Still on the same page: A gender comparison of the Top 100 Picture Books from the UK and China published 2011- 2020

Yi Li*, Melissa Terras, Yongning Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

As a primary source for the early ages, picture books guide preschool children’s gender perception through stories and illustrations. However, previous studies have criticised an overall gender inequality in children’s picture books. Compared to the increasing attention on gender diversity in the UK picture book industry, there has been little concern shown about gender diversity in the Chinese picture book market (which has only developed in the 21st Century). This article compares gender representation and gender stereotypes within 200 UK and Chinese bestselling picture books published between 2011-2020. It examines a range of aspects including authors’ gender, and gendered aspects of book texts and illustrations via content analysis and text mining. Results show (1) there is male dominance in bestselling Chinese authorship, while titles from female authors are more prevalent in the UK list; (2) there is a predominance of male central characters in both bestselling UK and Chinese titles; (3) the narratives in bestselling picture books, especially in Chinese book texts, promote gender essentialism and gender biases in picture books from both markets; (4) that UK titles in translation, as well as other foreign titles, become an essential means of promoting gender equality in the mainstream Chinese picture book market. This study stresses that gender inequality is an international issue and aims to remind all parties in two different picture book industries to work on gender equality in future publishing practice, while showing that translation studies allow us to see how different markets intersect.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalChildren & Society
Early online date6 Aug 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Aug 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • picture books
  • preschool children
  • gender biases
  • gender equality
  • China
  • The UK


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