Anderson, D. A., Hamilton, M. C., Gilkison, G. M., & Palmer, S. K. (2021). Gender socialization, family leadership, and the invisible father in children’s literature. Journal of Family Issues, 0192513X211058820.

This study examines the portrayals of mothers and fathers inchildren’s picture books read by millions of parents and children in theirformative years. We investigate the extent to which these books present rigidparental stereotypes that misrepresent the potential of family leaders.Method: We performed a content analysis of 203 prominent children’s picturebooks from recent years to assess the appearances, activities, and emotionsof mothers and fathers. Results: Rather than transcending narrow genderstereotypes, fathers in the most-read books continue to be underrepresented,relatively hands-off parents. Mothers are generally portrayed as emotionalparents who complete traditional chores and nurture children. Conclusion: Thegender socialization of children and parents via children’s books contributesto the notion that mothers and fathers cannot perform as equals in homes orworkplaces. Representations of mothers and fathers differ substantially, withfathers playing a secondary role in parenting if they appear at all.