations in how current children’s books represent astronomy.


Alison Allen is a Senior Research Associate at Rockman et al Cooperative (REA). Prior to joining REA, she was a middle and high school biology teacher. Her broad research interests are STEM education and teacher professional development. More specifically she is interested in how to engage early learners in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) science practices using storybooks to guide instruction.

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